Tribune written by Antoine Walter, Director, Market Management (France), Expedia Group.
The internet has changed the way we consume travel and today the traveler is in control! The power of back-end development and user interface, combined with the offer of travel providers, allows him to find the experience of his choice with a simple search. He can for example select his accommodation by indicating his preferences and thus instantly compare all the options available to him.
If the consumer clearly finds his account, what about professionals? For a long time, the online travel market focused heavily on prices, not always offering the right offer at the right price. Fortunately, this trend is changing and we are currently seeing a realignment of the online travel booking experience with technology that takes consumer considerations into account.
Technology allows hoteliers to adapt in different ways to better meet the needs of travelers and thus offer them search results of much better quality. Because, in the digital age, the customer experience is essential: the more positive it is, the better the online reviews, and the more the rate of new reservations and brand loyalty increase. By using technology and interfaces that take traveler feedback into account, hoteliers are able to deliver better experiences for travelers that all stakeholders can benefit from.
Better understand the traveler experience
Being able to accurately assess a consumer’s perspective on different aspects of their trip or experience is key to identifying the strengths of the stay and knowing what can (or needs) to be improved. Technology that enables hoteliers to spot the telltale signs of a great guest experience is crucial.
According to a survey, 1.53% of consumers are likely to book with businesses that they are confident will deliver the experiences promised. Using technology that tracks and analyzes key touchpoints, whether reviews, cancellations, in-stay feedback, number of calls, or re-bookings, helps paint an accurate picture of the overall experience. And when the proposed offer does not necessarily meet the expectations of its customers, the hotelier can remedy this by making improvements, eliminating approximations and adopting the necessary measures to increase traveler satisfaction.
An interface in line with the customer experience
Feedback can not only help improve a hotelier’s offering but also help optimize online marketplaces for hoteliers and travelers. For their part, OTAs can highlight and reward their partners who offer consumers exceptional experiences by giving them more visibility. The strength of the offer lies in the elements that make up the announcement of an accommodation: the content, the photos, the prices, the availability and the additional activities. From now on, the visibility of hoteliers on an interface will be able to take into account two elements, namely the strength of the offer and the customer experience.
The aim is to give travelers a precise and clear picture of the accommodation they want to book by giving more importance to the customer experience.
OTAs have a major role to play with their partners and travellers. They have the opportunity to optimize the visibility of accommodation providers who offer great experiences and to create privileged links between these providers and holidaymakers. Using an interface that takes into account price and availability as well as the level of service a hotel has offered to its guests in the past is proving to be a positive experience for both the accommodation provider and the consumer.
Previous versions of the overly standardized online travel experience are no longer aligned with traveler needs or hotel value propositions. Technology at the service of the traveler, like an interface that rewards its partners and highlights accommodations based on customer experiences, is much more appropriate. If they don’t adopt such technology, hoteliers risk losing consumers looking for an online travel booking experience that is more relevant to their expectations and for which they are willing to pay the price. With the right technology, hoteliers have a broader suite of tools to better understand travelers and their needs, and grow their business.