— 5 minute read —
We hear it everywhere, the ‘customer experience’ is a hot topic, and even more so in tourism. And for good reason, investing in the experience could increase profits and customer loyalty.
WHAT IS THE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE?
In all sectors, the term ‘customer experience’ refers to the series of interactions between the brand and the customer and the general feeling associated with the purchase of a product or service. In concrete terms, this encompasses both the buying process, the packaging, the instructions for use, the after-sales service as well as the product itself.
A clear example is the experience surrounding Apple products which goes beyond the products themselves, with extremely smart packaging, text messages announcing the ‘big day’ of delivery and the after-sales service physically represented by the Genius Bars.
According to Airbnb
In the hotel industry, the term ‘experience’ refers to several different ideas. Airbnb uses ‘experience’ to refer to local, original tourist activities. These local experiences can be booked directly on their platform and are offered in their magazine.
You can find, for example, a dinner cooked by a Chef or an exploration of secret passages in Paris, wine tasting in Bordeaux, surf lessons in Lisbon, an introduction to London nightlife, a yoga session in Central Park, etc.
Guest experience at hotels: much more than just a room
Customer experience in the hotel industry should not be limited to activities, but all points of contact and interaction between the hotel and the guest throughout the guest’s journey.
The customer experience in the hotel industry is the result of numerous factors: the ease of booking, the availability of the team to accompany them through their booking, the quality of conversation with the team, ease of hotel access, the quality of the welcome, the imagination around the hotel, the speed of check-in, the general atmosphere, the quality of bedding, the availability of staff, the quality of their recommendations, the ease of departure formalities, the thank-you note, the satisfaction survey, etc.
Above all, the perceived quality of the experience depends largely on the personalisation of the previous points. For example, by proposing recommendations adapted to guest expectations, by recognising guests that have already visited the hotel…
“Without going as far as saying that the quality of the room is a small detail, there are a number of elements in the customer’s journey that compensate for a room of average quality.
We underestimate the effects of the little perks that make the lives of customers easier and contribute to a boost in customer satisfaction. Simplicity is addictive and therefore generates loyalty.” – Mathieu Pollet, co-founder of LoungeUp.
HOW DO YOU PROPOSE MORE THAN A SIMPLE STAY?
Put yourself in a traveller’s shoes, there is no better way to become aware of the customer experience at all stages of the journey. From the moment they plan their trip to the moment they return home, knowing that the “accommodation” part is only one part of his journey.
Before the stay, spark your guest’s imagination
Posting articles on social media or a blog about attractions and events is a good way for future holiday-makers to plan their stay in the hotel. Think also about communicating with your customers before their stay. Prepare them for their stay and explain the process (in particular their arrival).
Eliminate any sticking points
Sticking points impact enormously on customer satisfaction. This is why it is important to detect these and eliminate them or at least reduce them.
It could be problems when paying, the absence of contact after booking, requesting information already provided by the client (pre-checkin/checkin information, financial information, preferences…), forcing them to fill out a form before going to their room, and many others, these sticking points must be identified and corrected.
Offering a smoother customer journey contributes to a better conversion, brand promotion and better client retention. And it’s worth it! Customers will be happier and more loyal, impacting directly on the financial health of the establishment.
We have already explained in an article, but personalising guest stay is now imperative. A personalised stay creates better engagement with customers, with a stay adapted to their needs and interests. Travellers are also increasingly inclined to share their information if it makes it easier for them.
The little extras
Little perks are a hit with customers and are often easy to implement. For example, providing a bottle of cool water in the room for when customers return after a long day, lending an external battery (or selling them at a lower price), providing a plug adapter for foreign travellers, a video game console for families, or plastic bags for liquids so customers can pass through customs at the airport without any trouble. These little touches can make the guest feel accompanied and guided.
Test new experiences
New travel trends are emerging, demonstrating an appetite amongst travellers to test new things and get off the beaten track.
Some travelers organize themed trips around culinary discovery or yoga for example. These travellers will turn to restaurants and hotels offering fresh and local products or hotels offering yoga classes.
There is new trend is towards eco-responsible tourism, respectful of the environment. More and more people are adopting this way of life by minimizing their impact on the environment; so why would they abandon this during their travels?
Finally, new sensory experiences can take place within hotel rooms with augmented reality, artificial intelligence and connected objects. These technologies can help improve sleep, by plunging the customer into an ambiance conducive of falling asleep with audio, visual and tactile effects in the mattress or pillow.
Airbnb is mistaken to speak of experience by referring only to activities. The customer experience takes into account the whole trip and takes care of the quality of all points of contact between the guest and the hotel.
It should not be restricted to the hotel room but created by all the little details, in the interest of facilitating the customer’s stay. These details are easy to set up. Indeed, there is no need for a new design to revolutionize the customer experience.
Further reading :
- HospitalityNet : Why Customer Experience Is (Rightly) Such a Hot Topic in Travel
- Think with Google : I-Want-to-Get-Away Moment: What They Mean for Travel Marketing
- Mobile Marketer : Expedia: 90% of Gen Z travelers influenced by social media
- Cintas : Customer Experience in Hospitality: Selling experiences over rooms
- Skift : Branded Experiences Are Everything for Today’s Hospitality Brands
Photo Credits: Unsplash- Erik Odiin
Written by Elizabeth