Devote a little bit of time to improve the traveler experience and make your customers happy! Smiles on their faces will bring your travel company great recommendations, returning travelers and many new ones too!
Many things happen to a traveler before, during and after the travel. Combined together, they make a complete traveler’s experience with your company and tours. This is also called traveler journey.
Give your best to provide the traveler with the best experience from start to finish of the journey. Traveler Experience can be classified into 6 stages:
- Inspire. Optimize travel company's web page so travelers get your offer when they search for a destination to go to. Organize promotional events, too.
- Book. Use quality booking software to optimize user experience. Offer some Addons (extras) to increase your revenue.
- 24h after booking. Leave a good impression and send a payment confirmation asap, within 24 hours of the booking.
- 24h before departure. Tell travelers how excited you are for tomorrow's trip and remind them of all the important details. Solve the last minute issues and do necessary changes if some problem just popped out.
- On-trip. Things like traveling duration, ho(s)tel choice, ho(s)tel service or tour guide's flexibility will form the impression of your travel business.
- Post-trip. Finally, after the trip, it's time for surveys and reviews. Show appreciation to the travelers. So, think of them sometimes and include them in new promotional activities and happenings.
Try to understand why he or she is traveling to a particular destination. Afterward, you can design a travel package tailored to support that reason for traveling.
Building a better customer experience has to start with knowing your customer. Truly knowing your traveler involves understanding what they value the most and how they want to be served.
Get to Know Your Customer!
You should know your traveler inside and out. Watch and learn! Meet Andrea and Vanessa.
Andrea and Vanessa live in the USA and they’re police officers. They are members of the same age group (Millennials, also known as Generation Y). Moreover, they are exactly the same age - 32 years old.
Do you think they share the same interests and like the similar things?
At first sight, it seems like they are the same profile of travelers. But watch out what happens when you assume, instead of checking traveler’s habits and preferences.
Due to an incorrect assumption, you’ll miss all the information that matter:
- There are 4 members of Vanessa’s family: Vanessa’s husband, a child, a dog and herself. The whole family travels together. When the dog is traveling with the family, as a travel company, you’ll have to manage dog transport. Vanessa would be glad if the hotel they’re staying at offers a childcare service. One more thing, Vanessa is a vegetarian. That’s why it’s important that a hotel she is staying at serves vegetarian food. Vanessa travels to relax from stressful work.
- Andrea is also married, but she is a solo traveler. She searches for fun places to go to! Her motive for traveling must be connected to adrenaline rush she enjoys in. Therefore, Andrea won’t refuse a new adventure opportunity. She suffers from celiac disease and would like to eat in a restaurant which serves non-gluten food.
That’s why you should ask questions. We gathered the ones you can benefit from.
9 Questions to Ask a Traveler Before and After a Trip
There’s no better way to get to know your travelers than by asking them a few questions.
Ask these kinds of questions before a traveler requests an additional service. Show that you take care of your travelers. Note the answers you get in your booking software. This will provide an extra value to your business.
- What made you pick ________ (this destination)?
- What kind of travel do you like the most?
- Do you have any preferences regarding the food? For example, vegetarian or gluten-free.
- Would you like to bring your pet on the trips sometimes?
- Is it important to you to stay at a hotel that offers activities and nightlife after 11 pm?
To get more detailed answers, instead of only asking how it was, ask more specific questions:
- What has been your favorite part of the trip?
- Now that you’ve been to ________ (name the city or country), what is the next place you’d like to visit?
- Did anything go wrong that seems funny now? Do you have any suggestions to improve this tour/trip? Please, share your ideas.
- On a scale 1-5, rate how satisfied you are with a trip? (1-Very Dissatisfied, 2-Dissatisfied, 3-Good, 4-Very Good, 5-Excellent)
Travel companies often collect feedback from travelers, but only a few of them incorporate changes to their processes to improve traveler experience.
Those who turn a deaf ear to the opinion of the traveler are setting themselves up to fail. Don’t be a tour company that makes such mistake! Traveler feedback is the most valuable piece of information you could ever get.
Where Can a Tour Company Find More Data About Travelers?
Here are 3 simple ideas:
- In online booking history of every traveler. For example, how often and with whom do they travel? What is the average price they pay? What kind of trips did they buy most often? What kind of activities are they interested in?
- Some time ago you most likely had some kind of a customer satisfaction survey. Look there, too!
- Newsletter preferences. When travelers signed up for your newsletter list, did you ask them if they were interested in traveling to some specific country in particular (e.g. Thailand)? If you don’t send newsletters yet, there’s an after-trip-question we proposed: “What is the next place you’d like to visit?” The answer allows you to know their interest and you can send relevant promotional materials to that traveler.
Collecting valuable traveler information is a process that might take some time. But, very soon you’ll see your efforts were worth it.
Why Should You Study the Traveler Needs?
There are two main reasons:
- Because of Yourself and Your Tour Business
Studying traveler’s needs, tour company can make better trip offers. Travelers bring you money. It’s in tour company’s interest to have them return and buy more tours and trips from you! They will definitely return to a tour operator that is listening to their wishes and making changes accordingly.
At the same time, you started with free advertising of your travel business and travel packages. Delighted travelers will gladly rate your tours and trips with five stars on Facebook, they’ll write positive reviews on TripAdvisor and make recommendations to their friends. Occasionally you’ll have to remind them to share their feedback, but when delighted, they will do it on their own!
- Because of the Travelers
Travelers can ask anything, anytime and anywhere. It’s up to you to listen!
Make their wishes come true. By implementing changes from your pre- or post-travel survey results, you are directly improving traveler experience!
Now and then you’ll have to decide whether to implement a major change, but usually travelers will ask you small things. Doing so, your travel company will create a sense of added value in your travelers’ hearts.
Quick Ways to Improve Traveler Experience
Today, customer experience is the most powerful differentiator in business. You can start quickly and easily by following these 5 tips:
1. Improve Booking Moments
According to Ipsos MediaCT, 46% of travelers who do mobile travel research say they made their final booking decision on mobile, but switched to another device to make the booking. The main reasons for booking on another device are mobile limitations or mobile usability.
So, it’s essential to remove every unnecessary step from the purchasing process. I can give you an example of Orioly. It is a simple, time-saving and user-friendly online booking software. You can try it for free yourself and be the judge by clicking here.
2. Personalize Travel Tours
Sometimes travelers wish to visit a place that is not on your itinerary. So, try to squeeze it into your schedule. While it takes a few extra minutes, it sends the message to travelers that they are personally being seen and heard. Imagine how great they would feel!
3. Create an Opportunity for Traveler Interaction
For example, a tour guide can create a WhatsApp group with all the participants on the trip. A tour guide can use it to remind travelers where and when the bus will pick them up. On the other hand, travelers could send their location if they got lost, ask questions, share pictures, etc.
4. Think of the Travelers After the Trip
Sometimes travelers can’t remember exactly whom they traveled with. Visualize traveler experience at its every stage to make sure your tour or travel company is memorable. Everything - from the point of their online booking to their staying in a hotel experience - can be improved. Keep using this practice after the trip, when a virtual traveler experience is transferred offline! The success is guaranteed!
If you organize some promotion events, such as quiz competitions or travel storytelling happenings, surprise your travelers with an invitation! They will be flattered that you thought of them, and so curious to hear inside travel stories of people who visited places they have never been at.
Last but not least, one of the easiest ways to make travelers happy is to give them something. But there is a big difference between giving away useless stuff and providing travelers with added bonuses that bring value. In a previous article, we published a list of perfect gift ideas for your travelers. Check it out and inspire yourself.
Would you like to share a few more tips for improving traveler experience? If you have any comments or questions, feel free to contact us or share it right here.
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