Warren, N.J.—Emerging technologies have created opportunities for those in the hospitality industry to offer seamless, context-relevant, and personalized experiences. However, a new survey commissioned by Mindtree—“Expectations vs. Reality: How to Better Serve the Connected Traveler”—analyzed responses from more than 2,000 U.S consumers and found that, despite the advancements in digital experiences, many travel brands lack a holistic view of the customer and struggle to accurately personalize their offerings.
“Whether traveling for business or for pleasure, travelers have very high expectations from the brands that they depend on to make their experience memorable,” said Nalin Vij, senior vice president and global head of travel, transportation, and hospitality for Mindtree. “The technology around personalization is available, but our survey found that most travelers are disappointed in how effectively their travel provider offers a custom-fit ecosystem. This is a challenge travel brands need to address, as many are still burdened with their investments in legacy systems.”
The survey found that the most common reasons why travelers don’t use offers that they receive are that they don’t arrive at the right time, expire before they can be used, don’t offer enough savings, or don’t apply to their areas of interest. Most respondents (88 percent) indicate that they are more loyal to a brand that offers relevant deals. Almost half (47 percent) of respondents said they would be open to paying a premium of at least 17 percent for more contextual and relevant offers. Yet only 22 percent of respondents say travel providers always recognize them as a past customer.
The survey also revealed that leisure activities are an integral part of travel for 92 percent of respondents who do so for business. This opens up further opportunities for providers to introduce relevant leisure offers to encourage a richer experience as business travel presents increased opportunity for leisure activities.
Mindtree recommended several steps for hotels and other travel providers to deliver more personalized experiences: integrate data silos for a more accurate view of customers from multiple digital touch points; build rich customer personas, powered by a strong customer 360 foundation, enabling customer recognition at every touchpoint; create tailored customer offers by creating content, offers, and recommendations using context-weighted personalization algorithms; and employ omnichannel strategies across channels including voice, mobile, and web to target and deliver personalized information and services.
“Travel providers are poised to harness the most advanced digital technology in the age of personalization by delivering seamless, context-relevant, and connected customer experiences,” said Vij.
The study was commissioned by Mindtree and conducted by independent market research firm Vanson Bourne in early 2018. It surveyed U.S. adult consumers who travel globally for business and/or leisure at least once a year, on average.