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Chapter XVI

The last decade in the tourism industry has seen the spotlight on “Personalization In Travel”. Studies dedicated to the behavioural attitudes of the traveller has shown that their journey becomes more memorable when both online and in-person experiences are taken into consideration. Closing the gap between the two has become more important than ever for the tourism industry as it increases brand loyalty and sees improved financial performance. if you’re only focusing on email campaigns, social media, chatbots or automated call centres, you and your customers are missing out.

In an industry that has been growing rapidly since the last decade, travel companies now focus on personalization as a way to enhance the customer’s journey from start to end and gain a competitive edge. 

Personalized Air Travel Experiences

Airlines are employing in-flight personalization strategies to foster stronger relationships with travellers and build meaningful experiences. They are thereby strengthening their foothold by differentiating their offerings from the competition. Today airlines have far more details about you – your date of birth, home address, travel patterns, vacation preferences, in-flight purchases and feedback of your last flight. The latest generation of hand-held devices used by flight attendants has information about frequent flyers, those who may have had a flight cancelled, and those who need to be deplaned on priority since they have short connections and need to make it on time for their next flight.

An online flight booking will also ask for your meal preferences. Even a family travelling can have ever member enjoy their meal depending on their preference for veg, non-veg, Indian, Continental or Jain meal. Not only does this ensure customized flying experience but also allows airlines to reduce waste by carrying only the selected meals. With historical passenger data, curated entertainment content can also be made available wherein charges will be seamlessly debited from digital payment accounts if availed.

Pleasant Surprise In Hospitality

Stuck in his hotel in Dubai due to the Coronavirus scare and the travel ban, Sam was in for a surprise on his birthday. The in-house staff of the hotel came up to his room with a gorgeous cake. Lit candles shone on the butterscotch cake – his favourite. As he blew the candles, the staff burst balloons and played “Happy Birthday” on the music system. He may have been alone this birthday but the wonderful experience was one that he will never forget. The hotel seems now home away from home.

A stone’s throw away from the Amer Fort, Khas Bagh is built on the lines of a medieval-style haveli with open courtyards, verandahs with arches and intricately carved stone pillars and jaalis, This luxurious homestay is a favourite with us. Often, Sam and drive down for a relaxed weekend to the gorgeous property. Knowing how much I love Room No. 10, the hotel ensures that I get the same room each time, without me making mention of it. I love that. It shows that management cares and I as a guest, feel very special.

Intricate details do matter. It shows the guests that the brand cares. The thoughtfulness in every gesture delights the customers and leads to more brand associations in future. Using a mobile app to change the temperature of the room, to stream personalized content to the television or to place in-room orders are small aspects but make a guest happy. Hotel chains now incorporate keyless entry and encourage social interactions through live music and communal pool tables.

Blasting out the same offer-led sales messages via generic emails and WhatsApp is not enough. Analysing social media, offering online questionnaires, past reservations and smiling face-to-face conversations with the guests can all reveal preferences in order to super-serve guests at every opportunity. The idea is to tailormade experiences based on the customer profile. This will also help marketers to craft campaigns to consumer intent at that moment and maximise click-through rates. Personalized ads pertaining to the relevant audience and matching their buying intent can then be sent through.

Memorable Experiences by Sea

Cruise lines that once favoured a generic approach are scrutinising ways to give guests tailor-made experiences. Passengers feed their preferences for meals, drinks and entertainment into a mobile app before they arrive. Aboard Royal Regal and the Caribbean Princess Cruises guests don a sleek bracelet or watch with a wearable disc called the OceanMedallion. This wifi-enabled wearable can unlock surprises, such as ship-wide scavenger hunts, shop onboard, open cabin doors automatically and order drinks upon arrival at the pool. It also doubles as a convenient payment method and provides easy access to guest’s itineraries and streaming entertainment preferences.

Personalization Done Right

Personalization is becoming a hardwired expectation of an entire generation. It will gain more importance once the Coronavirus threat is over and the travel ban is lifted all over the world. Travel decisions made by the guests will be based on the feeling that their needs are understood, their health is safeguarded and they will be looked well after,

Care must also be taken that personalization is done in the right manner without invading the privacy of the guests or stepping on their toes. In varying degrees, guests happily provide personal data in anticipation of a better experience. The means used to collect data must be open and optional and not surreptitiously obtained. Needless to say, despite the customer data collected, everything rests on the actual on-property experience. Personalization can only be effective when it’s coupled with attentive service. Afterall nothing can replace a lovely smile, warm hospitality and human touch.

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People all over the world are combining business trips with leisure holidays. Read about Bleisure holidays that have been over the rise here.


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