A recent American Express Travel survey has concluded that travelers want both high-tech and high-touch solutions to their travel needs. Published on July 9th, “Future Travel Trends” polled over 1,000 U.S. consumers on their attitudes towards the future of travel. Contrary to the belief that technology can replace human customer service, results show that future travelers are looking to create unique travel experiences, using a combination of personalized service and technological advances to achieve the ultimate travel experience.
People see travel as an investment
85% of survey respondents agreed with the statement that spending money on travel is an investment worth making. Additionally, 85% of travelers said they expect to travel more in the future. Travel is a priority in people’s lives, the primary reason being the desire to have once-in-a-lifetime experiences. 90% of travelers agreed with the statement that they appreciate when a travel service company strives to customize their experiences based on their preferences. They are also eager to spend time investing, planning, and sharing their travel experiences with others.
Personalization is the next frontier of travel service
When it comes to a pre-packaged itinerary v. a personalized itinerary, 85% of respondents prefer a personalized itinerary. People want travel to reflect their specific needs and wants, and are willing to spend more on unique destinations and service. 76% of travelers agreed with the statement that the level of personalized customer service they receive while traveling can really make or break their trip. Personal experiences are a critical component for Millennials in particular, with 60% agreeing with the statement that they would travel more if they received more personalized service during travel. 83% of Millennials also want brands to track their past travel purchases to deliver a more personalized experience, which puts a very high value on customization.
The human touch remains critical
93% of travelers agreed that despite digital advancements in the travel industry, the value of personal service cannot be replaced. In fact, 8 out of 10 respondents prefer having authentic and sincere customer service interactions over automated ones. Additionally, 79% of travelers agreed that many of their travel hassles could be made up by exceptional customer service. While many consumers prefer technology to automate tasks such as booking, planning and check-in, they prefer to deal with a travel professional when making changes, learning about the local scene, getting assistance, and handling flight cancellations, lost luggage, etc. In essence, when dealing with highly personal matters and the emotional highs and lows of travel, people prefer the human touch.
Travelers value a personal connection
88% of travelers agreed that brands that offer mobile booking options that are also supported by travel service professionals will be more important in the next 5 years. Here at BTM, we can attest to the value of both high-tech advances and high-touch human services. As we work to help our clients simplify and automate the booking travel and expense management process through the use of technology, we maintain an emphasis on customer service and ensuring there’s always a familiar voice on the other end of the line. By assigning a small team of travel advisors to every single client, there is always someone available to assist with booking travel, providing valuable knowledge and recommendations, and prompt solutions to any inconveniences our travelers may encounter. We have realized that while our clients appreciate the advantages that our technologies provide, nothing can quite replace the added value of our trusted travel advisors and the personalized service they offer.