CIO Magazine in New Zealand recently published a detailed report written by a group of Forrester analysts focused on what they call a ‘year of action’ – the effect of the customer experience on business strategy this year.
The report is quite extensive and can be read in full here, but I want to pick out three observations that I think are particularly important, especially in fast-changing industries, such as travel.
- Gamification: apps like Tripadvisor are becoming more embedded into the daily experience of customers because they are using gamification as a way to enhance the customer experience. Those customers contributing reviews and photographs to the service earn points, can improve their status, and can actively see how many other travellers find their contributions useful. Gamification is radically changing the way the travel industry captures reviews and information on hospitality and leisure destinations.
- Customers not competitors: it’s not necessarily your competitors that will cause trouble in future. But, the expectations of your customers may pivot entirely because of the way they learn about and communicate with your service. You need at least one eye on the future to consider how your customers might behave in future, especially how new technologies might change their expectation.
- Fewer apps, more focus, need to be there: as we have seen with social networks, eventually people start focusing on what they find most useful. It is predicted that customers will start using fewer apps more extensively, which could create problems if you only make your information available in bespoke apps. It’s likely you need to find a way to integrate with very popular messaging apps such as Facebook messenger or, Whatsapp, rather than expecting customers to download your own app.
The Forrester research is not specifically about the travel industry, but this is where I can foresee these points being really important in 2017. As customers focus on fewer apps, it will be harder and harder for airlines and hotel chains to get customers to use their own app – it will be essential to find ways to integrate with standard tools.
Gamification has already been proven by Tripadvisor to drive participation. It’s hard to get customers to review anything usually, unless they love or hate the service. By gamifying the experience, it is possible to gather more information, even where the service was acceptable, but nothing special.
I think technologies like VR will be extremely important in the travel industry within two years, but to succeed in adopting new ideas requires forward planning. Hotels, cruises, resorts, and car rental companies could all gain a significant advantage by thinking about this soon. Once customers expect new channels for service (like VR) and a smart competitor are starts serving them, it might be too late for you.
What do you think about how some of these CX trends from Forrester Research might impact on the travel market? Leave a comment below, or get in touch on LinkedIn, and let me know.