customer service has long been a way for travel brands to drive customer
acquisition and repeat business.
world is changing, though, and traditional standards for satisfaction and
experience are no longer enough.
array of options at their fingertips, customers expect more. Travel suppliers
need to offer products and services that resonate on a deeper, more personal
best way to stand out is to get personal - often starting before the customer
even books. While ancillary products are not a new concept, the sophistication
with which they are merchandised has entered new territories thanks to
artificial intelligence-led innovations.
accelerated, sustainable growth while delighting customers is a complex puzzle.
Partners is a global leader in travel and specialty insurance. Here are five
critical lessons they've learned as they balance art with science and
technology with empathy to help partners produce meaningful customer
1. Context delivers value
customers coming back for more, successful businesses treat each customer as an
individual - providing the best products for their situation. After all, the
travel industry is about providing customers with one-of-a-kind journeys. But
how can travel suppliers provide unique experiences for every customer during
the pre-booking and booking journey?
two different customers, both planning trips, both in need of travel insurance.
The first is a dad planning a family vacation to New York City. He’s tasked
with the responsibility of making travel arrangements for his wife and kids.
Last minute, the grandparents decide to tag along too. He’s struggling to keep
the trip within budget, and he’s worried that something could go wrong.
imagine a bride-to-be planning the perfect honeymoon getaway. This is the
experience of a lifetime. Since it’s just her and her partner, she’s willing to
spend a little extra cash. She’s excited, but a little wary - she’s heard that
her tropical destination is prone to hurricanes this time of year.
these customers have similar purchase patterns?
course not. No two customers have exactly the same needs. Even the same
customer has different needs in different scenarios.
the booking experience, travel suppliers can derive a great deal of insight
about a customer’s needs. Each piece of data helps establish and understand
customer cohorts. Within each cohort, data can curate specific offers. These
offers aren’t just based on the products that best fit the customer’s needs.
They also ensure that the offer uses the most relevant messaging and design.
This helps drive product understanding, customer experience and revenue growth.
for example, a guest making a hotel reservation. Simple context such as seeing
multiple adults and children included in a reservation may indicate family
travel. Offering products like roll-away beds, only SUV rentals, passes to
local attractions and a robust travel insurance plan may generate additional
ancillary conversion. However, a guest with elite-level status may be more inclined
to upgrade rooms or pay for additional assistance and concierge services. With
more information comes more insight.
date, trip length, loyalty status and more can all help fine-tune offers.
about harmonizing the experience
a trip can be stressful. After spending hours sifting through flights, hotels,
tours and tickets, it’s easy to get decision fatigue. Merchandising an ancillary
product shouldn’t make things more complicated. Brands can create awareness,
provide understanding of value and facilitate decision-making without adding to
decision-making can change depending on which phase of the journey they are in.
From dreaming, to planning, to booking, to travel, customers weigh the
importance of different aspects of their trip based on changing balances of
rational and emotional thinking. Awareness, inspiration and education should be
placed appropriately throughout the journey, helping build customers’
confidence to book along the way. Taking a holistic view of a customer journey
helps illustrate the characteristics of each
customer, their trip and their concerns.
address customers’ concerns, pick partners with a broad portfolio of solutions.
But without understanding how to connect those solutions at the right time, in
the right placement, and with the right message, a broad portfolio is
irrelevant. How can travel suppliers provide the most relevant solution to
consumers? Enter technology.
Allianz Partners, the key is a state-of-the-art, proprietary e-commerce booking
platform known as Allianz Fusion that integrates directly into partners’
booking paths. The platform uses machine learning to provide each customer with
the most relevant insurance offer, personalized to their reservation - all
within a fraction of a second. Conducting nearly 20,000 experiments, we have
learned how to use technology to complement what humans do best.
embedded purchase experience is a seamless one
setting ancillary product strategy, there is a balance: empower consumers with
options but avoid burdening them with too many choices. Consumers are expecting
to be able to customize and enhance their experiences in the ways they want -
they may not always know exactly what they want, but they no longer accept that
one size fits all. Providing a seamless purchase experience is key to winning
over customers and to keeping them coming back. If a customer feels
overwhelmed, they may bypass the
options, or worse, the booking, altogether.
are inherently great at coming up with new ideas and looking at bigger
pictures, but we are no match for the speed at which machines can interpret
data and help make decisions. Each booking could easy generate upwards of 100
to 200 data points of direct or derived data about the trip, the traveler,
ancillary purchases, purchase history and loyalty, as well as insights on bookings
not yet completed.
insights and actions from billions of datapoints and customer actions is
impossible for any human, much less in real time. Luckily, AI provides the
perfect application. But all that cutting-edge technology still relies on a
very human element: telling an easy-to-understand story that shows the real
value of the solution to a customer’s problem.
Optimizing for travelers, not transactions
should see customers first as travelers, not transactions. That is one of the
keys to relating to customers before trying to offer them solutions. Focusing
on providing an excellent customer experience drives customer value - and it’s
simply the right thing to do.
approaching the subject of optimization, start with a strong test-and-learn
culture and let customers have a voice. In ancillaries, this can include
product offerings, ordering, positioning, copy, design and UI/UX functionality.
But beyond deciding what to test first, the most important step is choosing
KPIs. It’s not just about earning quick revenue with an easy-to-add offer during
the reservation process. Consider customer experience and long-term benefits
for a transparent, refreshing and easy-to-complete process.
Partners dedicates a team of more than 50 experts to powering technology with
heart. By putting ourselves in customers’ shoes, we develop relatable offer
messaging and creative solutions to feed their robust optimization program.
This willingness to learn through experimentation should be a part of any
company’s DNA. Not every experiment will “win,” but all experiments provide
valuable insight. These insights, and the data that come with it, are key to
sustainably accelerating growth and delighting customers.
Putting it all together
businesses find friction-free ways to make customers happier, it’s a
game changer. Customer satisfaction leads to larger customer lifetime value
gains, better competitive advantages and long-term growth prospects.
using data already at their disposal, businesses can anticipate market trends,
identify pain points and innovate new ways to reach customers. But customers
aren’t just data. Programs like Voice of the Customer can collect customer
sentiment while providing feedback and resolution points for customers in need.
The combination of robust product portfolios, strong partnerships, leading
distribution technology and industry experience can come together to provide
something truly personalized.
traveler may not even realize that the product has been personalized for them,
and that’s OK. Deciding to offer products that make a meaningful difference
when customers need them most will have an impact on brand loyalty and customer
value. Through optimization, any booking journey can provide products at the
right price, with the right solutions and at the right time. And the right
partner helps deliver in those moments that matter - those moments when it is
not just about selling, but providing the service customers deserve.
constant testing and innovation, the travel industry can adapt to changes as
they’re happening, not after. Thanks to the innovative nature of AI, a powerful
optimization program doesn’t just help you get ahead. It helps you stay ahead -
and it accelerates over time. As programs like Allianz Partners’ learn from
data, booking path experiences become more and more attuned to customer needs -
increasing the chances of satisfied customers.
suppliers are determined to provide better and better one-of-a-kind journeys.
With the right tools and strategies, that can include every part of the
experience, even booking. If you integrate optimization through every part of
the customer journey, customers will appreciate you for it - and they’ll return
To learn more about working with a partner who can help you
delight customers through superior tech solutions and seasoned experts, visit Allianz Partners
. Terms, conditions and exclusions apply to all travel
insurance plans. See Details and Disclosures