The summer leisure travel season is upon us. As travelers start
booking trips, catching flights and overnighting in hotels, there is even more pressure
on travel and hospitality companies to provide exceptional customer
The pressure to improve customer support was already hitting the
industry pre-COVID, and the demand for quick, personalized and effortless
interactions has only taken off.
roviding good customer service doesn’t just
impact reputation (and earn public praise), but also revenue: 82% of
customers have stopped doing business with a company due to poor support and
32% have done this multiple times. Stellar customer service in the
travel industry is even more necessary now in the post-COVID world.
how is the travel industry delivering against these expectations today? The Customer Service
Benchmark Report analyzes how 3,000 of the world’s airlines, hotels, cruise lines,
online travel agencies and ground transportation companies provide support on
two of the most popular digital platforms: email and Twitter.
It reveals that
travel companies are failing to meet the demands of the modern traveler and are
at risk of losing revenue and loyalty as a result.
Guests can’t get quick support on their channel of choice
want to reach out on their channel of choice, and these preferences change
based on a person’s context and issue. Only 12% of travel and hospitality
companies offer support on both channels, nearly 38% of companies don’t offer
email support and only 46% have Twitter profiles.
Even worse: companies ignore
70% of emails and 46% of social messages.
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is a difference amongst industries, however. The Support Performance Index
(SPI) is a 360-degree analysis of what matters most to travelers when it comes
to customer service: responsiveness, empathy, personalization and
thoroughness/relevance of a response.
On average, the best-performing industry
for omnichannel support is cruise lines (with an average SPI of 34.23 out of
100), followed by ground transportation companies (busses, car rentals, trains
- 31.77), airlines (30.77), hotels (31.77) and OTAs (27.35).
best performing companies on both channels are OTAs - Wakanow, Thomas Cook and
Almosafer - and hotels - Trident Hotels, Yotel and Address Hotels +
Ground transportation provide the best email and social support
looking for support will be most satisfied with the responses from rail, bus
and rental car companies - the highest performers on the email-SPI. Airlines
provide the worst email support.
the Social-SPI, ground transportation companies also provide the best
responses. This is followed closely by airlines and cruise lines. Hotels and
resorts, on average, are the worst providers of Twitter support.
Airlines, Almosafer, airBaltic and Premier Inn provide the best support on
Travel companies leave questions unanswered
if companies do respond, though, the customer is not fully satisfied with the
response. This leads to increased support costs as a traveler would likely
follow up for a complete response on a different channel.
than half of companies that responded to emails (53%) and 72% of Twitter direct
messages did not include key information that would answer a person’s question.
On-time responses: Travel companies are quick to respond
it comes to customer service, two-thirds of customers
say valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do.
Responsiveness is one area where travel companies are performing well.
57% of emails are responded to within the first three hours and more than one
in five companies respond to direct messages within the first 15 minutes.
email, the fastest responders are ground transportation companies (9.20 hours), compared
to hotels and resorts (12.43 hours); OTAs: (12.53 hours); airlines
(16.36 hours); and cruise lines: (23.16 hours). Interestingly, the largest
travel and hospitality companies (5,000+ employees) were the slowest responders
on email, with an average response time of over 27 hours.
Twitter, airlines are the fastest responders, with an average response time of
8.52 hours. This compares to ground transportation (9.93 hours); cruise lines
(12.87 hours); hotels and resorts (19.82 hours); and OTAs (21.62 hours).
fastest responders are Address Hotels + Resorts, Network Rail, Royal Caribbean
Cruises, Ryanair and SpiceJet.
C/X is the new loyalty program
Nearly half (46%) of
customers take loyalty programs into consideration, but even more - 60% - say
great customer service is critical.
To effectively compete in an increasingly
competitive market, travel companies need to reprioritize the support they
provide travelers across the most popular digital support channels: email and
About the author...
Can Ozdoruk is vice president of marketing at Netomi