According to a 2016 study by the National Union of Family Associations, 40 percent of French people do not take a single vacation during the year. Among the families not going on holiday, 77 percent say that they haven’t taken a holiday in at least two years. The rarity of holidays can be linked directly to the notion of happiness.
Indeed, the DNA of tourism is to provide happiness. Vacations are looked forward to impatiently, provoking a veritable peak of happiness. Indeed, 49 percent of people say that a vacation brings them more joy than their wedding day, 51 percent prefer to travel than go on a romantic rendezvous, and 34 percent prefer to travel rather than receive a bonus! (HotelNewsNow Study 2016)
The Importance of Considering the Customer Experience of a Tourist as a Whole
On the first day of vacation, 87 percent of holiday-makers say their happiness peaks when they see their room for the first time. This highlight of the holidays, however, is part of a much more global journey, which is not necessarily taken into account by the players in the tourism sector. This journey begins during the trip’s preparation and ends well after vacationers return from their trips.
Digital has transformed the way we book a holiday. Today, the average traveler performs an average of 50 online searches, visits 38 websites, reads 12 reviews, and spends 15 weeks searching online. (Amadeus Study 2016) The tourism industry invests heavily in the imagination, exploration, and booking phases that precede a holiday. The idea is to create moments of anticipation that whet the appetite.
On the other hand, tourism actors are minimally or badly present during the post-trip phase, once they have returned from holidays, which is about exchanging memories from the holiday and sharing photos. It is also an essential time to retain customers, ensure their loyalty, and encourage them to make new bookings.
Case Studies: Using Digital to Enhance the Tourist’s Customer Experience
This conference was the occasion to share several case studies from Adobe customers, who reconsidered the customer experience following tourism’s digital transformation.
Hyatt Hotels: Enriching the Online Customer Experience with Quality Images
When preparing for a trip, the beauty and quality of images is fundamental: 79 percent of Internet users claim that beautiful pictures encourage them to browse longer. This is one of the main objectives of the Hyatt hotel chain: ensuring that the preparation phase of the physical experience is as pleasant and enjoyable as possible. The brand thus has a database of over 70,000 images to enrich the customer experience on all media.
Australian Tourism Office: Leverage User-Generated Content
The Australian Tourist Office seeks to make every visitor an ambassador. For this reason, they encouraged tourists to share their visits to Australia on social networks, through photos, comments, or videos. They then aggregated this content and made the Tourism Australia site the hub of convergence of these exchanges, a space where tourists can share their views. This allowed the tourist office to increase the time spent on the site by 65 percent, and to increase the leads that can be forwarded to tourism professionals by 77 percent. It also had an extremely strong image and visibility impact.
In conclusion, this notion of customer experience isn’t about a single moment, but about the entire journey, from the moment I begin to plan my holidays until the moment I return home and share my experience with others.
How can we make sure our customers anticipate their happiness as much as possible? What services can we offer to maximise their satisfaction once they arrive? How can we allow them to continue and extend the experience once they return, transforming them into brand ambassadors? These are some of the fundamental issues confronting the players in the tourism sector today.
What about you, what is your view on the impact of digital on the customer experience in tourism? Do not hesitate to share your opinion within the comments!