Mitto, a provider of global omnichannel communications solutions, announced new research into customer experience in the travel and hospitality industry, finding a strong correlation between the standard of customer support and consumers’ attitudes toward those brands.
Poor customer support has the potential to drastically affect an airline or hotel brand’s bottom line as 90% of consumers who experienced a negative interaction would choose not to give business to that specific airline or hotel in the future unless there was no alternative. Further, 30% and 42% said they would never fly with that airline or stay in that hotel again.
Amid travel disruptions, brands should prioritize quality CX
The travel industry has been in flux over the past year with flight delays and disruptions at a high after emerging from the pandemic restrictions, coupled with soaring fares. 64% of Americans have experienced a delay with their recent flights, and more than half (55%) of travelers expect delays during the Labor Day weekend. But the speed and method of how these delays are communicated play a key role in consumers’ overall experience.
Travelers indicated the following preferences for customer support interactions by airlines:
- Communications and solutions must be fast: Around two-thirds (64%) desired quick fixes, followed by 50% prioritizing fast communication and short wait times. The majority (54%) of people do not want to wait on hold for more than 10 minutes.
- SMS tops the communications channels: The need for fast brand interactions can be supported by the fact that 40% of consumers preferred to communicate with an airline via SMS during peak travel times. In the past year, the majority of brand conversations were conducted in-person or over email, with only 15% saying airlines offered SMS as an option.
“The travel and hospitality industries are uniquely poised to surprise and delight consumers. Even with 55% of travelers expecting delays during the Labor Day weekend, airlines can still foster positive customer experiences by reconsidering how they communicate with customers,” said Andrea Giacomini, CEO of Mitto. “Our research shows quality customer support would create a better experience even in the face of flight delays and other vacation disruptions. It is critical that the travel and hospitality industries understand the preferences of travelers and adopt a wide range of communication channels to be able to connect with customers on the channels they prefer and create these positive interactions.”
Mitto revealed that while more than half (61%) of consumers believe that customer support in the travel industry has either stayed the same or gotten better since the COVID-19 pandemic, 30% have even higher expectations today than they did previously. Brands cannot afford to pump the brakes on CX now. Further showcasing the need for quality support, 30% of respondents believe a past positive experience is the most important aspect when choosing which airline to fly.
CX lessons airlines can learn from hotels
While airlines have opportunities to build their customer support experiences, hotels are reporting immensely positive incidences. In fact, 95% of Americans had a positive or neutral experience with a hotel in the past year. The biggest proponents of a positive experience with a hotel are:
- Helpful representatives (66%): in particular, almost half (46%) are still prioritizing contactless hotel interactions.
- Fast interactions (61%): notably, 77% prefer fast, self-service options including messaging a hotel on an app or via SMS compared to having to call or walk to the front desk.