Delivering superior customer service is crucial in the travel sector. Competition is so intense that travel brands need to exceed customers' expectations otherwise they risk getting lost in the pack.

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As part of its report into the top 50 customer service brands in the UK, KPMG commented that "within this sector there is something of an arms race, as companies work hard to woo the more affluent passenger or customer, in particular".

That "arms race" has resulted in Emirates, Virgin Holidays, Saga, Eurostar and Virgin Atlantic all ranking in KPMG's top 50.

Econsultancy has identified three travel brands who have taken customer service to the next level and put their head above the parapet:

1. Marriott Hotels

Having a strong online presence is crucial for any travel brand in 2017. Every travel brand now knows this, too, and many have taken steps to ensure they are available for customers on a range of platforms. However, this in itself has created problems for businesses in the sector in terms of getting customers to follow and engage with them.

Marriott has shown it's prepared to be pro-active to attain some visibility, launching its M-Live Studio in London, where it creates real-time content and generates social engagement with consumers.

Its M-Live Studio works on two fronts: promoting motivational and inspirational content to engage users en masse, while sharing and replying to individual customers who post positive travel stories online.

It's a wise move, with studies showing that customers who feel engaged by companies on social media make higher purchases than other customers.

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2. Virgin Holidays

We're going to see lots more immersive customer experiences emerge over the course of 2017, but for the time being it's somewhat confined to the travel brands that can afford to offer them.

Virtual reality (VR) holds huge potential for the travel industry but, at the moment, it demands a hefty investment – both in terms of the equipment and the content.

Virgin Holidays has likely got a higher budget than most to be able to experiment with VR and it's not doing so in half measures. Its V Room travel outlet concept is designed to feel like an airport lounge, complete with cocktail bar.

This ensures customers are in 'holiday mode' as they pull on a VR headset, which gives them a realistic experience of what they can expect from a destination.

3. Singapore Airlines

Given all the technology that's available to them, travel brands need to be careful to not over-complicate the customer experience – especially for customers booking on their mobile device.

Singapore Airlines' mobile apps serves to make its customers' lives easier with users able to access an integrated flight schedule, see real-time updates on flight statuses and keep track of loyalty rewards.

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The solution

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