According to a 2020 study by investpro.com, the likelihood of selling to an existing customer is 60-70%, while the probability of selling to a new customer is 5%-20%. So if growth is a primary corporate goal, then retaining clients is key. And what better way to achieve retention and loyalty than by raising the customer service bar and upgrading customer experience?
The pandemic has inevitably forced many to rethink the way they engage with customers. With many, including CWT, moving to an omnichannel approach and leveraging new, data-driven tech to maintain customer loyalty and trust throughout lockdown. This approach, combined with successfully communicating fast and effectively to increased (and understandably anxious) customer contact volumes, is the cornerstone to doing better business as we emerge from this crisis.
So what does this mean for corporate hotel sourcing organizations looking to further reshape their support systems, to fit seamlessly around customer’s needs and expectations, as travel begins to restart? ? Three words: Keep. It. Simple.
Travel and hotel management companies need to remain several steps ahead of their client’s hotel booking strategy, more so now than ever before by:
- Ensuring a client’s hotel content is loaded and ready for them to book.
- Having other content sources available for when a client property is unavailable.
- Providing additional content contracted, loaded, and available to keep the business traveler in channel and in compliance with their company travel policy.
- Having the agility to collect and pass relevant health, weather, and other safety updates to travelers in real-time.
Today’s business travel environment is changing month-to-month, and sometimes week-to-week. These circumstances call for the ability to dynamically display content taking policy, cost, geography, and experience into consideration. Having the right technology platform in place to support, organize and display multiple channel sources consistently is critical to retaining clients with unique program needs. One size does not fit all.
In many cases, the technology platform can only be effective when you have a truly strong process managing the content database. A strong repeatable process ensuring all hotel content and associated client preferencing is loaded, becomes foundational to any technology platform working effectively.
In the past, a TMC could rely on the business travel client to load hotel content in their online booking tool. This would support online bookings and offer some cover for any offline loading errors. If the goal is to achieve multi-channel display consistency, having one content management system is critical.
Now, machine learning can be pre-programmed to comprise multiple factors including policy considerations, experience, and cost.
Keep it simple; be ready to take the client’s hotel program in any format or frequency. Have a process that ensures loading and consistency across all relevant client booking channels.
Once we successfully load the system with client content and preferencing, are we done? Unfortunately, not. Programs change, properties change ownership, and contact information changes. Having strong systemic reporting and a process to correct any client content performing outside of the set tolerance is the final piece.
The future is here; machine learning can predict travel needs or be programmed to fit a client’s policy goals. However, best-in-class customer service only occurs when this kind of technology is accompanied by strong manual processes. Data still needs to be managed and maintained.
In a post-Covid world when adjustments may need to happen on the fly, great customer service combines expertise and industry knowledge with dynamic hotel content loading for real-time adaptability.
Blog author: Matthew Brennan, VP, Operations, RoomIt by CWT