Everyone loves the holidays… except when it comes to travel. The holidays are notorious for delayed flights and overbooked hotels- just all around stress for both customers and employees.
Often customers forget that when they’re frustrated about an issue, so are you. Basically, when customers are stressed, so are you. When they’re all crowding around your desk yelling over each other, complaining about delays, demanding more shampoo, children screaming— it's every employees’ recurring holiday nightmare.
Needless to say, the months of November and December are exhausting for airline and hotel employees. But, luckily, it’s a team effort, which greatly helps lighten the load. The tips suggested here should also make the holidays easier for everyone involved.
Throughout this holiday season, we've explored airline and hotel customers concerns, so we can help you develop a positive customer experience strategy based on their feedback.
Tell Customers What They Should Know. Again.
Often just helping customers know beforehand what they can and can’t bring to airports can alleviate many problems. Everyone knows there is a limit to the amount of liquids that can go on a plane, but no one can remember how much the limit is, if the liquid can go in a carry-on, if the amount differs by type of liquid, if it goes in a carry on or checked bag, if— you get the idea.
With every purchase of a ticket, send tips about how to get through security without a hitch. If customers get through security more easily, they will be happier and the security teams can focus on their jobs- not just reminding people to put their belts on the moving belt. Less stress all around.
For hotels, after a room has been booked, send a reminder of what is needed upon check-in along with a map of your location and an assurance that everyone will have a place to park complete with additional places they are allowed to park nearby, so they, one, have less of a chance of getting lost and, two, don’t have to worry about not parking.
Simply reminding customers will lessen holiday anxieties for them as well as your employees.
Go the Extra Mile to Create a Good Experience… or as Good as it can get
Hmm. Maybe not the best way to create a good experience.
Hotels know better than most that good sleep is a personalized, sacred ritual. For some, they need the softest pillow, others rocks; some need fans, while others need complete silence. However, clients often don’t express their needs at the time of booking. Sending them an email asking if they need anything to be more comfortable while providing a list of what you have to offer will go a long way to creating happy customers before they arrive, throughout their stay, and every time they return. And they will return with service like that.
Along the same lines, airlines can let customers know what kind of items they can bring onto the plane that doesn’t count as a personal item or carry on. For example, many don’t know a blanket doesn’t count as a personal item just like a purse. No one knows that! Well, some might, but even if they do, they often don’t have enough room in their luggage or enough arms to carry it. Just letting them know this kind of information will make them feel more in control of their holiday airport experience because they know exactly how to prepare. Experiences like this are what create loyal customers.
Airlines also have many unknowns that can lead to customer frustration, such as weather, overbooking, technical issues, and more. Any issue can result in customers waiting hours for their flight. Here’s a possible idea to ease the experience: give them blankets. Now, I’m not talking about those cousins to paper tissues airports give out upon request.; they barely keep anything warm in the frigid airport tundra. If airlines know customers are going to be stuck for hours, especially at night when the stores have closed, get some warmer blankets for them. Yes, it costs more, but it’s a gesture many will appreciate.
There are many little things an airline can do to create a positive customer experience during holiday delays. Many airlines already have policies that help customers when flights are delayed or canceled, but going a little further than policy will go a long way toward not only increasing loyalty, but decreasing frustration so your team can focus on their jobs
Listen to Your Customers
Take the time to look over your customer’s ticket or booking information. You can pretty easily tell if they are traveling alone, in a group, have kids, etc. Think about what those customers might need and talk to them about it. For example, let parents know your policies on baby carriers or ask, in the case of hotels, if they want a high chair in their room in addition to having one available during breakfast.
Both airlines and hotels can provide information about the local area like restaurants, parks, museums, or fun places only known to the locals. This is especially beneficial to hotels, but airlines can provide this information for people who have long layovers or delays.
By listening to your audience, you can hear comments like this:
With social listening tools, airlines and hotels can see their audiences concerns and make necessary adjustments. Additionally, you can see their good comments so you know what’s working and shape your customer experience strategy accordingly.
Make the Experience Fun!
Let’s remember it’s still the holidays! It should be fun!
Here’s some fun ideas:
Set up selfie booths with a holiday theme. You can have the airline or hotel hashtag so they can tag you when they post their images.
You can also use Augmented Reality. Airports, sponsored by airlines, and hotels can have scavenger hunts related to their brand or the location they are in. Frontier could have the animals on their planes around airports for people to find and interact with. If a hotel is in Washington D.C., they can have the president around the hotel.
These two ideas and others you may come up with may not be possible, but it’s never too early to prepare for the next round of holiday craziness.
There are lots of ways to make the holidays less stressful, even fun. Pay attention to your customers. Find ways to address their needs in a way that will make the experience better for everyone involved. For more ideas, check out Nuvi’s Customer Experience Guide!