61% of travel brands say CX is sub-par, finds new survey
Customer experience might be top of the C-Level agenda but the executives in charge must up their game
If customer experience is the new battleground for the travel industry then the results of CX Trends in Travel, a brand new survey from EyeforTravel by Reuters Events, raise some concerns.
Nearly two-thirds of the 650+ respondents said their efforts to deliver on the customer experience were below par. Just over a third believed they were delivering a good or outstanding experience, while the remaining 61% said their efforts were ‘average’, ‘could do better’ or ‘terrible’. Interestingly, however, half of respondents said the CX buck stopped with the CEO, which raises the question: is there trouble at the top of travel?
The brands that survive and continually thrive will be those that provide great, rewarding and engaging guest experiences. It’s that simple
Jeff de Korte, VP Advertising and e-Commerce, Caesars Entertainment
The ability to deliver a great CX is a matter of survival. As Jeff de Korte, VP Advertising and e-Commerce, Caesars Entertainment, puts it: "The brands that survive and continually thrive will be those that provide great, rewarding and engaging guest experiences. It’s that simple.”
Christian Jackson, Director of the upcoming Travel Summit 2020 (San Diego June 1-2), agrees: “Whether a customer is on your property or looking to book on your website, successful travel companies must put the customer experience at the heart of everything they do.”
Not only is investment in CX good for customers, it is good for the bottom line. According to the Temkin Group, a customer experience research, consulting, and training firm, companies that invest wisely in CX can expect to double revenue within three years. In addition, it finds that 86% of buyers are willing to pay more for a great customer experience. When it comes to luxury services, research from consultants PwC reveals that people are willing to pay a price premium of up to 13%.
Not all doom and gloom
Although the survey highlights that travel brands must up their CX game, on a positive note they do recognize that this is a high-level priority - for 78% of travel brands the buck stops with a C-Level executive. Having said that, the role of CxO is still not yet mainstream; 68% of companies have yet to appoint a dedicated chief of experience.
For 78% of travel brands the buck stops with a C-Level executive
In addition, despite budget constraints – the single biggest challenge for companies today after legacy systems and data sitting in silos - brands are investing. In 2020 close to half of travel will direct more investment towards improving the customer experience, and only 8% of firms are planning to spend less. When it comes to where companies are focusing their energy, the survey finds that the top three areas are around customer experience management (28%), personalization and product proliferation (20%) and customer data and analytics (19%).
On another upbeat note, 63% of companies understand that the experience of their employees in winning customers is crucial. And, while brands see clear reason to invest in AI and automation, 91% of people feel their jobs are secure.