Analytics in the tourism industry: harnessing customer insights
Whether by land, air, or sea, the tourism industry is thriving. In spite of the volatile political climate in some popular vacation countries, the number of passengers continues to climb. But it’s not all sunshine and roses. After all, customers like choosing new providers almost as much as they do new destinations. Analytics offer tourism companies ways to meet these challenges.
Other industries can only dream about these kinds of numbers: The passenger airlines sector transported a record-breaking 4.1 billion passengers worldwide last year — which corresponds to an increase of 7.1 percent compared to 2016. The trend towards cruises hasn’t diminished either. The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) estimates that more than 25 million cruise passengers took to the sea last year, with an estimated passenger volume of 27.2 million estimated for 2018. And business is still booming in the long-distance bus sector too. Last year, 23 million passengers used this mode of transportation, a 47 percent increase compared to the year before.
Against the background of this constant growth, especially, customer insights — i.e., well-founded information on customers, their behavior as consumers and their needs — are becoming more and more important for tourism companies. However, many players on the market currently know only a little about their customers. This is because in tourism, the behavior of customers is more mercurial than in practically any other industry. Even if they’re very satisfied with a provider, customers won’t commit themselves to the company in the long term. Instead, they’ll switch to the competitor with the cheapest price. Ultimately, what’s true for many other industries applies to the travel industry as well: thanks to increasing market transparency, customers are more informed than before and are very familiar with prices and services. They’re also increasingly using mobile devices to book, rebook or cancel trips and take advantage of other services.
There are other reasons why many vendors don’t have meaningful customer insights. Little information is collected in a number of cases, such as when tour operators book large contingents, tickets are purchased anonymously at vending machines, or trips are booked online with only a few details about the customer. Without a sufficient pool of customer information, however, targeted cross-selling and up-selling (as well as customer loyalty in general) becomes a major challenge. This leaves companies with major opportunities untapped, because targeted relationship marketing can significantly increase a company’s profits — by up to 85 percent, according to a study by the Harvard Business School. Emotional customer loyalty is therefore a subject that occupies many experts: customer loyalty is a corporate value that won’t appear in any balance sheet, but has nevertheless become a strategic success factor — and well-founded customer insights are essential for precisely this reason.
Analytics provide customer insights
The intelligent use of advanced analytics plays an important role here. The resulting upheavals, known as the “Analytics Revolution,” are currently changing the way companies organize, operate, and create value in the travel industry. A powerful analytics solution like Arvato’s CRM Analytics provides travel industry companies the opportunity to use available data to intelligently manage their customer interactions in two ways: on the one hand, service center employees can work with a constantly updated database and use the information derived from the data (“customer insights”), and on the other hand, recommendations for action (e.g., a customized offer for an upgrade) for customer interaction can be calculated and controlled in real-time.
All customer interactions can be optimally controlled with the help of contextual information. All relevant data, information, and interactions over the entire customer lifecycle can also be summarized at a glance with a 360° cockpit for the consultant in customer service and made available for customer interactions based on specific recommendations (next best actions). The communication channels involved (phone, website, e-mail, chat, video, etc.) can be integrated and used in the best ways possible. The inbound day-to-day business, as well as outbound and inbound campaigns, are strategically linked to digital channels and/or print media via the service center, increasing customer value.
With CRM analytics, tourism companies can systematically analyze and harness existing data on customer interactions in spite of capricious customer behavior. This makes it possible to manage the customer journey throughout the entire customer life cycle based on strategic parameters. In addition, the customer experience is improved by tailoring all offers and customer service advice to customers’ individual needs based on real-time analytics methods.
Author: Editorial team at “Future. Customer” Image: Rawf8 – AdobeStock