Travel, tourism and hospitality - being
your customer’s first choice
By Paul Linnell
The travel, tourism and hospitality industries are no strangers to the
importance of service excellence. But today, with increasing global
competition and reducing discretionary spend, business survival is more
than ever dependent on repeat business and positive referrals.
Being your customer’s first choice
It seems there have never been quite so many choices for the leisure
and business traveller, and at a time when personal and business budgets
have never been tighter, customers are increasingly careful about how to
make those choices. Moreover, with the increasing trend for leisure and
business travellers to select and make their own reservations for
travel, accommodation and dining, they increasingly depend on past
experiences and the recommendations from others to guide their choices.
Our research confirms how much those choices are affected and
recommendations diminish once a customer has experienced poor service.
Customers who have experienced a problem or concern are typically 25%
less likely to return or recommend a service than those who are
completely satisfied with the service they have received. But with
typically only one in twenty customers who experience a problem going
through the process of telling you about it, the challenge for the
industry is how to find out when something has gone wrong.
Obtaining actionable customer feedback
Obtaining actionable customer feedback is particularly
challenging in an industry where customers, by definition, are on a
journey and often travelling on a tight schedule. The task of
monitoring service quality is even harder across an airline, a chain of
hotels, restaurants or a franchise network. Senior management seldom
has the luxury to monitor customer experience at every route, property
or branch. Mystery shopping can help - but is often limited by
infrequency of visits and the sheer costs involved in inspecting and
reporting on every branch, several times a day.
CTMA has identified four significant limitations that often arise
with satisfaction research, mystery shopping and interceptor surveys in
travel, tourism and hospitality:
- They often fail to measure customer satisfaction and performance
in terms of strategic or financial outcomes.
Remedial actions are therefore often driven by anecdotal influences
and un-calibrated expressions of customer “importance”
- They seldom identify where specific action
needs to be taken and typically result in general solutions,
organisation-wide initiatives and improvement initiatives with
unnecessarily high deployment costs
- They often fail to identify what specific
remedial action should be taken to improve service.
Opportunities for simple and cost-effective improvements can
therefore remain elusive
- They typically fail to provide feedback often
enough to identify problems soon enough
to take appropriate action
The challenge is to obtain systematic and cost-effective feedback
that can identify just where their service strengths are, and where
there are opportunities for improvement.
About Paul Linnell:
Paul Linnell is a
service improvement champion, working internationally with senior
managers and their teams to help them achieve business success, reduce
risk and build customer loyalty and advocacy by improving service to
customers. Paul specialises in the design and deployment of
customer experience measurement, service quality improvement, complaints
handling and preventive analysis programmes. For most of his career he has worked in Europe
and North America and for the past 10 years Paul has been based in New Zealand, continuing to serve clients globally.
CTMA has developed and manages a number of online customer feedback
channels that provide particularly powerful benefits to the travel,
tourism and hospitality industries and provide organisations with
systematic and cost-effective feedback from their customers.
These voice of the customer solutions, help
make it easy for customer to provide feedback and help organisations
learn more from their customers. Combined with our other research and
consulting services, they can bring clear location-level insights to
individual businesses, airline, hotel and restaurant chains and
For more information about CTMA’s voice of the customer feedback
For more information about CTMA’s customer feedback solutions for
travel, tourism and hospitality, and how they can help you collect
actionable customer feedback, please contact us.