(MENAFN- Bangladesh Monitor)
Dhaka: Digital came into its own during the pandemic across many sectors. From people buying groceries online for the first time to conducting all of their work-related tasks from home, technology has been a lifeline for many over the past 18 months.
In post-pandemic, travel companies need to prepare for an even more demanding digitally-literate customer based on how other sectors have improved during the pandemic.
The pre-pandemic norms of the travel and hospitality industries no longer apply. Sellers and suppliers can explore the three following areas where digital-first companies are rewriting the playbook.
Gain insights from data
The travel industry — which was at the vanguard of e-commerce when online shopping became mainstream — needs to catch up with how today's online retail giants handle customer data. The travel industry is now in a position to close the gap, thanks to the increasingly widening acceptance of the benefits that machine learning, artificial intelligence, and insight-led analytics can bring to a business.
Personalisation is an area where digital-first travel companies have thrived, and there are products and services on the market to help any late adopters. But the original innovators have identified a new frontier in personalisation: context.
If a travel company knows the context of a search query — other than just the origin, destination, and dates — predictability increases. Better conversion rates and a higher transaction value per customer can be identified using artificial intelligence to create the product which is right for the context of the trip. Preemptive and proactive upselling is a logical progression.
The fragmented nature of the recovery is creating a new use case for technology — for example, keeping track of the ever-changing government advisories around border control, tracking and testing, and quarantining.
Digital-first travel companies understand the need to have not only real-time access to accurate sources of information, but also a way to get that information to the traveller.
It is important to reemphasise that cutting-edge tech and the human touch are complementary, and that omnichannel is table stakes for digital customer engagement.
With access to the right technology, an empathetic human adviser can turn a call about a cancelled flight into a positive customer engagement.
Invest in right technology
The pre-pandemic arguments about whether travel companies should build, buy, or partner for their enterprise and consumer-facing technology still persist, but those businesses that wavered between the options need to make a decision.
Digital-first companies, as the name suggests, have made that call already, deciding what is the best combination for them to execute on their own strategy and achieve business goals.
Building proprietary technology is expensive, and not everyone has the necessary budget for it. And with tech talent in such short supply and high demand, the cost of development will only increase. However, at the same time, access to these products and services is becoming easier and more cost-efficient.
The emergence of software-as-a- service — as well as platform- and infrastructure-as-a- service — means smaller players can partner with bigger players and pay for access to tech they could not have built in-house. Buying or licensing tech from the developers is an option for some, and there are new types of licensing models emerging.
Travel companies need technology, and the options on the market are growing, in terms of what the products can do and how they are paid for.
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