Regardless of brand or industry, being a successful organization requires a focus on customer service. When driving growth, acquiring customers is only half the battle—the other half is customer retention and, even more importantly, expansion. For the travel and hospitality industry, where the lifetime value of a customer can be high, it’s critical for brands in this space to deliver excellent customer experiences that keep high-value travelers loyal.
How brands go about delivering a great experience to travelers can be influenced by a number of things, but at the top of that list should be data. Because data shapes our understanding of customer preferences and expectations, it informs organizations of areas for improvement and adjustment so that they can provide a consistently phenomenal customer service. That’s why we pulled together the following 25 key stats about customer service in the travel industry.
Customer Service Trends
First, let’s look at general customer service and experience trends. While not necessarily focused on travel, these data points speak to customer support expectations for all industries, including tourism, travel, and hospitality.
- 81% of customers say a positive customer service experience increases the likelihood of making another purchase (Zendesk)
- One out of every five customers feels that contact center wait times are too long (Freshworks)
- 74% of customers will forgive an organization’s mistake after they receiving excellent customer support (Zendesk)
- Regarding self-service, 88% of customers expect brands to offer customer self-service online (Statista)
- Omnichannel service is critical: 72% of consumers expect brands to know their purchase history regardless of the communication method they are currently using (CX Today)
- 76% of customers expect to talk to someone immediately upon contacting a company (Zendesk)
- Data privacy cannot be overlooked—71% of web users have indicated they do not want brands to use AI to improve the customer service experience if it threatens infringing on their privacy
- 68% of consumers will spend more with a brand that they feel understands them and treats them like ‘an individual’ (Khoros)
- 74% of customers are more likely to purchase from a brand again if they receive support in their own language, while 40% will straight out not buy from a brand whose website does not have content in their own language (CSA Research)
Traveler Expectations for Customer Service
- 79% of consumers say that personalized service from a travel brand is more important to them than personalized marketing (Gladly)
- 60% of travelers state they will switch travel brands after experiencing just 1-2 poor customer service experiences (Travel Daily News)
- Email remains the most popular communication channel among travelers, with 34% of consumers indicating a preference for it when communicating with travel brands (Loqate)
- 81% of travelers want greater digital customer service from hotel brands (Finances Online)
- Just over half (55%) of travelers expect travel brands to have a record of their reservation history when contacting customer support (Gladly)
- When choosing a brand to book travel with, customer support is the number one priority for 60% of travelers (Google)
- A mobile presence should not be overlooked: 19% of travelers prefer to be contacted via in-app messaging, while 16% prefer communication directly via SMS (Loqate)
- 67% of customers feel that technology advancements will positively impact their relationships with travel & transportation companies (Salesforce)
- 83% of travelers who use self-service solutions such as FAQs or chatbots want to be able to seamlessly transition to a support agent if needed, without having to repeat themselves (Gladly)
How Travel Brands are Stacking Up
- Just under half of consumers (46%) report their recent experience calling a travel/hospitality brand was “just OK,” while an additional 20% say it was “slow and frustrating.” That’s 66% of travelers feeling less than positive about their experiences with travel brands (Travel Daily News)
- When interacting with travel brands, almost two-thirds of customers (64%) feel like they are just a ticket number to the customer service agent (Gladly)
- About 60% of travel brands say they offer customer support via chat, while 28% are experimenting with or using artificial intelligence (PhocusWire)
- When it comes to email responses, 32% of travel brands respond to emails within the first 60 minutes. 57% respond within the first 3 hours, and 85% respond within the first 24 hours (Netomi)
- The average email response time in the travel industry varies depending on the type of company. Both hospitality companies (such as hotels & resorts) and travel agencies’ average email response time hovers around 12.5 hours, while airlines average 16.3 hours and cruises come in at just under 24 hours (Netomi)
- Nearly 40% of travel companies don’t offer email support at all (Netomi)
- Fewer than a third (30%) of cruise lines provide customer support on both email and social media channels (Travel Daily News)
Supporting Travelers with World-Class Customer Service
The world of customer support is ever-evolving, such that strategies to provide excellent experiences to travelers will never be a matter of “set it and forget it.” Understanding the latest trends in customer support, both in terms of consumer expectations and how other brands are measuring up to those demands, helps guide how CS teams can leave a lasting positive impression on travelers.
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