Like most sectors, the travel industry has been upended by the digital revolution. Travelers are increasingly browsing for destinations on their smartphones and accessing trip updates via WhatsApp. These trends present an opportunity for companies to create and enhance the omnichannel customer experience across the modern buyer’s journey.
Gone are the days of travelers visiting, or call, an agency to ask for information regarding an upcoming trip or vacation.
Now, putting the perfect trip together is a digital affair. Customers have easy access to information, spending time researching price and quality before making their decision.
Booking.com found that 80% of customers prefer to browse on their own when planning their trips.
While this wealth of information can help customers find trips tailored to their preferences, it can add to the anxiety that often comes along with planning a holiday.
Research from McKinsey suggests that digital travelers feel overwhelmed by being confronted with too many choices.
“The more options we have, the more anxious and undecided we feel. And that’s exactly what we see playing out in the travel data. For example, the average accommodation purchase journey lasts an incredible 36 days and involves 45 touchpoints across several devices and types of websites,” reads the McKinsey analysis.
Travel companies can help customers make sense of the choices before them. And to do this, brands need to provide relevant content and support for customers at each stage of the buyer’s journey via the platforms their audiences are on.
Instant messaging plays a key role in the travel sector’s digital transformation. And, WhatsApp dominates - the channel already has 1.5 billion active users.
Now, consider that mobile bookings are soaring:
By 2022, over a third of bookings for European online travel agencies will be via mobile, according to research from Phocus Wright.
According to Sojern Global Travel Insights figures (curated by TrekkSoft) in the US, 26% of travel searches in the fourth quarter of 2017 took place on a mobile device.
Travel companies are embracing these trends and are using WhatsApp to reach customers with superior service.
Businesses use our WhatsApp Business API which is available in our omnichannel Connect One API to share time-sensitive notifications like flight cancellations, delays, and rescheduling.
Adrienne Enggist, of Booking.com, said WhatsApp helped them “communicate with our customers naturally via their preferred channel”.
Dutch airline KLM offers flight information including booking confirmations, check-in notifications, boarding passes, and flight status updates.
“This makes information easy to find in a single place, so it is available at the airport, en route or at home,” reads an update on KLM’s website.
Along with the mobile web, cross-device journeys are part of the travel shopper’s evolution.
The McKinsey analysis found a 10% increase in customer journeys that started on mobile or across different devices.
“... Travel marketers need to embrace omnichannel shoppers. At its most basic, that means creating fast, intuitive, and seamless experiences across desktop, mobile pages, and apps.”
Modern travel companies who craft seamless omnichannel experiences across devices make it simple for travelers to pick up where they left off, reducing the complexity that can come with a cross-device journey.
Digital travelers want personalized experiences. The WhatsApp Business API is an easy way to communicate with your customers at scale. Using WhatsApp’s reliable REST API, you can create a brand presence on a secure platform your customers already love.
You’ll get access to our self-service portal and world-class customer support with your integration.
Learn more about using WhatsApp to start building these elements into your marketing strategy today.
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