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Tourism turns to automation

By Chantel Troskie, Customer Experience Senior Sales Manager at Oracle

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Tourism forms a vital part of the South African economy, outperforming many other key sectors in contribution to GDP and job creation, and SA Tourism is looking to capitalise on the opportunity by attracting an additional one million domestic and four million international visitors by 2021, as part of its five-million-in-five-years strategy.

A tourism survey by Statistics South Africa shows however that domestic tourists have been cautious about their travel patterns, and are more careful about how they spend their money, due to the sluggish economy. The report highlights that instead of taking trips throughout the year, day travellers and domestic tourists have opted to travel during months in which there are school holidays such as September, December, April or June.

What has worked in travellers’ favour is the wide choice of online travel agents and comparison sites aimed at providing them with the best pricing options. However, these providers need to offer a seamless travel experience, one that not only makes the process smoother but also anticipates what customers want ahead of time. This is the secret to delivering value that goes beyond price and building lasting customer relationships.

That’s why airlines, hotels and other hospitality companies are turning to automated services to remove the bottlenecks that have traditionally stood in their customers’ way and give people their time back.

Automate to solve pain points

The term ‘automation’ may conjure up the image of faceless robots and processes that don’t understand our needs, but this is not the way to apply it when serving people directly. Businesses need automation that is supported by a deep understanding of customers. Only then can they deliver experiences that are not just efficient but also personalised.

The key is to not automate services for the sake of it. Airlines and hospitality companies need to step in their customers’ shoes and apply their automation strategies to genuine pain points.

Read more to see how Club Med used data to service customers better.

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