2020 has hit the two most human of industries – travel and hospitality. A mix of emotions and changing behaviours towards leisurely activities has markedly influenced purchasing behaviour in the 1st wave of COVID-19. Where quick investments and new regulations can be implemented, this has given businesses the lead into wave 2 to learn and implement into their future operations.

Transforming human industries

The travel, tourism, and hospitality industry an [1]annual economic impact (direct, indirect, and induced) of around 6.5 trillion U.S. dollars worldwide, accounting for 10.3% of global GDP, and accounts for 1 in 10 jobs around the world.

Given the nature of coronavirus, this has resulted in millions of job losses and customers behaviours rapidly changing to a more digital presence given the limitations of pursuing leisurely activities. We have witnessed across the world an acceleration in digitalization and operational transformation to keep up with rising demand from customers and follow government guidelines on rules and regulations of limiting compacity in public spaces and reducing operating hours.

We have worked with several of our clients to bring value in identifying the key areas of investment and focus for transformation. Such as introducing automation to accelerate digital transformation at a lower cost and ensuring business continuity through a hybrid model of flexibility for our clients and colleagues.

Wave 1 forced travel brands with an influx of calls and online queries for cancellations, refunds, or rebooking flights worth millions. We supported our travel clients in these challenging times where they could implement quick-wins, and a cost-effective strategy with savings between 15%- 40% of average handling time using AI and automation capabilities, also introducing Interactive Voice Response (IVR) technology which supports with compliance and the safeguarding of data.

As for hospitality, new cleaning protocols and social distancing measures have been implemented in hotels and restaurants. Therefore, re-examining their technology investments has been accelerated to keep up with the conscious customer.

Third party delivery for restaurants due to Covid-19 has [2]“marked a new era of delivery” said Will Shu co-founder Deliveroo, as well as  social-distancing measures for dining-in.

Both restaurants and hotels have introduced new ways of checking-in and ordering food through QR scanning, developing in-house apps and updating websites to support these advancements. With our clients we have worked closely to develop the best type of technology solution to assess the operational capabilities and performance to deliver an optimized journey for the customer and organisation.

Deploying these learnings into the future

This can be translated into the hospitality industry too, with the safety of customers as the priority response, and the human aspect is now important more than ever. Digital transformation will be imperative in supporting these focus areas to gain customers confidence: offering alternative ways to customise the experience through alternative ways of checking-in, ordering food and accessing offers and information. This requires a balance of human and technology to identify emotions and engage authentically and proactively throughout the customer journey.

The travel and hospitality industry has always shown great resilience and adaptability. Now we need to take a more human approach, focusing on delivering a seamless service across multiple channels which truly takes the feelings of our customer into account.

Our operational services and multilingual hubs present an opportunity for an emotional connection and cultural affinity to customers, helping us to engage with them on a personal level to deliver a quality service across multiple channels wherever they are in the world.

If you are interested to learn more about delivering your service across multiple channels, catch-up on our latest travel webinar with leading industry experts.

Travel Webinar Video