The UK travel and hospitality industry is proving a success story in 2015, according to Visit Britain in Q1 2015 there was an increase in overnight stays of 14% YOY, although occupancy and spend per trip was flat from 2014. Share of holiday wallet is more competitive for longer stays, as although the domestic holiday is still popular for short stays, the trend is growing to consider overseas destinations for longer trips.
In a recent report from the Institute of Customer Service, the tourism industry scored highly in customer satisfaction at 79%. Customer service in the holiday park industry is good but there is room for improvement.
The importance of repeat business in the domestic travel and tourism sector
The drivers behind the UK “staycation” are flexing as the “value for money” reason for domestic holidays is now reducing in popularity at just 15% of respondents surveyed by Visit England. In the same survey, it’s interesting that the top reason (23%) is “To return to a place I’d liked before” – over and above convenience at 6%.
Therefore it becomes important to satisfy your customers and make a positive impression in order to secure repeat business from them. This seems an obvious statement, but if a quarter of your target audience are prepared to go to the same place or area, it is a weighted indication of their level of habit. Routine or regular events are dominated by an older demographic.
Online and the rise of a louder “word of mouth”
39% of long trips (traditional one or two week holidays) change during the domestic holiday planning process, which means that your sales and marketing proposition needs to be robust, as the more research being done – be it by traditional referrals from friends and family or via the growing plethora of review platforms such as TripAdvisor and Revoo.
A holiday park operator therefore has various touchpoints in which to encourage and influence a stay at their establishment either from a previous holiday-maker or one who has explored the park anew.
The most prevalent factors affecting customer satisfaction and therefore your balance of good or poor reviews online include park facilities and availability, weather during their stay and the customer service experience (the speed of response and ability to rectify any issues on site).
Customer service can span pre-stay, on-site and follow up and this process needs to be joined up, consistent and of course, positive.
Generation C and the changing customer service model
In a recent report from Microsoft “2015 UK State of Multichannel Customer Service”, which covers multiple industries, four interchangeable channels emerge as the most regular ways in which consumers are willing to engage with us. Email (82%), telephone (72%), live-chat (58%) and online self-service & FAQs (56%) are the leading customer service channels.
Are you confident that your holiday park offers these ways of your prospects and customers reaching you? Not just that, but will their experience be consistent? Will they have to repeat the same thing over again if they move between channels or between customer care staff members?
In the same Microsoft report, 42% of respondents cited quick issue resolution as the most important aspect of customer satisfaction, whilst 23% said the most frustrating aspect of their service experience is having to contact an organisation multiple times for the same issue.
So, if a quarter of your audience is frustrated by lack of resolution and the need to repeat themselves, then the omni-channel customer care model becomes more relevant rather than just multi-channel.
The rise of the use of mobile devices means that customers expect to move seamlessly between channels when interacting with businesses and brands. Generation C (for Connected) is not defined by age or disposable income, but rather their behaviours – it simply means that our audience is “always-on” and expects us to be as well.
Put into this mix the fact that 64% of customers typically begin their customer interaction online, and you can start to understand how first impressions of your digital offering matters. The use of frequently asked questions on your website, or even better a self-service portal for your customers can help to quickly answer the questions posed by a customer or prospect but also alleviate the overhead incurred by a call centre or simple telephone team.
Social media as a sales, marketing and service channel is growing in importance as consumer expectations rise. Not only should organisations have a manned social media platform(s) (relevant to their customer profile) for customer care, but they should introduce tools such as Microsoft Social Engagement to help them listen, react and pre-empt what is being said about their brand or business or marketplace.
Download our whitepaper for more information about understanding the commercial importance of social and how you can protect your reputation and help your customers.
Have you upskilled your employees and invested in the right back office solutions in order to meet these changing needs?
Turn data into intelligence to deliver bespoke customer experience
By using business and customer management tools such as ParkVision and Dynamics CRM, your holiday park can understand and meet the needs of your existing customer base by analysing trends and highlighting areas to capitalise and improve on, whether it is on-site or before or after they book with you.
In an increasing competitive market, holiday park operators must act now in order to be relevant to changing customer expectations, please speak to Prodware about how we can help.