Travel Industry

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As COVID-19 vaccines are rolling out across the United States, more people are booking flights and planning vacations in the hopes that summer 2021 will be back to ‘normal.’ Americans have the travel bug. More people are booking flights, hotels, and vacation rentals.

As the country prepares for post-pandemic life and travel bookings are rebounding, travel companies are flooded with requests. Contact centers are understaffed and underprepared. After a year of layoffs and company closings, the travel industry is trying to rebuild.

More businesses are relying on new technologies to meet the increasing customer demands, provide better customer service, and make up for the last year of lost profits.

Travel Companies Are Overloaded

There’s never been a greater pent-up demand for travel.

For over a year, vacations were impossible, family trips weren’t allowed, and even business travel was (mostly) banned. Americans are eager to book summer vacations. As the country begins to open, people are quickly booking trips. Whether it’s a trip to see a loved one or a much-needed break, there’s a surge of new business for travel companies.

Now’s the time people are beginning to think about their summer plans. Most travelers book summer vacations from February to May. Travel companies are experiencing a slew of new customers, phone calls, and bookings. But can they handle it?

After the coronavirus pandemic has laid the airline industry bare, this new business is undoubtedly a good thing? Well, yes and no. Economically speaking, it’s, of course, a fundamental first step to rebuilding the industry. However, as new business floods into an industry that has been forced to furlough or lay off a large portion of their workforce, there are gaps in their ability to meet new customer demands.

Low Staff Is Leaving Travel Companies Under Water

To put it simply, there are just not enough call center agents to meet the growing demands.

Many companies in the travel industry have been in survival mode since March 2020. For many, surviving meant drastically cutting staff members. All of a sudden, the travel demand is back, and there are not enough people to help customers. Travelers are waiting in long lines on the phone for an agent’s help, leaving many feeling frustrated.

In an attempt to salvage business, new call center agents are being aggressively hired. The new hires are not receiving proper training, rather sped-up training. These new agents must be able to handle more calls in less time without being adequately educated.

New agents, stressed-out managers, and overwhelmed workers are a recipe for disaster. Ultimately, it’s the customer who will suffer. With the massive influx of phone calls and travelers seeking answers to last-minute questions, the customers are not getting the assistance they deserve, leaving the travel company in jeopardy.

Customer Experience Is Still #1

Customer service can not be sacrificed.

The only way travel companies can start to regenerate the lost profits from the past year is with satisfied customers. Keep in mind customer experience is the result of every interaction a customer has with your business. Talking to the customer service representative, waiting for someone to answer a question, and the agent’s ability to correctly address any concerns will alter a customers’ holistic perception of their experience with your business.

Without positive customer feedback, no business can thrive. In the next few months, when more travelers are getting comfortable traveling again, exceptional customer service is critical. Many passengers may still have questions or concerns regarding safety and health issues. Call center agents must provide accurate, helpful information.

The COVID-19 recovery phase is happening now. Forward-thinking travel companies have spent the last year retooling and re-platforming for the spike of travel bookings that would eventually return. The answer is advanced technology.

How Can Technology Help?

The only way travel companies can start to regenerate the lost profits from the past year is with satisfied customers. Keep in mind customer experience is the result of every interaction a customer has with your business. Talking to the customer service representative, waiting for someone to answer a question, and the agent’s ability to correctly address any concerns will alter a customers’ holistic perception of their experience with your business.

How Can Technology Help?

  1. Call center technology can identify high-value customers and route them to more experienced agents.
  2. Technology is an asset to the operations teams. It makes doing their jobs easier, more effective and allows them to handle more customer interactions with less staff.
  3. Centers are implementing “call me back” and “scheduled call back” technology. This allows the customer to continue their day without having to wait for an extended period of time on hold waiting for a free agent.
  4. Technology can understand the customer’s context. New call center technology can detect the reason a customer is calling, provide the agent the customers context, prepare the agent with actionable data, and provide a better overall customer experience.

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