It’s clear that in many industries, the internet is changing the way that we do business and the way that we shop. One of those areas affected by the rising importance of the internet, is the travel industry.
This year the travel industry has seen a 10% rise in the number of bookings completed online. The 10% rise in internet commerce means that this booking channel now counts for 65% of total bookings. ITB believe that in mature travel markets, online booking is close to saturation with a market share of about 70%. With the travel industry seeing such a large rise in internet bookings and almost facing saturation in this area, it means that travel providers need to start providing the best experience possible through their website in order to compete for their share of the saturated market.
Travel industry customer experience
This is where live chat comes in. Travel industry live chat can begin to differentiate the websites which are going to continue to grow and the ones which will lag behind the rest of the market. One of the main reasons for the growth of the online travel industry is, like in many other sectors, the convenience of booking online. As the market saturates though, travellers will look for more than convenience, they will begin looking for sites which offer the best experience.
As competition moves from the high street to digital channels, it’s now more important than ever for online travel operators to ensure customers have the best possible experience across all channels. Live chat means that travel operators can provide high quality customer experience online whilst converting more customers coming to this channel.
There are many possibilities for an online visitor having a poor experience with a travel website. Websites which have outdated designs for example can often be difficult to navigate for both tech savvy and unsavvy holiday-bookers. Even updating the design of a travel industry website doesn't guarantee customers being able to easily browse travel options, select one and buy. Live chat means that someone can be on hand to assist your customers should they get a little stuck.
A customer may really want to purchase a holiday, but if they get stuck, they could simply leave for a competitor if help isn't within easy reach. With the correct live chat strategy, you don't even have to wait for a customer to admit that they are stuck. A proactive live chat invite can engage a lost customer and allow a live chat agent to assist them. The customer is then able to go ahead and book; they also leave with a positive experience and know that your brand is there to help its customers.
Information overload in the travel market
Travel industry live chat also comes in handy for those online shoppers looking for the best location or the best deal. With such a saturated market, full of travel operators and hotel and flight comparison sites, the internet is crammed full of information for potential buyers to read through. Most online shoppers will set out with criteria that need answering and will be willing to jump from one holiday provider to the next to find their answer.
If a potential customer can't find the answer to their question on your site, they'll become a lost customer. Live chat is the perfect way for a site visitor to get their burning travel questions answered. Whether you have the information buried somewhere on your site or not, the live chat agent can easily find an answer and help the visitor to get on their way to booking. Behavioural analysis can even detect people rooting around for information and allow you to quickly provide the information with proactive live chat.
Abandonment at checkout
Did you know that payment issues are a major reason for eCommerce abandonment? According to WorldPay, 11% of basket abandonments are because of a payment being declined. Imagine a customer has found all of the information that they need to book a holiday with you, out of the whole travel industry they have decided that you are their number 1 choice, they are about to go ahead and book their holiday but their card details are rejected. The customer may look around for a contact number to get assistance but if getting a solution isn't simple they'll no doubt just go elsewhere.
If live chat is just a click away at the bottom of the page, with a friendly member of staff on hand, this disaster can be averted time and time again. Now, if a customer faces a problem they don't simply abandon, they just get their problem quickly solved.
Experts in travel industry live chat
How comes you know all about these benefits of live chat for the travel industry? I hear you say.
Because we've got experience in making travel industry websites perform better with live chat. A prime example of some of our fantastic work is the Wasteland Ski website. Wasteland Ski is a leading ski tour operator catering to the 18-30 market. They are originally known for large university tours, but recently began to offer packages to smaller groups.
We used a highly tailored proactive live chat strategy on the Wasteland Ski website in order to start conversations with the site visitors that clearly needed a little help or further information. Wasteland Ski wanted to use live chat to generate more leads on certain parts of their website. Those engaging with live chat talked to our expert UK based agents who used our Explore Identify Match methodology to nurture them as leads (and capture their details) or simply provide them with more information.
75% of our chats resulted in a qualified lead being generated. That equates to about 1020 leads sent across over the course of the first season.
Interested in using live chat on your travel website? Chat with us below to find out more.