Consumers are in an unforgiving mood when it comes to travel.
An alarming 90% of travelers who had a negative interaction with a hotel or airline would not do business with them again unless there was no alternative, according to a new study by Mitto.
And once aggrieved, 30% of those consumers would never fly with that airline and 42% would not stay in that hotel under any circumstances, according to the study.
Airlines should be especially alarmed — 64% of Americans have suffered a recent flight delay, and 55% expect delays during the Labor Day weekend.
The answer (short of reducing delays) is speedy communication. Most brand conversations were conducted in-person or by email in the last year, although 40% prefer SMS during peak travel times. However, only 15% say airlines are offering SMS.
Instant delay notifications by both SMS and email can relieve some of the stress. Interactive email that allows customers to change their flights within the email could be an even bigger help.
And be ready to pick up when people call: 54% do not want to hold for any more than 10 minutes.
On the positive side, 61% of consumers believe that customer support in the travel industry has improved or stayed the same following the most heavily disrupted period of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition, 30% now have higher expectations than they did before. And 30% of flyers say a single positive experience is the most important factor when choosing an airline.
There’s the opportunity.
“Even with 55% of travelers expecting delays during the Labor Day weekend, airlines can still foster positive customer experiences by reconsidering how they communicate with customers," says Andrea Giacomini, CEO of Mitto, adding: "Our research shows quality customer support would create a better experience even in the face of flight delays and other vacation disruptions.”
Meanwhile, 95% travelers have had a positive or neutral experience with a hotel in the past year -- usually provided by helpful representatives (66%) and done in a speedy manner (61%).
And, 46% are prioritizing contactless interactions. For 77%, this means self-service options that allow them message a hotel on an app or via SMS without having to call or walk to the front desk.
Giacomini concludes: "The travel and hospitality industries are uniquely poised to surprise and delight consumers.”