Travel brands must provide personalized experiences that give users the content they want, the way they wanted, and when they want it. Following what your competition is doing is not an option.

Here’s a guide on how to start building a personalized experience for your customers.

For today’s traveler, the amount of travel options are huge. Modern travelers don’t trust the first option they find. They are especially suspicious of anything that looks like advertising. Only companies that excel in personalization have a chance to stand out.

83% of US travelers expect travel brands to send relevant information and products based on their previous behaviors.

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Before you get to work on implementing popular features like virtual reality or bots, you must first understand your customer’s interactions that occur across experiences with your service. Users are searching for inspiration at your website, booking a flight, chatting with a travel agent, talking with the person at the frontdesk, or receiving a rewards program through email.

This is not an easy task for the travel industry. But following these guideline will help you start building a more personal connection with your customers. It will improve your organization process, too.

Service Mapping to Achieve Personalization

Service Mapping (aka, Blueprinting) is a UX Design method to discover the ideal paths customers will follow and the touch points they have with your service. This method helps you to visualize how the customer interactions are aligned with your service and if they are coherent with your backstage operations.

In other words, it maps the relationship you have with your customers. Knowing this you can predict what users will need and provide them a personalized experience.

1. Collect Customer Data

Find out what is relevant for your customers, past behaviors and what they think about you.

You probably already have data collected such as web analytics, user reviews, beacons, profile data, marketing reports, customer service, surveys, etc. All of those help, but the most efficient way to get insights is talking with your customers in one-on-one interviews.

Find patterns in your data behaviors and define a scenario that you are attempting to map. For example, if you are a hotel, you can start by mapping the “room service experience” if you have a lot of complains in that area.

2. Map Your Service

Imagine a line of visibility in your service. What the customers can see is the front stage, where they interact with your staff. The backstage is what is invisible to the user, the operations that make the front stage happen.

Map your service as a timeline. Document what a customer does before, during, and after the service. Write down which are the customer’s key behaviors in each step of the journey.

After that, do the same thing with the backstage. Write down what needs to happen in your organization to keep up with your customers’ needs.

3. Recognize Your Opportunity Areas

Gather a multidisciplinary team across your organization to start the discussion. Once you visualize the customer journey, look for critical moments, both positive or negative.

You need to discover what customers are thinking and how are they feeling. Highlight areas of greatest opportunity, where customers feels confused, worried, or excited. This will allow you to dive deep and address organizational pains in your internal process as well as with the customer experience.

4. Insights

Analyze your opportunity areas and group them into themes according to business and customer value.

Fill on-demand needs with ideas for improvement. Brainstorm with your team how to fix each theme. The key is to write down ideas quickly. Identify new ways to create meaningful improvements to your internal process such as reduced costs and efficiency, as well as your business goals that align with travelers.

5. Take Action!

Having a multidisciplinary team involved will help you see the impact of the fixes you identified. It will also help to prioritize the workload in terms of resources. Now, plan for the future and map an ideal path that a user should follow. Identify projects and owners actions that will be needed to make the future a reality with specific owners and actions.

At the end of this activity, you will discover your services’ underlying factors that will help you build a personalized experience for your travelers.

Upcoming Webinar on Personalization

If you’d like to know more about this topic be sure to register for our free webinar “How Service Mapping leads to personalized trips” on April 27th at 11:00 am PST.

We can facilitate this workshop in your organization.

If you have any questions, you can send me a line at dgutierrez@nearsoft.com.