Customer service is everything for travel and tourism. In a highly competitive field, business process outsourcing can give you a crucial edge.
The customer is King in all industries, but even more so in the world of travel and tourism. The rise of sites such as Trip Advisor mean poor reviews can go viral and have a devastating impact on a company’s reputation.
The market is becoming more competitive and service quality has never been more important which is why companies need to improve performance, maximise efficiency and control costs wherever they can. If you can do this successfully, you’ll be able to offer better services at a more competitive price to customers. If you can’t, things can get pretty tough.
So how does this feed into business process outsourcing? Much of the focus on travel comes from interactive services and exciting new technologies, but the key to everything often lies in the things you don’t see, buried deep down in the back office.
How a company handles operations, stores data and communicates between departments will often be key to the quality of service it passes on to customers. In a modern, fast paced global travel market, expectations are evolving rapidly and the objectives of businesses have changed. The key today is creating more value in everything you do. Incremental efficiency gains here feed into overall improvements which benefit customers, improve loyalty and bottom line performance.
Below we explore some of the areas it can add value in more detail
Finding the optimum price point is crucial. Travel is becoming more competitive with every company trying to out do others on service and price, but it’s not easy. Competition puts a strain on profit margins, so each organisation needs to understand the ideal point at which to set its prices.
The sweet point you’re looking for is where your price is low enough to offer a competitive advantage, but high enough to ensure profitability. For that you’ll need up to date information about what other companies are charging.
Many companies will not do this due to time and resource constraints, but it can offer a competitive edge. By outsourcing services, you get a team who will do this for you. Because they have numerous specialists capable of working on projects simultaneously, they can offer high levels of accuracy, a quick turnaround and a guarantee that information will be up to date.
Prices and offers can change quickly, which is why this data will need to be constantly refreshed and reviewed within your system to give you an accurate view of the market as it stands. It helps you to identify trends, respond quickly and beat your competitors to the punch
The web dominates the travel industry as the recent struggles of Thomas Cook demonstrate. According to a recent study, nine out of ten people research for their holiday destinations online and 80% book it via the internet.
That means you need all of the information about your properties easily accessible online, together with a clear pathway to make a purchase. If you’re relying on people phoning a call centre to make a booking or find out more, you’ll be missing out on a vast proportion of your potential customers. Today most people want to be able to see all the information and make a purchase on the website.
Speed and convenience are vital and, if you don’t make it quick and simple for customers to make a purchase, they will find someone who can. The task of keeping information about all your properties and destinations fresh and up to date can be onerous but is vital. Again, outsourcing this to specialists ensures this information is accurate and up to date at all times.
Big data has transformed all industries. By 2025, there could be 175 Zettabytes of data, a 61% increase on levels today. Much of this information will reside in the cloud and data centres.
The rise of big data will create a new point of differentiation between companies, namely those capable of capturing and analysing it, and those who cannot.
The task of data management has become much more complicated and time consuming. It’s a problem firstly of volume, but also complexity. Traditionally, most data stored by companies was structured, in other words it was comprised of lists and other clear information which is easy to store and retrieve.
Today, much of the data is unstructured. In other words, it’s hard to categories and store, such as audio files, social media updates. Experts believe that 80% of all data generated could soon be unstructured.
This is a major headache for companies. Data management is increasingly becoming mission critical, but compiling all that data and making sure it is presented in a format which is highly accessible and usable can be impossible in house, which is why companies have to turn to specialist data entry firms.
The specialist expertise they offer ensures speed, accuracy and the ability to capture more data and make it available to your business. This can help you to identify trends, spot opportunities and monitor the performance of your business. The result is better business decisions which drive value into your bottom line.
Outsourcing for success
There are all sorts of functions which travel companies may choose to outsource from sales to payroll and call centres. However, it is in the less visible areas of business that some of the biggest improvements can be made.
The back office is easy to forget about, but evolution here is as vital as anywhere else. The modern world of digitised business is extremely resource intensive. Delivering choice, convenience and the seamless customer service people expect, requires a huge amount of work behind the scenes. Savings and efficiency gains here translate to a better service, more competitive pricing and more revenue.
As we move into the future, the chances are that the best performers will be those who have got the back office in order. By outsourcing to specialist providers, you’ll benefit from the latest technology, skills and experience. You’ll gain capacity you were missing and create a platform from which your staff can drive your business forward into the digital age.