In a travel industry increasingly populated by online competitors, anything you can do to improve your customer service and stand out from the crowd gives your business an edge. One thing you can do to enhance your customer’s experience is to help make sure they’re fully prepared for their trip. An American Society of Travel Agents study found that 63 percent of travel agency customers feel that working with an agent improves the overall travel experience. The study found that 66 percent of travellers surveyed say relying on agents’ knowledge helps them avoid costly mistakes. Among travellers who book online, 47 percent say they would consider using a travel agent again if it would help them avoid mistakes and save money. Here are three simple steps you can take to help ensure that your travel clients have a smooth trip and a satisfying customer experience.
Assist with Identifying Cell Phone Network Options
For many travellers, one of the biggest anxieties is concern over being cut off from their cell phone. Travellers now consider their mobile phone their most indispensable travel item, an Expedia survey found. Six in 10 global travellers would be unwilling to travel without their smartphone. Over half say they would feel lost without it.
You can help ease this anxiety by helping your travel clients make sure they’ll have access to a cell phone network when they reach their destination. For domestic travelling, this may be as simple as verifying that your client’s wireless carrier covers their destination. If not, or if your client is travelling abroad, they have a few other options. Switching to a network with superior coverage such as a 4G LTE network may be one solution. Make sure your client is aware of their carrier’s roaming fees.
If your client is planning on using a different network than their regular network, they may need to get their phone unlocked. For international travel, your client should also check whether their phone will physically work at their destination, since different countries use different technologies and frequencies, advises travel blogger Matthew Kepnes. GSM is the most common cellular technology, but CDMA is also used by some U.S. carriers, and may not work internationally. Clients should also look for the words “quad band” or the bands 850/900/1800/1900 MHz to ensure they can receive and send calls, texts, and data.
If your client finds their phone won’t work, they still have a few options. They can limit themselves to Wi-Fi, buy a budget or disposable smartphone, rent a phone from a source such as an airport, use a portable hotspot device, or use a tablet with cellular capabilities.
Provide Travel Advisory App Suggestions
Another anxiety travellers face is not being sure how to get where they’re going. While GPS and navigation apps can go a long way toward alleviating this concern, conditions can arise that are not reflected in online maps. For instance, a road may be closed or restricted due to construction, weather conditions, or accidents.
Apps such as Waze can help your clients deal with these issues. Waze relies on crowdsourced information to provide drivers with real-time road and traffic updates about road hazards, traffic jams, and other developing conditions.
Offer Weather Preparation Tips
Another practical concern for travellers is how to prepare for weather conditions at their destination. Dressing properly for the weather can make the difference between a fun trip and a miserable experience.
One way travel agents can help clients deal with this issue is by recommending resources that provide information about weather conditions and appropriate dress. For instance, the What to Wear Weather Free app includes not only weather updates, but also images of appropriate clothing to wear given current weather conditions. Having your client install an app such as this well ahead of their trip can help them get a better sense of how they need to prepare to be comfortable at their destination. Apps such as PackPoint can even suggest a complete custom packing list for your client based on the details of their trip.
Helping your client secure cell phone coverage, anticipate travel conditions, and prepare for their destination’s weather are three ways you can help travellers enjoy a smoother trip. By making these extra efforts to ensure a positive travel experience, you can increase your clients’ satisfaction, as well as the odds that they’ll want to use your services again for planning their next trip.