Reservations.com is rapidly redefining what a growing segment of the travel market sees as a minimum expectation. Excessive focus on price cuts underpinned the strategy of most larger platforms – evolving to the point where most became incapable of delivering a highly personalized and special experience. But as the global economy improved in recent years, most online travel agencies (“OTAs”) operating at scale are still stuck in a downward spiral of price competition, something that is not helping business owners in the industry, neither travellers who seek a special experience: which is, the bulk of holiday makers. The high touch service offered by Reservations.com is proven to be successful, as we will discuss below.
Enablers to a highly successful platform that customers love:
What Reservations.com does, are used in other industries but none of the larger competitors were capable of deploying it in a unique way, given their rigid business models: The improved customer experience is a result of travel planning which is powered both by human assistance and AI-powered tools for better personalization: all rolled out at scale. This means that as the company takes off in other parts of the world, the same unique model can bring benefit globally.
The core element of human touch backed by technological advancement:
Unlike the mainstream approach where one solution is imposed upon all customers with a rigid online system – Reservations.com relies more on human assistance from the outset. Whereas many companies have high charges for service-related calls, mainly available when people have difficulties later on in their travel, this company has human assistance available right at the outset, when customers start to plan for their next experience.
A return to basics has fuelled strong growth for Reservations.com
Most of the online travel industry has been focused on process automation and an online-first booking experience. The original tenets of customer service have been overlooked in the pursuit of a one-size fits all approach.
As a visionary behind the concept says: “We were focused on filling a fundamental gap in the online travel market when we founded Reservations.com. Inventory selection and ease of use have improved for travellers over the last 20 years. However, customer needs have increasingly taken a back seat as platforms grow to serve the lowest common denominator. We wanted to take a different approach – an approach that focused on bringing the human touch back to the world of online travel. This has enabled us to provide optionality to our customers. They can utilize our online platform, or they can speak to a real human travel concierge 24/7. This has become the foundation of our success” (Yatin Patel, CEO, Reservations.com).
Large-scale personalization and unrivalled loyalty rewards:
To really understand what why the user-experience and business model is so successful, consider how the processes are deployed: going beyond good human support, advanced itinerary planning can now happen at scale. One way in which this is done, is at Reservations.com, a travel concierge will typically have accessed details such as the destination and venue the customer is considering before starting a conversation. It therefore provides a more frictionless approach and better integration of a web/phone experience. But this difference, enabled through a better people/process approach and off course highly trained operators – is a clear win for customer satisfaction.
Enjoying the RClub experience:
Reservations.com has a loyalty program that is hard to compete with: It is called Rclub. It gives members access to travel assistants who tap into their travel preferences to provide a complete planning service: end to end. So if you imagine going to a city and have the entire experience organized by a specialist travel agency, including any tours, dining experiences, road / air travel and other things way beyond just accommodation, well: now it is done online and by phone.
Using a great company culture to spread a new concept of experiential travel across the globe
As a Florida based organization, Reservations.com serves clients globally. Adapting to local markets and having local knowledge is a key feature that can make a global service appealing anywhere. Since local knowledge is what customers want – that is what this company delivers. It has staff with local experience in all the markets it serves. This way, personalization and local knowledge combined, can deliver an exceptional experience irrespective of where travellers are and where they are from. The more people use the platform, the more it learns about their personal preferences – leading to even better recommendations. This is really a “no brainer” as it eliminates the need for guessing when planning a special experience.
Awards and recognitions are streaming in:
Reservations.com is certainly starting to catch up with travel giants such as Expedia, Airbnb and Booking.com, although they are somewhat of a niche provider with a more specific aim. Sticking to their goals with commitment to their values and plan, let to the company quickly earning range of recognitions for what it accomplished. More recently, the CEO, Yatin Patel received an award: being recognized as an Outstanding 50 Asian American in Business. As for the company itself here is a list of recent achievements:
• Reservations.com received a 2019 Central Florida Fast 50 award, a
• Great Place to Work® certification
• 2018 Best in Biz award
• 2017 Bronze Stevie Award for best hospitality and leisure website.
Fans, followers and those who are curious about this rising phenomenon in travel can follow Reservations.com on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.