How travel and hospitality brands can win with scalable and intelligent digital experiences

author

James McCormick

August 17, 2022 | 5 min read

Execs must drive intelligent action at an enterprise scale to compete with traveler experiences

In our recent report The Unknown Traveler, we discussed the three key habits adopted by successful travel and hospitality (T&H) firms for driving impactful, human-centered and relevant customer experiences with data. Perhaps the most important habit of the three is ensuring intelligent action at an enterprise scale.

The Unknown Traveler

Insights and advice from ex-Forrester Analyst and VP of Marketing at Contentsquare, James McCormick.

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But why is it important to act at enterprise scales when it comes to the traveler’s digital experience? And what do T&H execs need to consider when enabling their organizations to do this? Let’s take a look…

The case for using intelligent action to scale experiences

We are living in the age of the customer. T&H firms who use advanced insights to deliver the right experiences, to the right traveler, throughout their entire journey can achieve significant market differentiation. In fact, they are 8.5 times more likely to grow their business at rates of 20% or more. They succeed off the back of their highly-evolved businesses which can digitally engage their traveling customers at scale with high-impact, intelligence-driven experiences.

T&H execs should emulate these leaders by optimizing their businesses along two dimensions:

  1. Level of experience intelligence
  2. Scale of action on experience

The two dimensions of a high-impact intelligent digital experience strategy

The two dimensions of a high-impact experience strategy

Three things are needed to drive intelligent action on digital experience at scale

The prize of successful digital transformation and competitive differentiation is too big to ignore; T&H execs must quickly adopt programs that act on digital experience using data and insights.

Specifically, these programs should focus on building three strategic abilities:

  1. Democratize powerful insights with easy-to-consume visual insights
  2. Support a large ecosystem with experience insights
  3. Derive powerful, relevant and high-speed insights with AI

Figure 2: Firms must do 3 things to enable their business to deliver intelligent experiences at scale

3 things T&H firms to deliver intelligent digital experiences at scale

1. Democratize powerful insights with easy-to-consume visual insights

Studies by Harvard Business School show that 70% of the effort involved with a successful digital transformation involves people. Emphasizing the value of insights on experiences is truly unlocked when it’s put into the hands of the product and operational teams who are responsible for online experiences. For some, this may seem obvious, but for many, there are concerns that misinterpretation of data by non-data savvy employees results in bad decisions, actions and ultimately experiences.

To safely put powerful insights into the hands of the people responsible for digital transformation, T&H execs must:

  • Give all teams access to the same customer experience view. Execs must seek to leverage within one platform that distributes a common view of the customer experience.
  • Use easy-to-understand visualizations to share complex experience insights. “Good charts are a great way of crystallizing complex ideas into easily understandable and shareable visuals”, says Scott Berinato, author of the book ‘Good Chart’. The same is true for T&H teams seeking to improve the online travel experience.
  • Generate different insights from the same visitor experiences. Multiple components (e.g. content, design, performance, context, etc.) come together to deliver and impact the traveler’s online experience. T&H teams must use a single platform able to collect and generate insights on all experiential metrics including visitor engagement (with page, content, etc.), API errors, page performance and journey flow.

2. Support a large ecosystem with experience insights

No one product or vendor provides all the digital intelligence capabilities needed to build a world-class tech stack capable of delivering every intelligence experience capability needed by a leading enterprise.

“The modern T&H enterprise needs a large ecosystem of third-party technologies, vendors and processes to deliver intelligent experiences across all digital touch points.” —James McCormick, VP Marketing at Contentsquare

To allow digital experiences to be supported by a large ecosystem of technologies and services, T&H execs must encourage:

  • An open approach to integrating with third-party technologies. Within modern T&H enterprises, any insights gleaned within a CX analytics platform must quickly be shared with third-party systems, such as the system of insights (e.g. web analytics, CRM, and/or CDP platforms) and system of engagement (e.g. personalization, booking and call center platforms).
  • Extensive first-party service offerings. The successful deployment of a sophisticated technology platform needs more than just great tech, it requires extensive first-party support from the technology supplier.
  • A large ecosystem of partnerships with third-party services. Your CX analytics vendor cannot (and nor should it try to) provide all the expertise needed to support an enterprise practice. Make sure your vendor has in place strong partnerships with travel and hospitality system integrators, consultancies, and agencies.

3. Derive powerful, relevant and high-speed insights with AI

Combining experience delivery and sophisticated AI approaches have radically transformed experience practices. T&H firms that get this combination right can deliver highly relevant digital experiences to travelers throughout their journey. While few are getting it right, those that do are gaining sustained market differentiation.

As T&H execs seek to emulate these leaders and boost their CX analytics programs with AI, they must:

  • Develop healthy digital data relationships with customers. Leading firms go beyond minimum regulatory requirements by providing their customers with high levels of transparency and control over their digital data. And combining data with AI, they must deliver perceived value to the customers in the form of inspiring, innovative and inclusive experiences.
  • Include human intelligence in the pursuit of AI. T&H execs must ensure AI oversight over all stages of digital experience delivery. This oversight starts at the company board level. And is properly managed when there is visibility and management of the potential human bias in its application, the right data science skills in place, and CX analytics technology is in place that applies the right AI effectively with guardrails.
  • Favor embedded AI within a vendor-built platform. In 2022, the use of real-time systems infused with AI will increase by 20%. Much of this AI will be embedded in advanced analytics platforms to solve specific problems such as CX analytics. T&H execs must avoid general-purpose AI approaches that have proven to fail. Instead, to gain exceptional ROI quickly, they should implement built platforms such as Contentsquare’s Digital Experience Analytics Cloud with its embedded AI.

Contentsquare helps T&H enterprises drive intelligent action at scale

“Insights from data mean nothing if they fail to result in action—and they have little effect if they are not done at scale.” —James McCormick, VP of Marketing at Contentsquare

Contentsquare supports T&H execs to drive intelligent action on experiences at the scale of the enterprise in three ways:

  1. Contentsquare’s technology leverages artificial intelligence (AI) and the industry’s largest ecosystem to rapidly capture and visualize insights at scale. This helps ensure that the entire organization (including marketing, eCommerce, product, operations, and analytics) is aligned around a common understanding, and empowered to make smarter, faster decisions.
  2. Contentsquare’s T&H solution provides travel businesses a complete picture of travelers’ rapidly changing attitudes and behaviors and their reactions to experiences during a quickly evolving and uncertain travel environment.
  3. Contentsquare’s real-time detailed insights allow travel businesses to optimize the right experiences for the right audience at the right time and create new and innovative experiences for an emerging post-pandemic traveler.

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