Travelling is constantly getting faster, cheaper and in many cases also more convenient. No matter which means of transportation, type of accommodation, or quality of dining we prefer, it is often simple to make bookings, check timetables, and order additional services. Can you mention one transportation company or hotel chain, which doesn't have their own easy-to-use app, as well as a members' club which allows you to personalise their service offering? If you can, they are probably not in business any longer.
One journey, many providers
So travelling is as easy as it can get? Definitely not. The fundamental problem most companies in the travel industry are facing is the fact that they are just controlling a fraction of a traveller's journey. I recently counted how many different transportation companies I was directly in touch with during a normal day of business travelling. I started off in the morning by checking the public transport timetable through an app, and taking a train to the airport. At the airport I used the boarding pass from the airline's app, but then I turned to the airport app to stay updated on boarding information. When arriving at the destination I used a maps app to see where I should instruct the taxi driver to take me, and finally I switched to a hotel app for check in. Five different transportation providers, and five different apps, just to get from my home to a hotel!
Stepping out of the silos
Most business travellers are busy travellers, and they tend to value an efficient journey. This means a strong focus on the Time and Effort component of the Six Pillars of Customer Experience Excellence. Many transport providers have realised this, and provides efficient options for those who want to pay a premium or who are preferred customers. All business airlines have fast-tracks, priority boarding and faster luggage handling for frequent flyers and business class passengers. But almost all enhancements are done within their own segment of a customer's journey. However, true improvements happen when the segments are linked, and the customer experience is an efficient end-to-end travel journey. An example of this is a larger airline, who has introduced chauffeur service at several of their destinations, which is easily booked through a click in their app. This allows passengers to be picked up at their address of choice, taken to the airport, and upon landing also driven to their hotel. The means of transportation is changing, but it is controlled by one single provider using one app, and it is a service which is very much appreciated by their customers.
The future is a seamless journey
The popularity of end-to-end travel services indicates that this is something we will see much more of in a near future. Whether this will be solved through horizontal integration by existing transport providers, or by a new layer of transport integrators on top of existing infrastructure, remains to be seen. But one thing is certain, busy travellers will select the most effortless options so they can focus on more important matters than travel coordination. And the transportation companies who can best take care of a traveller's complete journey will have a bright future ahead.
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