Who Will Win the Travel Agent v Technology Battle?

Travellers Prefer People Power When Things Go Wrong

A one size fits all solution to customer experience isn’t good enough because our preferred method of engagement changes depending on what stage we are at in our journey.”
— David Turner, CEO Webhelp UK, India and SA

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM, August 2, 2017 /EINPresswire.com/ --

• 81% of people book travel online or via a mobile app
• 79% of people want to resolve a travel issue with a person while they are travelling

We may book our travel online but when things go wrong we hanker after the human touch, according to new research conducted by leading global customer experience expert, Webhelp.

A survey of 500 UK consumers revealed that a whopping 81% of us say we tend to book our travel online or via a mobile app and 77% of us book our main holiday using an electronic device. These figures get even higher when you look at particular segments of the market, with 93% of 18-24s, 90% of 35-44s and 88% of people earning more than £40k pa, opting to book their travel online or via a mobile app.

But when things go wrong with our travel plans we turn our backs on technology, according to the survey data.

If we need to make changes to a booking or have a problem before our journey starts we begin to reject the robots and prioritise the personal touch. Overall 67% of people surveyed said they would prefer to resolve a travel issue that occurred before their journey started by telephone or face to face. The human touch is even more important for the over 65s, with 81% of them choosing the telephone or face to face options.

Once our journeys have begun, we are even more inclined to ignore the internet as a means of solving our travel issues. 79% of people said they would prefer to solve an issue that occurred while they were travelling by telephone or face to face. That figure goes up to 90% for the 55-64s and 84% for people in the top income bracket (more than £40k pa).

The survey data reveals our dependence on our devices to resolve issues while we are travelling varies according to the nature of the problem. If we experience problems with our onward connections or our baggage goes missing, 81% of us opt for face to face or telephone contact to resolve things. Missing baggage is also the time when face to face contact is most important, with 47% of people choosing this option, with 34% of people preferring to use the telephone. This figure may be influenced by the convenience of airports having desks dedicated to solving these problems.

The more time sensitive a problem is, the less likely it seems we are to trust technology. When the issue is a missed flight, train, bus or ferry, then 85% of us want to resolve the problem with a person, either face to face or on the phone.

David Turner, CEO of Webhelp UK, India and SA, said: “As far as the battle between travel agents and technology when it comes to travel bookings is concerned, there is no competition. Across all segments of the population, the vast majority of people prefer to purchase their travel via an electronic device, with only 23% of people preferring to book face to face or on the phone. The group most likely to want to book with a person are the over 65s, but even in this group 57% of them take the technology route.

“However, when it comes to sorting out problems or making changes to bookings people are quick to ditch their devices. The swing to people power is most pronounced when the issues are time sensitive, such as missed journeys. In this situation 85% of people prefer to deal with a person.

“This clearly illustrates how important it is for travel companies to ensure they have a customer experience solution that addresses a variety of situations. A one size fits all solution isn’t good enough because our preferred method of engagement changes depending on what stage we are at in our journey.”

http://www.webhelp.com/en-gb/news-insights/news/travel-agent-v-technology/

ENDS

Press information:
Heather Astbury, head of PR at Webhelp, on +44(0)7825 593242 heather.astbury@uk.webhelp.com

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About Webhelp
Global customer experience and business process outsourcing expert Webhelp, offers a multi-channel and multi-lingual network of more than 35,000 advisers worldwide. With turnover trebled in five years to reach 886 million at the end of 2016, the group is experiencing the fastest growth of any business in its sector.

More than 500 clients trust Webhelp with the management and optimisation of their dedicated customer relationship solutions, both for management devices (customer service, technical support) and for acquisition and retention solutions, as well as for operational consultancy.

In contact with more than 500,000 consumers each day, Webhelp partners with its clients in the design and improvement of the customer journey, as well as in the deployment of tailor-made solutions, through the capture and analysis of multi-channel data.

Webhelp is a socially responsible company that invests in its human capital. The respect and development of employees and equal opportunities are key elements of the group's CSR commitment. Webhelp has been owned by its management and KKR, a major investment fund on an international scale, since March 2016.

Heather Astbury
Webhelp UK
+447825593242
email us here