Photo: Depositphotos

The last year has changed the way the world operates, and obviously, the travel industry has been impacted significantly. Now that 2020 is behind us, the industry has been reignited, with the demand for travel soaring to new heights.

If you’ve flown recently, you would have noticed that airports are once again full of life. All types of travelers are taking to the skies and the road in search of much-needed adventure and relaxation.

Travelers embarking on their first trip since 2020 will notice that many aspects have changed significantly. Like public transpiration and dining out, much of the travel-related services have become digitized, and the human element has been removed.

While there is no denying benefit of new safety measures that are now here to stay, the human element is still an essential part of the travel experience and should be retained wherever possible.

Travel has changed & some changes are here to stay

Masks on planes and public transportation, QR code dinner menus, touchless pay, and other new, safe policies have become institutionalized around the world as reopening continues. While many precautions that were instituted in 2020 are no longer relevant in 2021, many of them are here to stay.

It’s likely that, on some level, contactless transactions and QR codes will remain as they offer a convenient replacement for sharing information. While many of these new COVID-safe policies will outlast the current stage, some will fade away into history. For example, contactless check-ins in the luxury hotel sector are sure to become optional as hotel guests yearn for genuine hospitality.

Understanding the facts

Early in 2020, businesses scrambled to sanitize and socially distant practically all aspects of normal interaction. Many of these policies proved incredibly effective, while some, however, were merely precautionary.

It’s since been revealed that socially distant policy reign supreme compared to “contactless solutions.” So, what does that mean for the travel industry? It means that the “new normal” where technology has all but replaced human interaction in the hospitality industry isn’t permanent.

According to John Smallwood, President of Travel Outlook, “Aspects of the new normal are here for good, but it is not necessary to eliminate human interaction in the hospitality industry across the board. Many high-end travel experiences still retain the human interaction, albeit with a newfound precaution.”

The downside of digital

Even before the unfathomable events of 2020, the world was on its way to a digital existence. Cashless and contact-free purchases were increasing around the globe, and it was clear that an aspect of customer service was lost in the transition.

Contrary to what you may believe, many customers in the hospitality industry prefer a human interaction, which is why many hotels are seeing a rise in the use of their voice channels. Retaining a personal touch in the hospitality industry is critical to maintaining the level of service your customers are used to having. Additionally, a personal contact, like what you get from using a professionally trained hotel call center, will help establish your business as a service-oriented brand.

Today, personal interaction is the hallmark of a luxury experience

As we enter into a new age of travel, personal interaction is becoming synonymous with luxury travel experiences. Hotels, cruise lines, and airlines have reserved human-to-human interaction for the top-tier services they offer. While drink and food services on airlines have been halted, first-class services remain.

If you’re checking into an upscale or luxury hotel, you’ll find a friendly customer service representative who maintains social distance while providing a premier travel experience through excellent customer service.

While travel has changed exponentially in the last year, it’s clear that travelers haven’t. Regardless of whether travelers are expecting a luxury experience or not, they want a personal interaction.

In a world of QR codes and contactless services, a human element goes a long way. Implementing a personal interaction back into your business model doesn’t have to breach your new safety protocols. It could be as simple as ramping up your voice channel by implementing a professional hotel call center to handle your reservation department.

About Travel Outlook The Premier Hotel Call Center™

Given its progressive approach to the voice channel – in terms of performance, training, transparency, testing and the tools used to measure performance – Travel Outlook The Premier Hotel Call Center™ is the leading voice reservations team in hospitality. Travel Outlook's valued client list includes Viceroy Hotel Group, Curator, Outrigger, KSL Resorts, Proper Hospitality Group, Pacific Hospitality Group, Atlantis, The Irvine Company, Catalina Island, and many others. Travel Outlook's team and approach increases sales conversion and helps to create more effective voice communication between hotels and their guests, resulting in improved social scores in addition to increased voice channel revenue.

Raul Vega
President - LEVEL 5 Hospitality
Travel Outlook