Oct 30, 2018

5 Travel Pioneers Reimagining the Customer Experience

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Nine out of 10 companies today lose or win business depending on their customer experience, according to a Gartner study.1 We highlight five winning companies using digital technologies to reimagine customer touchpoints and add convenience, personalization and delight to the consumer journey.

1. John Paul: Anticipating Every Desire in Luxury Travel

John Paul combines premium 24/7 digital concierge services with a machine learning CRM to provide innovative loyalty programs for customers and employees. The cutting-edge CRM leverages cognitive technologies to provide robust capabilities in natural language, affinity profiling, 360-degree personalization, and multichannel management. Forbes calls it a “powerful example of potent AI in the predictive algorithms for existing-client interactions, able to understand and know their desires and needs on an acute level.”2

The digital concierge fulfills more than 1 million requests annually, with 15 languages supported for its 50,000 exclusive partners on across five continents.3  In early 2017, John Paul partnered with Allianz Partners to offer its partners and customers a carefree, premium travel experience. With an initial launch in China, combined capabilities enable travelers to access concierge services and global travel protection with assistance from a single point of contact by phone or digitally.

2. Marriott: Pioneering Digital Hospitality & Delight

Marriott International was the first hotel group to offer mobile check-in/checkout under the Starwood brand in 2014, totaling 12 million guests who’ve used it to-date.4 It’s also expanding convenient keyless room entry to over 500 hotels worldwide this year, a technology adopted by many of the big hotel players.5 Marriott’s sleek, redesigned mobile app personalizes and anticipates what guests likely need at the right place, at the right time. The app is packed with desirable services like room upgrade requests, late check-out, and Mobile Requests, where you can chat directly with hotel staff for special requests even in advance of arriving.

While the brand is exploring voice-controlled rooms and services, Marriott’s unparalleled digital innovation is its handful of M Live Studios around the world. Monitoring guests’ social media posts by geo fencing around Marriott’s more than 5,700 properties across the group’s 30 hotel brands, they “surprise and delight” guests and engage in trending social conversations.6 M Live teams have delivered champagne to a newly engaged couple’s room and awarded platinum status to a rewards member who fell just short of qualifying, to her surprise.

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3. Allianz Partners: Evolving Global Travel Protection

A leading global insurance company, Allianz is innovating with new technologies to enable more intelligent and connected consumer lifestyles, from homes and cars to travel and health. Allianz Partners, its subsidiary business, is partnered with many of the world’s largest travel brands and has designed tech platforms to empower the digital traveler. As one example, the TravelSmart™ app uses a geo-aware search to help ill or injured travelers find the closest pre-evaluated hospital in 130 countries, and users can tap to call a 24-hour global assistance hotline.

Eliminating some hassle for customers submitting claims, Allianz Partners was the first travel insurance company to offer full-service mobile filing and claims tracking. Its automated Express Pay platform expedites most claims processing from 30 days to a week or less, if documentation is complete. Customers can receive funds for approved claims within minutes or hours on debit cards thanks to Mastercard SEND™. Also, the company has started to introduce smart benefits with proactive claim payments, which sends customers instant, fixed payments when travel disruptions such as qualifying flight delays occur. Compared to an average Net Promoter Score of 48 in the insurance industry, a customer-first culture contributes to Allianz Partners’ NPS score of 76.7

4. Tesla: Reinventing Car Buying

This innovation company is bringing space travel, solar power, and self-driving cars into the mainstream. Tesla visionary Elon Musk has reimagined the auto industry’s traditional business model by providing an exceptional in-house sales and customer service experience. It starts with an Amazon-like car buying process with robust online self-service tools, including transparent financing. New car delivery, car pickup for service repairs, and remote overnight software updates make owning a Tesla extremely convenient.8

Tesla showrooms reinforce the brand’s customer-centric approach, featuring coffee bars, free WiFi access and open service bays that display the automaker’s craftsmanship. The company is doubling the number of its electric supercharger stations across the U.S. and Europe in 2017, enabling greater public adoption of electric car ownership.9 Following the largest product launch of all time with its Model 3, Elon Musk projects an annual production of 700,000 cars and overall annual revenue for the Model 3 of more than $30 billion per year.10

5. Klook: Rethinking the Tours Supply Chain

Unlike traditional OTAs offering flights and hotels, Klook is a one-stop shop for destination activities serving Asia-to-Asia travelers. By working directly with operators, it offers up to 50% off discounts at more than 10,000 attractions, tours, and activities in 80 cities across Asia Pacific.11 Klook has recreated the supply chain at an epic scale and is evolving into an in-destination service app, including local transfer options and WiFi device rental. It plans to expand into restaurants, wellness, and shopping.12

Klook’s well-designed site UI and app experience takes only a few clicks or taps to book a wide range of peer-reviewed tours and activities. Consumer conveniences include WeChat for trip planning and Apple Pay at checkout. It’s also exploring virtual reality or 360-degree travel videos to make activity planning more experiential. The 3-year-old startup recently raised $30 million and booked over 5 million trips in 2016 within the fast growing, 3rd largest travel segment worth $135 billion globally.13 Klook has already launched in Australia and is eyeing expansions in Europe and the U.S.

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Terms, conditions and exclusions apply.
Insurance benefits underwritten by BCS Insurance Company or Jefferson Insurance Company, depending on your state of residence.  Plan(s) only available to U.S. residents and may not be available in all jurisdictions. Allianz Global Assistance and Allianz Travel Insurance are brands of AGA Service Company.  AGA Service Company is the licensed producer and administrator of these plans and an affiliate of Jefferson Insurance Company. The insured shall not receive any special benefit or advantage due to the affiliation between AGA Service Company and Jefferson Insurance Company. Non-insurance benefits/products are provided and serviced by AGA Service Company. Consumer is responsible for charges incurred from outside vendors for assistance or concierge services. Contact AGA Service Company at 800-284-8300 or 9950 Mayland Drive, Richmond, VA 23233 or customerservice@allianzassistance.com.



Citations:

1. “Gartner Surveys Confirm Customer Experience Is the New Battlefield,” Gartner, 2015
2. “10 Powerful Examples Of Artificial Intelligence In Use Today,” Forbes, 2017
3. AccorHotels Group website
4. “Marriott Reimagines Its Mobile App To Meet The Needs Of Modern World Travelers,” Marriott.com, 2017
5. “The Current State of Keyless Entry at Big Hotel Brands,” Skift, 2016
6. “Inside Marriott’s social-media command center…”, Quartz.com, 2017
7. Official NPS® Benchmarks website, Insurance category
8. “Customer Experience Best Practice: Tesla the Disruptive,” Nunwood.com, 2016
9. Tesla will double number of Supercharger stations in 2017,” CNBC.com, 2017
10. “Tesla Model 3: Tesla is now holding close to $700 million in customer deposits,” Electrek.co, 2016
11. “Klook Raises $30 Million for Attractions Search,” Skift.com, 2017
12. “Klook raises $30M for its Asia-focused travel activity platform,” TechCrunch.com, 2017
13. Tours & Activities Come of Age: The Global Travel Activities Marketplace, Phocuswright, July 2017

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