Executive Perspectives: The Changing Nature of Customers: A Travel and Entertainment Perspective

Measurement is a necessity in every industry, and the travel and entertainment industry is no different. In fact, measurement might be even more important for brands offering travel accommodations and entertainment experiences, since data tracking, synthesis, and management is paramount where customer interaction is involved. Brands that have to deliver exciting experiences and comfortable facilities must operate fastidiously if they are to meet customer desires, especially given that these desires might be affected by minute details.

According to Don Smith, Chief Analytics Officer & Senior Managing Director of Strategy at Brierley + Partners, “Entertainment and travel are potential passion categories for customers, and brands need to place emphasis on changes in emotional connection and loyalty scores. Brands that are the most successful at fostering emotional loyalty are the ones that deliver highly personalized messages and experiences. The best loyalty programs in these categories continually find ways to augment their core value propositions with new benefits and exclusive access to curated experiences.”

However, the adoption of mobile technologies in the travel and entertainment environment has changed customer expectations. When customers go to live events like concerts or sports games, they expect to be able to show tickets for entry on their cell phones, and when they head to their hotels afterwards, they want to be able to check in online. In addition, they expect that venue apps will provide them with event updates and perhaps even include diversions to entertain them while they spend time waiting in-line, between innings, or during an extended call on the field.

Customers form these expectations because of brands operating in the vanguard of other industries, who use mobile technology in interesting and innovative ways. Thus, the bar for the travel and entertainment industry is set not just by those within the industry, but also by those who are excelling and benchmarking across markets.

Because of these expectations, travel and entertainment brands have to operate differently. They need to be prepared to engage with customers through a digital-first presence, and that presence needs to be exciting and differentiated. They need to make the booking experience convenient and easy, and they need to make accommodations as comfortable as possible for each price level. They also need to expect and adapt to customers who will pay attention to small issues or whose preferences might change last minute. On top of all this, they need to listen to their customers, accept fault with service level failures, and address customer concerns and grievances. If they don’t, such grievances can have deleterious impacts on customer experience and long-term loyalty.

To help brands address these changing expectations, Loyalty360 speaks with senior-level marketing representatives across a range of industries. In doing so, we identify best practices that brands can adopt to improve growth and revenue. In one of our recent discussions, we noticed several concepts emerging that are especially important to travel and entertainment brands. Overall, the ideas we discussed with travel and entertainment representatives reflect the need to employ a range of measurement practices to maintain consistency and to retain customers and keep them loyal. Here, we present an overview of these ideas and the quotes on which this overview is based. 

Click the green button to download the full report.