Insider hosted one of its long-expected events in Dubai this week, Insider Digital Travel Day. For the all-day event, customer experience experts from influential brands like Tajawal, Musafir, Travelstart and Air Arabia came together to discuss promising solutions to challenges of the growing travel ecosystem in MENA region. According to travel industry reports from eConsultancy, travel industry in MENA alone will be worth $693.81 billion in 2018. Demographics of the region proves that MENA has witnessed a population boom in the last decade. Newly-acquired residents are the young, highly tech-savvy X generation millennials, who expect advanced-personalized experiences in the digital space. Successful travel businesses gathered at Insider Digital Travel Day to discuss new and smarter strategies that match industry trends and customer expectations, that drive brand growth.
Atish Thapa, Head of Online Business & eCommerce at Musafir, focused on leveraging conversational commerce in digital travel. Conversational commerce is primarily the strategy of creating opportunities to engage with customers in an asynchronous way. Thapa illustrated the strategy with major examples from world’s biggest tech products everyone uses every day like Facebook, Google, Slack, and Shopify. Customers empowerment to chat with brands on messaging apps has been the latest and the most influential development in the field of conversational commerce. According to Statista, more than 90% of customers who own a smartphone use a messaging app like Whatsapp, Messenger, etc. eCommerce brands are using these channels as just another way to build a stronger relationship with the customer and ultimately sell more products. What many see as the next phase in customer interaction, driven by of the huge rise in the use messenger apps. Conversational commerce has enabled brands to deliver assistive and engaging experiences that incorporate customer services in digital. Thapa pointed that they are planning to incorporate conversational commerce to deliver convenience, personalization, and decision support while people are on the go, with only partial attention to spare.
Another topic that was discussed at the all-day event was the issue of optimizing customer experiences on check-out pages. Remo Giovanni, General Manager, Travelstart addressed the issue directly from his perspective as a leading travel website which constantly improves their experiences. Giovanni illustrated Travelstart’s strategy in CX through some of the actions they took on the website through Insider’s all-in-one platform like targeting customers who abandon flight selections or their carts. One of the personalization scenarios Travelstart presented at the event was sending emails to customers that guarantee the currency rate of the day, which persuades customers to make quicker bookings. Travelstart’s talk was especially valuable for attendees as Giovanni presented actionable strategies that were adopted by the brand which produced highly profitable results.
One of the primary challenges of the digital travel industry is increasing ancillary revenues to drive growth. For our attendees at the Insider Digital Travel Day, we drew a 5-step-path to increase ancillary sales in travel. Most simply, the path included steps like defining goals, creating an ancillary revenue branding, selecting leaders to maximize ancillary revenue portfolios and selecting products and services to focus on. The presentation also guided travel brands into understanding different types of customer profiles and specific solutions for airlines, hotels, meta-search engines to increase ancillary revenue.
Overall, Insider Travel Day was a day well spent, sharing the pulse of the digital travel with leading brands and digital consultants sharing challenges faced and solutions improved. Thanks to all the leaders of the travel space for joining us to share their expertise.