Picture this: you’re looking forward to a well-earned vacation. But then, your flight is delayed by a few hours, which means you miss your connecting flight. Your dreams of lounging on exotic beaches and soaking up sunshine are momentarily crushed. What do you do?
Many people would take to social media to voice their complaints. In fact, an overwhelming 79% of dissatisfied customers share bad experiences with their tribe, whether that be on social, or at the dinner table.
Airlines and travel companies know this, and they often go the extra mile to keep existing customers satisfied – and attract new ones – by providing remarkable customer experiences.
Here are five travel brands who take the customer experience to new heights – as determined by the Sprinklr Business Index (SBI), which measures and analyzes the breadth of public interactions between brands and consumers across social media.
KLM’s social care team is already known for an efficient, 24/7 quick-response service – it even displays a live countdown on its Twitter header image letting customers know when they can expect a reply. However, it is the company’s ability to create memorable customer experiences that is particularly exceptional.
KLM made headlines in 2015 when it ran a social media campaign, FlightFunding, to send a Dutch woman named Juanita to Canada to meet her grandson for the very first time.
More recently, KLM delighted customers at Christmas time in Amsterdam. Realizing that many Christmas travelers spend their transfer time at the airport alone, KLM decided to surprise its customers with a ‘Bonding Buffet’.
Look up, there’s magic in the air! pic.twitter.com/kN1Zq88qTK
— Royal Dutch Airlines (@KLM) December 23, 2016
This thoughtful gesture – which drove ample positive attention on social – highlighted the spirit of the holidays, and brought travelers together to bond and, gasp, enjoy their time at the airport.
KLM has an overall brand score of 8.0 in the SBI, and an audience insights score of 8.7. The company’s high ranking reflects how it’s providing warm, human experiences on social, on the ground, and in the air.
Qatar Airways is taking business class customer experience to the next level. The airline recently revealed its Business Class QSuite at a travel industry show in Berlin. This marks the first time that a proper double bed has been marketed and sold in a business class cabin. But the company takes it a step further to provide value for customers traveling for work. The QSuite can also be reconfigured into an open work and meeting space. Providing multiple options for configuration appeals to customers looking for privacy or personalization.
Qatar Airways’ was recently rewarded for its unrelenting customer focus. The brand received the prestigious ‘Airline of the Year’ award at the annual Air Transport Awards in March 2017. This award recognizes Qatar Airways’ innovation, service, hospitality and leading product design.
— Qatar Airways (@qatarairways) March 9, 2017
Figures from the SBI indicate that Qatar Airways’ efforts to create exceptional customer experiences are working. Its content insights score is 8.2, placing the brand at the top of content engagement for the aviation industry. Meanwhile, an audience insights score of 9.2 suggests that the brand is in tune with its audience on social – enough to nurture an impressive mass of loyal followers.
Cruise giant Royal Caribbean is branching out to non-cruise ventures for the first time. Its new subsidiary GoBe allows travelers to book private excursions and tours in 97 countries and 896 cities around the world. The process is simple. Users can explore excursions, tours, and activities in locations of their choosing until they find something they like.
On social, GoBe showcases its multitude of destinations through eye-catching visuals accompanied by information. The brand’s slogan, ‘Experience Everywhere’, appeals to the growing number of travelers who seek memorable experiences as opposed to traditional vacations.
Meanwhile, Royal Caribbean is using social to reach Millennials through the World’s Most Adventurous Squad, a contest that puts teams of young travelers through a series of challenges. Run entirely on social, the eventual winners will win three cruises to anywhere in the world that Royal Caribbean sails.
Figures from the SBI make for positive reading. Royal Caribbean receives the majority of its content engagement through visuals, and has a content insights score of 8.7. For this brand, creating memorable customer experiences is plain sailing.
Southwest Airlines has taken an unique approach to creating memorable customer experiences. The airline hosts live, in-flight performances – ranging from music to fashion shows – called Live at 35.
— Southwest Airlines (@SouthwestAir) February 23, 2017
These performances aren’t limited to exclusively passengers – eyewitness footage of concerts is published on social for Southwest’s digital audience to enjoy as well.
Southwest clearly gets it. The airline earned the top customer experience rating for airlines in the 2017 Temkin Experience Ratings. Southwest also performs strongly in the SBI, with a brand score of 7.3 and 90% positive sentiment on social.
Tourism Australia promotes the natural beauty of the “Land Down Under” with one thing in mind – not to sell travel packages; but to sell experiences. This mentality shines through in Tourism Australia’s latest campaign – it’s a place you feel.
To support its promotional efforts, the brand lined up ambassadorial star power in the form of Chris Hemsworth. Thor himself appeared at an event in New York in January, which showcased virtual reality experiences and videos of Australia. Such events create an entirely immersive customer experience.
The Australian actor also featured in Tourism Australia’s campaign advertisement in early 2016.
Tourism Australia excels on social as well. The brand promotes user-generated visual content in weekly roundups and contests such as Australia from Above.
Figures from the SBI indicate that the experience-heavy strategy serves Tourism Australia well. 99% of content engagement comes from visual content. Meanwhile, an audience insights score of 9.6 makes the brand a leader among travel brands.
These travel brands show that when it comes to creating personal and shareable customer experiences, the sky’s the limit. KLM used the element of surprise to maintain its caring reputation. Qatar and Southwest have received accolades that speak to their customer experiences. Meanwhile, Royal Caribbean and Tourism Australia have used social to showcase their stellar and unique experiential offerings.
Creating personal, shareable experiences not only makes customers love your brand more; it also makes it easy for them to spread the word about the incredible experiences your company provides.
The experience is everything for customers, and it is up to brands to provide it.