Guest Post: Don’t allow today’s travellers to miss their connections

Guest Post: Don’t allow today’s travellers to miss their connections

Bill McKimm, VP Travel of eSIM Go, shares how to unlock the truly connected traveller experience

Traveller expectations are continuously evolving and the travel sector is changing with it. Personalisation, fast feedback, consistency of brand behaviour and seamless cross-device experiences are becoming standard requirements among travellers, along with having their needs anticipated. It’s a constant learning process.

The glue that binds all of this together is connectivity. Travellers like to be very well connected. A survey by the IATA revealed that 60 percent of international passengers use social media when they travel. The most digitally connected are Gen Z, spending an average of 10.6 hours per day online, and other generations aren’t far behind. Typical consumers embrace technology and expect seamless digital experiences and efficient interactions. The travel industry – especially airlines, airports and OTAs – needs to enable that connected traveller by enhancing their online experience wherever they are.

The fundamental issue is that these connected travellers expect high quality digital and mobile experiences, whether travelling for business or leisure, without the added expense of high data roaming charges that can reach thousands of dollars per trip. 

It’s been this way for well over a decade, but it’s taken the comparatively recent widespread adoption of eSIM-compatible smartphones and tablets to arm travel brands with the means to solve the problem and champion their customers’ cause. 

In doing so, they not only create a new ancillary revenue stream by selling low-cost, affordable mobile data bundles tailored to travel destinations, but also a valuable new touchpoint and channel for communicating with travellers. By understanding what they want and personalising their experiences accordingly there are also upsell and cross-sell opportunities. 

Many airport, airline and OTA partners choose to brand this capability as their own because they view adding a mobile connectivity offer to a travel booking as a conduit to more than just revenue. It’s about bundling that connectivity with other products and digital channels and providing targeted complementary services and solutions when customers need them the most.

Practically every part of the customer journey can be personalised online. Whether it’s language, currency or payment information, or communication preferences, these are the first step in personalising the traveller experience. The next level is targeting specific offers and presenting the traveller with relevant marketing, deals and promotions.  

This level of engagement builds brand loyalty but travellers see this as more than a transactional way to earn points and rewards. The connected traveller doesn’t want to see services only for a brief period, they want to be understood and supported throughout their journey – from ticketing to travelling to checking in and out and everything in between. Travel brands must be more conscious of what’s important to each traveller, whether that’s flight updates, localised news, deals on family trips out or local car hire. This means putting insights into action to deliver experiences and offers that reflect customer preferences. Personal commerce, or effectively creating a one-to-one experience unique to each customer, builds stronger customer relationships leading to deeper, longer lasting loyalty.

Consumers have become accustomed to on-demand servicing options and mobile-first approaches for everything — whether ordering a takeaway or booking tickets for a gig – and they expect the same when they travel. Brands today are investing in partnerships across the travel journey to simplify processes for customers and provide options for easy access to great service, and ultimately consumers are going to benefit.

With smart targeting and personalised experiences, in the right place, at the right time, the travel industry and associated brands can maximise business potential by satisfying travellers who need to be constantly connected.

One of the most neglected portions of a journey is during a brand’s engagement with the consumer during the post-purchase stage. This stage may not produce immediate and quantifiable results but travel brands should realise that the quality of engagement is important and all part of growing a customer’s lifetime value.  

We’ve moved on from the traditional idea of what travel means with a one size fits all holiday package. Travellers seek authenticity and uniqueness, with experiences that their family and friends may not have thought of, and travel brands need to engage with this. Today’s traveller is tech savvy and well researched and they want to make their own choices. eSIMs and the benefits of embedded connectivity provide businesses with a fresh perspective and a gateway to this market. 

With travellers connected throughout their journey, eSIMs keep communication channels open and enable brands to engage with users wherever they are. We’ve seen an increase in the number of businesses creating their own branded travel eSIM offerings, both in the travel space with the likes of Icelandair, Wizz Air, Fraport and Sydney Airport, but also with brands like Western Union from the financial services industry.

In a post-pandemic world, travel has changed forever and with immediacy and inspiration now essential for a new generation of upwardly mobile travellers. Enabling these travellers to realise this desire will greatly enhance brand perception and perceived travel value. Getting ahead of this desire to become the customer champion will leave a long and lasting positive sentiment, something that is becoming harder to find in an increasingly fragmented global economy.