While payment cards and travel are going through a revolution, new research shows 93% of travelers said that despite digital advances in the travel industry, the value of personal service cannot be replaced.
American Express Travel also found 83% of Millennials place a premium on personalization and are willing to have brands track their habits in exchange for a more bespoke experience.
The recent study, which surveyed more than 1,000 consumers on their attitudes toward travel, found that people are placing an even higher premium on the experiences they enjoy through travel:
• 82% said they are more interested in making memories than making money;
• 85% say they plan to travel as much, if not more, for leisure in the next five years; and
• 91% would rather focus on meaningful life experiences over their profession.
When it comes to planning an epic adventure, travelers have a me-centric mindset and want to be involved in all aspects of the trip ” from preparing an itinerary to documenting and sharing their experiences with others. In addition, travelers are not looking for a cookie-cutter experience: the vast majority of respondents (85%) said that a customized itinerary is far more appealing than a pre-packaged one, and 72% would spend more time planning a trip that is tailored to their interests. Additionally, 90% of respondents say they appreciate the efforts of a travel professional to customize an experience based on their preferences.
Contrary to the perception that technological advances can replace human customer service, the study’s results show that the personal touch remains critical, with 93% saying they feel the value of personal service cannot be replaced despite digital advances in the travel industry. This is especially true for moments when something goes awry. Eighty-nine percent said they also want human assistance for cancelled flights or lost luggage, and 53% said they want it for getting an insider scoop on a destination.
Travelers do note, however, that they prefer to use technology for certain aspects of their trip:
• When it comes to booking flights and hotels, 76% of respondents said they turn to technology;
• 73% noted they will use the Web for researching places to go for leisure travel
• 60% will use tech features to check in to flights or hotels
• Nearly half (47%) of respondents and 65% of Millennials say the ability to share their travels experiences on social media adds to the enjoyment of the trip.
As evidenced by this new research, high-touch personal service will be a critical component of the optimal travel experience, which is why, as part of its 100th anniversary celebration, American Express Travel is launching a new campaign celebrating Journeymakers – the travel service professionals whose commitment to human connection and service help make travel more memorable.
American Express Travel has created a digital experience at www.journeymakers.com where consumers are invited to share their own stories and recognize the Journeymakers they have met through their travels. Travel partners, such as Delta Air Lines and Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc., are also participating by sharing their own stories on the Journeymakers hub. The platform also lets travelers show their appreciation by sending a personalized, printed note to a Journeymaker, which will be delivered to the Journeymaker by using a map technology powered by TripAdvisor. Additionally, visitors are encouraged to share their Journeymaker moments with a social postcard that can be used on their own social media platforms.
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