By Lee Adams, Senior Manager – KIT.

The latest phase of easing the UK lockdown, albeit slightly differently across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, has witnessed what seems like millions of people trying their best to arrange hair appointments while tens of thousands are basking in the enjoyment of drinking and eating in outdoor venues. Before long, people will be hoping to attend sporting events with millennials preparing to return to nightclubs, but what about summer 2021?

Holidays in England and Wales have resumed, with specific guidelines. The introduction of a traffic light system, as early as 17 May 2021, will replace the current ban on international travel. But holidaymakers will first need to decide if they will be holidaying at home or abroad. The travel market hopes that holidaymakers will travel everywhere and anywhere to help get the sector up and running again. However, being both reactive and proactive to meet customer needs may well be the industry’s deal clincher.

Knowing your customer and offering a personalised service

For those planning a staycation, the number one challenge will be sourcing a holiday in an overcrowded market. Still, the sector is already adapting and offering more choice, such as cruise holidays that follow the UK coastline. For those hoping to travel overseas, there is the added complexity of Covid control measures in individual countries and regions, not to mention the airlines making commercial decisions about when to fly and reopen routes. Adaptability may be vital in being able to have that overseas break.

What better way to adapt than understanding every customer’s past experiences and individual preferences to create a more personalised offering? Do they prefer luxury hotels or basic accommodation? Are they adventurous and willing to try new destinations and experiences, or regular visitors to the same place? With more customers than ever wanting a well-deserved holiday, is it time for the travel sector to embrace the technology that will make the process seamless and pain-free?

As we have seen across other retail sectors, this personal service can be delivered whether sat alongside the customer or remotely in a video call, providing a service that truly differentiates the experience. Add to this the mixture of additional ingredients routinely used that make up a holiday package – travelling to the destination from the same station or airport, car parking, changing currency, and many other items to make it easy. Armed with this information, travel agents can create a profile of customer preferences and develop and offer packages based on likes and dislikes. Consider also the opportunities to loop in partners – customers will be able to order holiday money and collect from the airport or destination, pre-order and collect sun creams and even discover the latest deals on swimwear and sunglasses.

Knowing the customer’s lifestyle, budget, interests and even where they shop will help build a profile that will inform retailers who can then provide all available offers and options. This technology is real, available, and used across many different retail sectors. The travel sector can get ahead of the game by introducing this technology such as KIT, which is proven worldwide to help Store Associates drive more sales whilst enhancing the brand. This approach to personalising experiences is known as Clienteling, allowing businesses to be proactive, learning and adapting to customers. Then, they are ideally placed to offer a range of choices that exactly meet their preferences – both home and away.