Survey insights for UK travel agencies: how consumers want to shop

Ben Abbitt
by Ben Abbitt

How do customers want their experiences to be managed within travel agencies…

To understand how Qudini can help our travel clients at this important time, we sought to understand which of our four key Retail Choreography tools customers wanted to see within travel agencies to better manage their experience. So we surveyed customer opinions on:

  • Virtual Queuing Systems: To manage store capacity and to enable customers to queue virtually using their phone or through a host with a tablet.
  • Appointment Scheduling Software: To enable customers to schedule store visits and in-person service or virtual service 24/7 from any channel.
  • Contactless Collection Check-in: To enable customers with online orders to check-in when they arrive at store so that store teams bring their order to them outside of the store.

How do customers want their experiences to be managed within travel agencies…

Customer priorities of these tools specific to travel agencies were as follows:

For Millennial and GenZ customers:

1. Store appointments (12%)

2. Virtual queuing (9%)

3. Virtual appointments (9%)

4. Contactless online order collections (6%)

 

For Baby Boomer customers:

1. Store appointments (10%)

2. Virtual appointments (8%)

3. Virtual queuing systems (5%)

4. Contactless online order collection (3%)

 

Overall, consumers earning between £50k and £100k where the most likely to want Retail Choreography tools at travel agencies, with the exception of virtual appointments.

Female consumers were more interested in all solutions than males, with the exception of contactless collection which was equal across both genders.

When asked why customers would find virtual queuing and appointment booking software useful within retail stores during the pandemic, it was clear that most customers felt the solutions could alleviate their health concerns, alongside their concerns around wasted time, poor weather conditions, lack of information and fair process.

 

What impact would using these solutions have on travel agency customer spend, advocacy and loyalty?

The survey responses also indicate that travel agencies who use any of these five solutions to choreograph their customers’ experience stand to gain significantly through improved revenues and brand relationships across channels.

This is particularly prevalent amongst Millennial and GenZ customers where an average of 77% state that the solutions would positively impact their interactions with retailers in one or more of the following ways:

 

Could Covid-19 be a catalyst for a new era of omni-channel travel agencies?

Our survey found that Millennial and GenZ customers are 3-4 times more likely to find Retail Choreography tools useful travel agencies.

When compared with Baby Boomers across all types of retail stores, these younger generations also report that if a retailer used such tools to manage their experience, they would be:

All this confirms what we all instinctively know to be true – Millennial and GenZ customers want retailers to use digital tools to improve their experience, and they will be driven to spend more and to engage more across a retailer’s entire omni-channel offering in return.

The significantly greater interest in Retail Choreography tools from younger generations suggests they may have wanted these kinds of tools all along and that Covid-19 will prove to be a catalyst for a new era of omni-channel retailing as retailers realise the powerful business case benefits behind offering such tools.

To further add to the business case benefit of using Retail Choreography solutions within travel agencies and the conclusion that Covid will prove to be a catalyst for a new era of omni-channel retailing where queues are eliminated and in-store or virtual appointments and curbside pickup become the norm.

 

How long customers are prepared to wait for service within travel agencies…

When asked how long customers are willing to wait in travel agencies we found that:

20% will only tolerate a wait of up to 3 minutes. 16% will wait between 3-7 minutes and 16% will be willing to wait between 8 and 10 minutes. In total, this means that more than half of travel agency shoppers (56%) will only wait up to 10 minutes for service.

These insights demonstrate that the wait time does not need to be long before significant revenues can be lost.

Interestingly, despite being more likely to walkout without buying anything and less likely to return to the store if they are forced to wait, Millennial and GenZ customers have a higher mean wait time threshold than older generations when it comes to waiting in queues at travel agencies. They are more patient of longer waits, though less tolerant and also, more personally insulted if a wait exceeds their expectations.

Interestingly, the survey found that consumers from higher income households are more willing to wait, although less forgiving of the brand when returning.

Travel agencies wait time tolerance is very similar to car dealerships and optical retailers.

 

 

The survey insights showed the powerful business case benefits for Retail Choreography tools within travel agencies

Our survey also showed that, when compared with their lower household income peers, higher household income groups were 1.6 times more likely to be driven to buy something online or in-store as a result of a retailer using these tools.

21% said they were more likely to make an in-store purchase and 19% were more likely to shop with the retailer online, compared with 12.5% of those from lower household income groups.

Overall, our survey shows that a long wait time is more likely to deter younger generations and those from higher household income groups from visiting stores or returning in the future. To combat this, the insights show that Retail Choreography tools offer a powerful antidote, as these same demographics are also the most likely to be driven to purchase in-store and online across a retailer’s channels, and the most likely to return again as a result of a retailer’s use of digital tools to choreograph their experience.

 

 

Improving profitability and driving lasting brand relevance

These insights show that both during and outside of the Coronavirus, travel agencies have much to gain by using Retail Choreography solutions to manage queues, to offer in-store and virtual appointments and to provide contactless click and collect pickup services.

Our many case studies with leading travel agencies have also shown the same. For more information on how we can help your brand take a look at our customer success stories or get in touch with our team for a demo at info@qudini.com

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