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Collaboration & Productivity

Best Practices for Customer Service in the Hospitality Industry

By March 11th, 2024No Comments
customer service tourism industry

People are looking for a chance to explore new places and find special experiences. That’s why customer service in the tourism industry is a crucial part of consumer trends. Service providers, whether they are local guides or global hotel chains, need to pay attention to their customer service in the travel industry. Well-trained staff, unique experiences and ease of access can make a huge difference in establishing great customer service in the hospitality industry.

With the cost and planning involved, traveling is not just about getting to a new city or country. But how destinations treat their visitors matters too.

Customer service in the travel industry plays a critical role in simplifying vacations, creating hassle-free moments and setting up a destination’s reputation. 

Customer service in the hospitality industry: why it matters

First impressions matter, especially when setting up a vacation. Customer service in the tourism industry is the first point of contact with potential visitors. This means companies such as airlines, hotels and tourism guides need to be extra careful with their conversations with clients.

Problem-solving and different kinds of tourism

With so many choices available, destinations and service providers need to stand out. And this trend is global: according to a recent survey, 59% of people report good customer service as very important for brand loyalty.

For the tourism sector, this has a huge impact. Hotels, airlines, and tour operators need to offer personalized services to their clients so that they’ll keep choosing their brand in future travels. 

But of course, that isn’t easy when dealing with so many types of tourism. Some destinations cater more to family-friendly activities, busy cities, historical landscapes and relaxing resorts across the world. 

So how can companies offer efficient customer service in the tourism industry to fulfill these needs? 

First, they need to offer solutions that cut down on frequent traveling problems. Flexibility, for example, is key to client retention. When you’re able to offer services that accommodate a variety of itineraries, your client feels welcome. This not only streamlines the travel experience but also shows a commitment to understanding each traveler’s preferences. 

Loyalty and VIP status

Something in the minds of both travelers and service providers is the rise of personalized VIP services to regular clients. For example, airlines that offer more comfortable lounges during layovers, personal offers to repeat destinations and cabin upgrades.

Those are a sign of good customer service in the tourism industry because they reward returning clients for maintaining their relationship with the company. 

Hotel chains are known for their exceptional customer service in the hospitality industry, especially to customers who have previously visited other locations. With affiliates and sister programs, clients can often find accommodation within the network they usually prefer. The result is, once again, happy returning clients.

Local businesses

But the best practices for customer service in the hospitality industry aren’t just for big companies that extend across the world. In fact, small business owners can benefit from a custom experience designed for their tourist clientele. 

For example, a tour guide that offers multilingual tours can offer personalized guidance to tourists from other cultures. Being able to answer quickly and solve any inquiries these clients have will surely be a bonus point to their vacation.

Tourist towns often deal with on and off seasons, so businesses such as restaurants and bars might face hurdles. However, if they offer good customer service all year round they can reach new clients even before the next season begins. 

Word-of-mouth marketing can be a game changer for small companies, so offering efficient customer service in the tourism industry is key. 

Say a hotel concierge is booking activities for their guests. They will prefer people who answer quickly to customer service emails, offer the full scope of information, can be flexible to different kinds of travelers and so on.

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Marketing and customer service in the travel industry before the vacation

The first step is, of course, reaching out to potential new clients. This is done through ads, marketing campaigns and overall presence in the traveler’s mind. There are a few challenges to this, especially when promoting a new destination or driving up interest in a place that has gone through transformations.

That’s why customer service in the hospitality industry is such a key determining factor when booking vacations. If your customer doesn’t feel heard during the interaction, it’s unlikely they will book their travels with you.

Providing custom experiences

Whether a client is booking a traditional relaxing trip or an adventure, they will start looking into it months or years in advance. However, a lot of hospitality service providers are still too generic in their work. Standard packs have their place, but today’s traveler tends towards more unique experiences.

This is why you need to offer customer service in the travel industry in a way that connects directly to each traveler. Travel agents, for example, have to be able to answer a variety of questions about each destination.

The same can be applied to hotels, small ones or chains. They cater to a lot of different kinds of travelers, from big families in relaxing vacations to solo adventurers looking for an everchanging set of activities.

Picture a mountain resort. It offers scenic views, winter sports, dining options, live entertainment and so on. So their website and customer service agents need to be ready to direct each traveler to the right place.

Making the booking easier

Today, there are many options when booking a trip. However, they’re not made equal. Customer reports account that 76% of travelers use travel apps to reduce the stress and friction of booking a vacation. These can be digital travel agencies, search engines, directories and airline websites.

This signals that the stressful part should be taken care of. That’s when good customer service in the hospitality industry works. If an airline, hotel chain, travel agency or other service provider has a hassle-free digital way to book a trip, it will cater to more clients.

It should be a seamless experience for the buyer, especially given the high-ticket nature of booking a trip. If the person has to jump through multiple hoops or switch between pages to finish the process, they might give it up. So a fast and secure system is always the best.

But of course, questions will come in and your customer service agents need to offer ongoing support. A good way to do it is by automating your inbox, so that any incoming mail goes directly to an agent’s queue. It means your turnaround is quicker and the customer gets good professional email response times.

How to offer great customer service in the hospitality industry during the trip

When the customer reaches their destination, customer service in the tourism industry is even more important. A lot of travelers opt to read online reviews, travel magazines and blogs to plan their trips. So having a great track record matters.

Basically, you need to be ready to solve any concerns while making sure you are always giving the customer new options for their vacations.

Preventing and dealing with issues

When people start their vacation, they are looking forward to a relaxing experience. However, this isn’t always the case, especially with unforeseen circumstances. Customer service in the travel industry is crucial for airlines, which often deal with cancellations, delays and other concerns.

For example, canceled flights from bad weather. While they are understandable from a practical standpoint, they are stressful for the fliers themselves. That’s when the airline customer service should offer the best accommodations possible and, most importantly, fast enough. If a client is left unattended too long during these stressful travel moments, they are unlikely to do business with the company later.

Offering exciting opportunities

Another part of traveling is living unforgettable experiences and this has a lot to do with customer service in the tourism industry. Hotel concierges, for example, can be a huge asset if they connect guests to fun activities. Having a roster of service providers available to cater to multiple guests can make their vacation even better.

Restaurants and bars in tourist destinations can also benefit from helpful reviews from other travelers, but they need to make sure they are easily found. A good website, clear menus, ease of booking and other factors can make a huge difference for business growth.

Recurring customer service in the tourism industry

And when the customer goes back home, the company still needs to offer great customer service in the hospitality industry to keep them coming back. They need to be aware of any new exciting travel opportunities. That means the company needs to pique their interest towards new destinations. There are two important factors at play here:

Brand recognition and loyalty

One of the main factors for customer service in the travel industry is that these providers need to build a good reputation. This means local small businesses, such as tour guides and B&Bs rely on good reviews and referrals.

But that also means big companies need to establish themselves as reliable options for travelers. Airlines and hotel chains implemented global loyalty programs for this reason. When customers keep booking with them, they get rewarded with better options. On the flipside, the company stays relevant as a trustworthy travel option no matter where the next destination is.

CRM and building a good marketing strategy

Companies across industries rely on having a good understanding of their customer base to create effective campaigns., But how does a company understand their clients? By looking at its relationship with them. CRM (Customer Relations Managament) is building a reliable database of your customers’ actions and interactions to strategize upon new products.

Tech and customer service in the travel industry

Tech can benefit customer service in the hospitality industry. For example, say you offer guests at a hotel to fill out Customer Satisfaction surveys. You can use AI to analyze datasets and compare the results with other variables. For example, after looking into a year’s CSAT rates, you might figure out that guests receive better customer service in the travel industry during the on-season.

That way, you can implement new training, hire additional staff, set up better scheduling tools and so on.

But customer service in the travel industry also relies on being available to really connect with your customers. Which is why being quick to respond is crucial, at every step of the way.

The customer is having issues finalizing a purchase on the website? Fast answer. The customer has a request for early check-in? As soon as possible. Anyone needs a reservation for a multilingual tour? Booked.

Shared inboxes for customer service in the travel industry

A good way to make sure you actually reply to customers quickly and efficiently enough is by implementing a shared inbox with automation.

A Gmail shared inbox is a collective workspace that allows all of your customer service agents to see and collaborate on any incoming messages in real-time. And without ever leaving their Gmail inbox.

Our solution helps make it happen. DragApp is a Gmail extension that allows you to add emails to task cards and @mention your team to get things done as fast as possible. Managers can then assign or automate each task to an available agent.

customer service tourism industry

Drag also offers shared email templates. With the busy shifts in hospitality and round-the-clock activities, consistency is key. After all, the customer needs to receive reliable information. Email templates can be used to answer frequent questions and set up outlines so that no matter which agent of customer service in the travel industry replies, the message is the same.

customer service in the hospitality industry

If you want to learn more about how Drag can help you manage customer service in your hospitality business, read here how GetAway Vacations has replaced 3 different apps to manage listings, reservations and customer onboarding with Drag.

customer service hospitality industry

Wrapping up

No matter what stage you’re interacting with your customer, you need to understand their travel goals and dreams. That way, you can offer dedicated, quick support. Answer questions, provide activities and solve any concerns. Next time they are planning a trip they’ll reach out again.

Turn Gmail into your Team’s Workspace.

  • 2.5x faster email responses.
  • 20 hours less spent per month, per team member.
  • 40% more deadlines achieved and happier teams.
Try for Free
Lorena Pimentel

Author Lorena Pimentel

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