When going on a trip – for business or pleasure – there are travel arrangements that need to be made. First and foremost, flights need to be booked and accommodation confirmed. Then you have to find a car hire company, such as Bidvest Car Rental, to bridge the gap between the airport and cities (or towns) that you need to get to during your stay.

As it turns out, connected travellers have high expectations of the travel companies that they use, but these companies just aren’t delivering. New tech trends are actively changing that though, which means great things for the travel industry in the near future.

Is the Travel Industry Falling Short?

Hotels, cruise liners, car rentals, train operators, and tour operators are expected to provide a personalised travel experience with customised offers and deals tailored to meet the needs and wants of the modern traveller. But are they meeting those expectations right now?

According to a plethora of negative online reviews, some would say no.  And while some travel companies are finding ways to improve on this particular problem, there are others that are failing.

What are the wants and needs of the modern traveller?

A recent survey carried out by a Corporate IT Services & Consulting company called Mindtree in India, recently uncovered the truth. Let’s take a look at a summary of the findings to determine just how travel companies should be catering to these needs?

  • Around 45% of travellers that receive special travel offers don’t actually use them because they don’t have enough time to plan or the offer expires too soon. Travel companies need to offer real specials instead of using visuals and “special offers” merely as bait.
  • As much as 92% of business travellers look for ways to include fun leisure activities in their business trip. Because of this, travel companies should be offering leisure packages aimed at the busy business traveller.
  • Both high and low income groups indicate that they are willing to pay more for a better service. This highlights the fact that travellers aren’t enjoying the service they receive from their chosen car hire companies, hotels, travel operators and more. Perhaps they are standing in long queues or have to deal with unhelpful and disinterested service staff. Travel companies need to invest time and money in training staff members in the art of customer service excellence.
  • Travellers are willing to pay more to upgrade and also actively look for extras proposed by the travel provider such as cheaper hotel and car rental rates. Travel companies should look at streamlining processes and ensure that rates are more reasonable for both business and leisure travellers.
  • Probably the most alarming statistic of all to come from this particular survey was that a whopping 77% of participants said that they had personally had a bad experience with a travel company. 27% of those who received a bad service quite simply never returned to the travel company again. That’s quite a loss, for any business!

Latest Technology Transforming the Travel Industry in South Africa

While some of the survey findings uncover numerous negative issues within the travel industry, it would seem that improved technology and heightenedtraining couldreverse this trend. Many travel companies are embracing technology by using Big Data to better understand the needs of the customer, enabling the service provider to better deliver on service excellence.

Recently, a spotlight has been shone on the car rental industry. A great deal of the negative expectations of the car hire industry in South Africa stemfrom antiquated systems. These outdated processes typically keep people waiting in extremely long queues, require additional staffing and result in limited profit margins for car hire companies.

In November 2016, Bidvest Car Rental, a proudly South African company, launched a revolutionary app that looks set to transform car rental agent interaction as we know it. Snappdrive’s keyless system is Bidvest’s solution to lengthy queues and avoidable human intervention. Once registered, customers can locate, unlock and start their vehicle from the app.

The benefits of Snappdrive:

  • No more waiting in queues
  • Seamless transition from plane to car
  • Quick and easy booking & collection process
  • No need to worry about losing the rental car keys
  • Receive text messages prior to return date that allows the option of extending the rental period.

Travel Companies in SA Should Follow Suit…

There is little doubt that travel companies in South Africa will soon be following Bidvest Car Rental’s lead by embracing technology and looking for innovative ways to better serve the traveller. If a travel experience can’t be personalised, then where is the value? And that’s something that travel providers in SA (and the world) should be thinking about when developing packages, specials, and services that are aimed at a market as broad as travellers.