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4 ways travel agencies are using Trip Assist’s branding engine to win more business

While many travellers enjoy the personalised experience they receive from dealing with a friendly and knowledgeable travel agency, the harsh reality is that many travel agencies don’t get the chance to build on this positive brand experience as they often lose this connection after the initial booking is made. With the increasing availability of third-party apps travel agencies have become increasingly disintermediated* (*elimination of the middle men between the seller and the buyer) because in the mind of the traveler these third-party app are the actual provider of their travel services.

If we consider that the majority of business travellers use their mobile devices to check their travel details one or more times a times a day then it’s easy to see that the opportunities to make a positive brand impression are there. To help travel agencies elevate their brand profile among travelers we’ve built an mobile engagement platform specifically for travel agencies and in this blog we’re going to take a closer look at how travel agencies can use the flexibility on offer within the Trip Assist solution to ensure their brand is always at the forefront of the traveler’s experience.

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Stand out from the competition

The first step in any mobile experience is discovery in the app store and your brand plays an important role in this. To avoid diluting the impact of the travel agency and creating an even bigger disconnect with the traveler Trip Assist enables travel agencies to bring their brand to life in the app store with a fully branded badge so they can differentiate their mobile offering against other free 3rd party solutions and competitor brands.

In addition to providing a branded presence in the app store we also provide our partners with expertise and support on App Store Optimisation (ASO) to ensure they utilise best practices when promoting & marketing their new app. As part of the Trip Assist onboarding process for XLGO we outlined the major considerations for how XL Travel could best position their brand when submitting their mobile app to the stores. In addition to brand positioning we also helped advise XL Travel on best practice around how they can promote the app, encourage adoption and configure urls to track the success of their marketing campaigns.

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Extend your brand to the mobile channel

The real brand connection begins when your travellers start to use your new mobile solution. Using a flexible theming engine Trip Assist allows travel agencies to easily configure colours, fonts, logo placements and the general look and feel to ensure it reflects the unique requirements of the agency’s brand.

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What this means is that every time the traveller opens the app the travel agencies brand will be front and centre and will remain ever present when the traveller is managing their trip. If we consider the statistic that over 64% of business travellers check their mobile itinerary more than once a day then you are well on your way to beating the rule of 7. What this effectively means is that prospects who hear or are exposed to your message/brand at minimum of 7 times are more likely to engage or taken action with that product or service. By providing this level of brand control within Trip Assist this solution provides travel agencies with a brand conscious mobile platform that leaves no doubt in the traveler’s mind as to who is managing their travel arrangements.

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Reinforcing your brand through real-time messaging

Building a positive view of your brand isn’t just about the traveller regularly seeing your logo and corporate colours - the real brand reinforcement comes through regular communications and improving the overall level of customer service on offer.

Leveraging trip specific information, pre-defined messaging rules and a feature rich messaging console Trip Assist enables travel agencies to go beyond generic push notifications and create more contextual messages such as pre-trip notifications, flight status updates for any delays and cancellations as well as ad-hoc risk alerts based on their travel destination.

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Using fully branded push notifications travel agencies can build even greater affinity among travelers by ensuring their brand is front and centre at the exact time their travelers need them. With over 81% of US consumers stating that they would feel more loyal to a brand that is there for them when they need them - the ability to build this brand association is an invaluable asset from travel agencies. Combining this capability with the trip based context that Trip Assist provides enables travel agencies to create customer interactions that improve satisfaction and drive traveler retention.

Build your brand through mobile support

Making a positive brand impression is easy when things are going well but real brand connections are made when you can help your travellers when the unexpected happens during their trip. Providing of a mobile itinerary solution that gives the traveler access to detailed (and up to date) trip information enables the traveler to self serve more and reduces the volume of basic support calls the agents receive allowing them to spend their time on more specialist travel queries.

Incorporating functionality such as the ‘Assist Me’ feature means that in their moment of need travelers have immediate access to agent support at the simple touch of a button. This becomes even more compelling when we consider that 42% of consumers would be more likely to stay with a brand that delivers real-time customer service support. Using this feature provides travel agencies with the flexibility to provide different contact details for different trips depending on how they manage their operations. This enhances the experience for the traveler for a number of reasons as it makes it easy to access agent support without the need to search alternative sources for contact information and also ensures any emergency queries will be addressed promptly.

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This level of support should not be underestimated as a means of strengthening the brand experience further as studies predict that by 2020 customer experience will overtake product and price as the key brand differentiator.

Conclusion

As the travel experience becomes increasingly fragmented it’s essential that travel agencies embrace mobile as an extension of their brand. By not doing this their brand becomes increasingly under threat by 3rd party travel apps, and the value they provide as travel management companies will be undermined. Creating your own-branded mobile experience provides travel agencies with a platform that not only helps them win (and retain) corporate business but also re-establishes that connection with the traveler and builds a positive brand experience that travellers will enjoy.

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Ronan Morrissey (Director of Product)

Ronan is Director of Product for Travelport Digital responsible for product vision and strategy, focusing on the travel agency and traveller engagement suite of products. Ronan has over 13 years’ experience in product development, digital strategy and in innovation consulting services across the travel, fintech and technology industries. Prior to joining Travelport Digital Ronan worked at Mastercard Labs’ working with global brands to develop breakthrough fintech products. Before this he held a variety of leadership roles with Barclays Bank, most recently developing and launching web and mobile products for the UK bank.

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