It’s not always about having an app for that! While today’s technology is making travel easier than ever, new research from American Express Travel, which marks its 100th anniversary this month, reveals that future travelers will tap into both high-tech options and high-touch human service in order to achieve the ultimate travel experience. Ninety-three percent (93%) of travelers said that despite digital advances in the travel industry, the value of personal service cannot be replaced. Additionally 83% of Millennials place a premium on personalization and are willing to have brands track their habits in exchange for a more bespoke experience.
“Increasingly, travelers want to see the world on their terms with tailored, personalized and differentiated experiences that reflect their passions and needs,” said Claire Bennett, executive vice president, American Express Travel. “The boundaries between technology and personal service are being blurred, allowing more intimate connections for travelers with the world around them. This presents travelers and our industry with innumerable opportunities for partnerships to make more memorable journeys possible.”
Placing a High Value on Experiences
The recent study, which surveyed more than 1,000 consumers on their attitudes toward travel, found that people are placing an even higher premium on the experiences they enjoy through travel:
- 82% said they are more interested in making memories than making money;
- 85% say they plan to travel as much, if not more, for leisure in the next five years; and
- 91% would rather focus on meaningful life experiences over their profession.
Personalized Planning: Where Human Touch and High-Tech Meet
When it comes to planning an epic adventure, travelers have a me-centric mindset and want to be involved in all aspects of the trip — from preparing an itinerary to documenting and sharing their experiences with others. In addition, travelers are not looking for a cookie-cutter experience: the vast majority of respondents (85%) said that a customized itinerary is far more appealing than a pre-packaged one, and 72% would spend more time planning a trip that is tailored to their interests. Additionally, 90% of respondents say they appreciate the efforts of a travel professional to customize an experience based on their preferences.
Human Touch is Irreplaceable
Contrary to the perception that technological advances can replace human customer service, the study’s results show that the personal touch remains critical, with 93% saying they feel the value of personal service cannot be replaced despite digital advances in the travel industry. This is especially true for moments when something goes awry. Eighty-nine percent said they also want human assistance for cancelled flights or lost luggage, and 53% said they want it for getting an insider scoop on a destination.
Where Technology Triumphs
Travelers do note, however, that they prefer to use technology for certain aspects of their trip:
- When it comes to booking flights and hotels, 76% of respondents said they turn to technology;
- 73% noted they will use the Web for researching places to go for leisure travel
- 60% will use tech features to check in to flights or hotels and
- Nearly half (47%) of respondents and 65% of Millennials say the ability to share their travels experiences on social media adds to the enjoyment of the trip.
Celebrating “Journeymakers,” The People Who Make Great Trips Possible
As evidenced by this new research, high-touch personal service will be a critical component of the optimal travel experience, which is why, as part of its 100th anniversary celebration, American Express Travel is launching a new campaign celebrating Journeymakers – the travel service professionals whose commitment to human connection and service help make travel more memorable.
American Express Travel has created a digital experience at www.journeymakers.com where consumers are invited to share their own stories and recognize the Journeymakers they have met through their travels. Travel partners, such as Delta Air Lines and Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc., are also participating by sharing their own stories on the Journeymakers hub. The platform also lets travelers show their appreciation by sending a personalized, printed note to a Journeymaker, which will be delivered to the Journeymaker by using a map technology powered by TripAdvisor. Additionally, visitors are encouraged to share their Journeymaker moments with a social postcard that can be used on their own social media platforms.
“We want to bring together everyone – our colleagues in the industry, consumers, anyone who is passionate about travel – to celebrate together the people who make great travel experiences possible. As a travel service provider who has the privilege of celebrating its 100th anniversary, we have always believed that connection is at the heart of travel,” added Bennett.
Where to Next? Special Deals and Offers
American Express Travel will be offering special experiences for select destinations and other travel discounts beginning July 13 through August 31 as part of its anniversary celebration. Visit https://www.amextravel.com/hotel_offers/experiential to be inspired on where to go – and what to do – next.