As the online travel market is on course to reach , a new player, Reservations.com, is planning to disrupt the global travel market by competing on a customer-centric model that is technology driven, focusing on a high-touch model. By delivering an experience that is not supported by the business models of price-cut operators, the company is taking aim at a sweet spot in the market that will secure a good market share.
It may seem that travel giants had an easy ride entering the market by competing on price, yet in doing so, many have forfeited the opportunity to deliver an experience that puts the customer first, failing to deliver a special and memorable experience. But when founders ask the question: how can the latest technology and AI advances be coupled with human touch to produce a unique experience? Well, this can easily lead to a highly innovative business model, capable of disrupting the travel industry as a whole.
At the heart of the companies’ philosophy, is the concept of delivering an experience that makes the customer feel they improved their position on the social ladder. Yet since all customers are at different positions in terms of social standing, delivering such an experience that is relevant to each customer, requires personalization. Achieving this in a way that is meaningful to the entire travel industry, means that personalization at scale is a key requirement, which .
Personalization at scale:
At Reservations.com, a unique model of “technology, process, people” will serve to deliver a personalized experience to large volumes of people, without giving up a high-touch experience. As the focus shifts from price to value, the company will compete on creating value through a personalized experience regardless of the level customers are at in their lives.
What will drive the high-touch experience?
Several factors are necessary to drive a high-touch experience. This is not always possible with lean price-cut models. Reservations.com will leverage five unique approaches to ensure this experience:
A new category class of employment: “Experience advisors” will be a new role that is attractive to Gen Z employees. By creating a job role that people will truly love, putting culture ahead of strategy is a reality.
World-class CRM: A unified CRM that delivers high quality support, takes care of content and helps to augment the experiential needs that stems from a current booking will also become part of future bookings.
Supplier relationships: By reducing the cost pressure faced by suppliers and shifting the focus towards thoughtful value, it creates a mutual synergy for the platform, suppliers and consumers. The relationship of the platform and suppliers will thus be more centred around value creation for the client.
Price benefits to closed user-groups: There will be the ability for call centre staff and loyalty programs to drive price benefits. Albeit that this is not the main differentiator, it will further improve customer loyalty.
The leadership behind the concept: Yatin Patel of Orlando Florida is the co-founder. He is a well-known visionary and innovator. He has more than 20 years of experience in E-commerce and technology. After having built, sold and invested in successful travel platforms, he embraced the latest technological capabilities and the understanding of what consumers really need to create this concept. Bringing human touch back into a world dominated by online travel, while going with the direction technology is moving in, is precisely what the team will focus on delivering.
Personalized experiential travel used to come at a high price, as scaled personalization always lacked. Consumers were therefore faced with a choice: go low in price and have low expectations, or go rather high in price where niche travel agents can deliver on personal expectations. But somewhere in the middle of the aforementioned positions, is experiential travel that is personalized at scale: this is the space that Reservations.com will seek to redefine as it takes aim at the market.
With AI disrupting multiple sectors including banking, travel and online retail, the way in which this company will seek to deploy AI alongside a very special organizational culture – may just be what will redefine the travel industry as we know it.