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Smart Technology Needed To Handle Potential For Trans-Tasman Bubble Disruption

As New Zealand takes its first steps toward reopening to tourists, travel and tourism companies should optimise cloud-based solutions to respond quickly to disruption and uncertainty.

Ahead of the resumption of quarantine-free Trans-Tasman travel, Accenture New Zealand Managing Director Ben Morgan said travel and tourism companies will need to lean heavily on their technology systems to handle the prospect of last-minute changes or cancellations to travel plans.

“The recent Brisbane lockdown is a reminder that uncertainty is going to be the norm for some time and that presents challenges for airlines and other travel companies to navigate.

“In the event of another outbreak or lockdown, customers will need to be promptly rebooked and be able to contact their airline and other tourism operators through a variety of channels – whether that is in-person, online or via app or social media. Companies should have robust cloud-based systems in place to manage customer responses across the channels.”

Morgan said that the way operators navigate these challenges will define post-pandemic customer relationships.

“Contact tracing and safety will be front-of-mind for customers and operators will likely be required to have robust policies and contact tracing in-place. This sort of information should be securely stored in the cloud and shared with health authorities when required.

“The reopening of Trans-Tasman travel is an opportunity for travel and tourism operators to revitalise their relationships with domestic and international customers. The companies that introduce strong contact tracing and safety policies, and deftly navigate disruption to services, will find customers will stay loyal.”

In addition to prioritising safety and contact tracing, Morgan says that operators should look to form alliances across the sector so that customers can enjoy seamless and effortless tourist experiences.

“The best travel and tourism experiences are the ones where it feels like everything is taken care of as soon as you leave home. Prior to Covid-19, airlines were already collaborating with rental car firms to create packaged solutions for tourists, and we should expect these customer demands to expand and mature.

“Tourists will want to be able to book their airline tickets, rental car, accommodation, tourist attractions and even restaurants through one cloud-based portal. Forging alliances across these industries to provide a set of integrated services will create the seamless customer experiences demanded in the post-pandemic world,” said Morgan.

Cloud technology is going to play an important role in the post-pandemic travel and tourism sectors as organisations seek to better understand customer preferences and create the tailored, contactless and effortless experiences travellers want. Morgan said that New Zealand airlines, airports and other operators can learn from leaders such as Changi Airport in Singapore. Prior to the pandemic, the airport had already deployed customer-centric technology solutions that maximised customer engagement and increased sales.

“At Changi Airport, the tailored customer experience begins days before the scheduled flight. Customers are sent communications to gain insight into their preferences and reasons for travel and the responses help airport retailers to customise promotional offers for products and services prior to their trip.”

“Changi Airport’s chatbot can then provide visitors with suggestions on retailers, restaurants and attractions based upon their interests. The result for customers is a more personal, relevant and enjoyable experience, while retailers increase sales and can tailor their future offerings based on customer preferences.”

“Customers want to have seamless, safe and enjoyable travel experiences. The firms who invest in the digital technologies that enable them will set themselves up for success in the future.”

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