ORT impact on the sector at T Causon A Leaders of by Headline sponsors Secondary sponsor

ffluent consumers will “come back and spend more” with brands that maintained “consistent, authentic and genuinely helpful” communication during the pandemic.

Travel companies that “helped” rather than “sold” to

clients would have engendered brand loyalty, according to Jo Causon of the Institute of Customer Service. Speaking on a panel discussion about trust and service,

the institute’s chief executive said: “Those people who have been on hand with genuine advice and who have serviced a client rather than sold will have really stood out during the crisis. I don’t want to be sold to; I want to be helped.” She highlighted that travel had “taken quite a big hit”

in customer satisfaction levels, despite being a sector that “traditionally drives hard on service”. “Where organisations have been genuinely engaging

and helpful, you’re going to get massive brand loyalty; but where organisations have not done that, then frankly people won’t rebook,” she said. “Companies need to make sure they do the right thing in an ethical and transparent way – that’s very important to customers now.” Helen Brocklebank, chief executive of British luxury

trade body Walpole, agreed. She said: “If you’ve continued to talk to your customer, create a relationship with them, put your people and your business on show, and if you’ve keep your clients’ dreams alive, then the customer is

Rosewood sets sights on India and Japan Rosewood Hotels is eyeing India as a destination for potential expansion. Brand president Radha Arora said the “Indian subcontinent is clearly a place we need to be”, adding that he was hoping to “get a footing in the market soon”. He also touted Japan as a destination he was “excited about”.

Radha Arora

going to come back and they’re going to spend more.” She insisted that the bank balances of the affluent were

“still very robust”, adding: “You’ve got an economically resilient customer who is sitting on quite a lot of money. They’ve been spending their time wishing to be in another place, so any travel brand that has been focusing on unlocking those dreams will have chimed a chord with the wealthy.” Carrier managing director Mark Duguid agreed that

customers would “choose to travel increasingly with the people and companies who served them well”. He praised agents on the frontline for being “available

and flexible” for clients “while also fighting for [their clients] and showing empathy”, adding “there’s an increased need for humans in travel retailing”. Duguid said it was “absolutely scandalous” that refunds

were still causing problems for some agents, adding that when air corridors opened in July, 50% of Carrier’s trade business had come from agents who wouldn’t usually book with the operator. He attributed this to the company’s policy of refunding within 14 days and positive referrals.

Pandemic credited for ‘hastening digital transformation’

The pandemic has forced the travel industry to embrace technology and innovate more than ever, according to speakers at Leaders of Luxury. Kerzner International’s Brett

Armitage said one of the few positives to have emerged from the crisis had been a “rapid digital transformation” across the industry. Tom Marchant, co-founder

of Black Tomato, said the use of technology, particularly video calls, had resulted in improved conversion rates. “We can bring things to life Tom Marchant

easier [with video calls],” he said. “We could have done this for years, but we weren’t. “We’re seeing conversion rates

going up, although obviously business as a whole is down. “Clients are reacting well to it

and our travel experts are enjoying it because it’s helping them improve their sales performance. Video calls will remain an absolutely key part of our processes moving forward.” Armitage said he believed the

hotel sector hadn’t “really leveraged or fully-utilised technology” in the past, adding that the move to the use of QR codes and apps was a “positive shift” that had allowed content to be “far more accessible”.

22 OCTOBER 2020 13


ravel Weekly sister title Aspire’s virtual conference. Hollie-Rae Brader reports Jo

‘Did you help clients or only try to sell in crisis?

Companies need to make sure they

do the right thing in an ethical way – that’s very important to customers now

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