Ryan is the Marketing Communications Executive at Data8, taking care of digital content in various areas of marketing.
Holidays bookings are on the rise once more as the UK government have announced new freedom of travel to a select few holiday destinations. But some passengers have had to face holiday disappointments that are completely unrelated to the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Good Morning Britain earlier this week, a guest appearance of Alex Macheras highlighted the importance of capturing accurate and up-to-date contact information from customers. This has been brought to light as a couple arrived at the airport they were due to fly from, only to find that the travel company no longer operates in that airport!
What Does this Mean?
Eventually it was discovered that the customers had never received any information in regards to this vital update, meaning they lost out on their holiday.
There could be a variety of reasons as to why this unfortunate event occurred, however what is striking to see is that the airline in question potentially didn’t capture their contact details at the point of contact, or that the details captured were incorrect.
'Even if you think you have a trip booked, you need to check that it's even going ahead' - @susannareid100 @AlexInAir agrees and warns that holiday makers need to make sure their contact details are up to date in case flight times and terminals change. pic.twitter.com/3wsY2YRoK5— Good Morning Britain (@GMB) July 26, 2021
Capturing Data at the Point of Contact
Having the correct contact details for your customers is important, but for the travel industry, having the correct details is crucial.
Email Validation - One of the main methods of contacting a customer is through email, so it’s vital that you get it right first time. But if there are any random keystrokes in an email or any missing characters, the email address is going to be invalid and unreachable. In this case, the travel company could have validated the email address at the point of capture to ensure that the email is contactable, allowing them to deliver the holiday update.
Phone Validation – If the email address fails, a travel company could contact the customer via their telephone number. However, without phone validation there is a potential of capturing incorrect or invalid telephone details.
Address Validation – A more traditional way of contacting customers is through post. As with phone and email validation, address validation can be validated at the point of contact.
Cleansing Existing Information
The couple in question had booked their holiday through the travel site way back in January, but they weren’t due to fly out until July. That means that there was up to 6 months where their contact details could have changed.
Before informing passengers due to fly out from the airport they no longer operate from, it could have been beneficial to cleanse their database. Through a database cleanse system, the contact details that were given in January could have been cleansed and validated, helping to avoid such a situation
For the customer: Unfortunately, as the customers weren’t informed of the drastic change in departure destination, they arrived at the airport that they had originally booked for and missed out on their summer holiday. As a result, they could potentially lose the money that they had used to pay for the holiday on top of facing the devastating disappointment of not having a much-needed break from the pandemic.
For the airline: If the customers do manage to acquire a refund, the airline would miss out on some much-needed revenue that they would so desperately need to keep hold of to stay in business as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. On top of this, customer satisfaction would hit rock bottom, meaning your return rates would also plummet.