Demonstrating global travel leadership through people, process, and technology
Reservations.com is proving that many large companies in the online travel market have underestimated the needs and wants of a growing segment of customers. Online travel agencies (“OTAs”) grew in importance during the great recession as customers began to exhibit more price sensitivity. This led to much of the OTA market neglecting the importance of experiential travel and high touch service.
Unlike many of its competitors, Reservations.com has invested heavily in new and unique ways to better serve its customers. This includes a heavy focus on human assisted travel planning, as well as AI-enabled tools that can provide personalized itinerary creation at scale. Both of these factors have combined to make the business one of the fastest growing platforms in the online travel category.
A return to basics has fuelled strong growth for Reservations.com
Most of the online travel industry has been focused on process automation and an online-first booking experience. The original tenets of customer service have been overlooked in the pursuit of a one-size fits all approach.
As Reservations.com CEO Yatin Patel explained, “We were focused on filling a fundamental gap in the online travel market when we founded Reservations.com. Inventory selection and ease of use have improved for travellers over the last 20 years. However, customer needs have increasingly taken a back seat as platforms grow to serve the lowest common denominator. We wanted to take a different approach – an approach that focused on bringing the human touch back to the world of online travel. This has enabled us to provide optionality to our customers. They can utilize our online platform, or they can speak to a real human travel concierge 24/7. This has become the foundation of our success.”
Utilizing technology to deliver differentiated experiences at scale and reward customer loyalty
In addition to providing high-quality human assisted support, Reservations.com has started to leverage technology to deliver more advanced itinerary planning services at scale. For example, the company’s call center technology provides travel concierges with context on what city or property a customer is looking at prior to speaking with them. This reduces friction in the agent-customer interaction and provides a seamless experience from web to phone. Further, the company recently launched a robust loyalty program called RClub. Members will have access to a small team of travel advisors who can leverage customer travel preferences to plan unique travel experiences from end-to-end. This will include not only hotel accommodations, but also restaurant recommendations, tours, sights, and activities that are all catered to a customer’s preferences.
Using best practices to bring experiential travel to customers all over the world
While Reservations.com is based in Florida, it serves customers from all corners of the world. Its loyalty program is staffed by travel concierges that possess local market expertise in an effort to deliver once-in-a-lifetime experiences regardless of a traveller’s country of origin. Increased utilization of the program will provide additional feedback so that the company can continually improve upon its recommended itineraries. In other words, don’t leave your travel up to guesswork. Ask an expert and get the most out of your trip!
Increased recognition for an innovative approach to online travel
While Reservations.com may not be as well-known as Expedia or Booking.com, the company is starting to accumulate recognition for all of its accomplishments. CEO Yatin Patel was recently recognized as an Outstanding 50 Asian American in Business. The company has also received a 2019 Central Florida Fast 50 award, a Great Place to Work® certification, a 2018 Best in Biz award, and a 2017 Bronze Stevie Award for best hospitality and leisure website.