Touchless Travel Is on the Move

Paul Hoffman
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The right digital touchless technologies enrich the customer experience and build loyalty

It’s been a long 2020/2021. Covid cases are declining in the US and travel is increasing (with caveats per the CDC). Memorial Day weekend - America’s first long weekend of the vaccination era - looms large in our minds.

You might be one of the many considering a getaway. As you scroll through a recommended hotel’s website from the comfort of your couch, you’re not likely thinking about the technologies that keep you off the phone with a reservation agent. You find a great rate and decide to book. Then it happens. You tap the “book now” button and you’re hit with the message “We’re sorry, to book this room kindly call our reservations line.” Suddenly, your feeling about the hotel shifts. If they can’t get this simple digital reservation right, what else might be substandard or seriously wrong with our stay on their premises?

Let’s face it, we’re spoiled. We give little thought to what we use regularly until it doesn’t work. Hop in your car, hit the navigation button, speak your destination and you’re off! Until it falters. Then you realize that it doesn’t do well with spoken four-letter expletives either. It’s clear that as our intimate coexistence with touchless travel and the technologies supporting it increases, our tolerance for glitches inversely shrinks.

Touchless technologies should adhere to a few guidelines

So what’s a brand to do when faced with this existential threat? After all, there’s a lot that can go wrong when it comes to technology in the hands of customers. The good news: the solution has been around for decades - test.

Sure, perhaps Motorola didn't have the opportunity to test their DynaTAC cell phone on the general public (few had the arm strength to hold it up), but app builders today have no excuses for not testing on virtually all devices, OSes, payment vehicles and networks - and with diverse users around the globe.

Today’s touchless technologies connect at many customer touchpoints: user experience, customer journey, accessibility, security, payments, to name a few. In-the-wild testing is a must to ensure that, not only your apps work as intended, but that they delight customers. More than just testing functionality, testing in the wild enables vital user feedback. This insight enhances future builds and creates a cycle of excellence.

Brands can follow a few simple testing guidelines when building their touchless travel apps:

  • Get user input and offer features the users most want - Ensure they work well across all channels.

  • Ensure that processes (check-in, reservations for activities etc.) are easy to use - In addition, all terms and conditions must be clearly outlined.

  • Test mobile apps on the telecom networks where they’ll be used - Touchless travel apps are only as good as the networks on which they rely.

  • Focus on security - As currency, payment apps must be secure on any network globally.

  • Apps must be localized - Just because an app is translated, doesn’t mean it will meet cultural norms and use patterns. Only local testing can address this.

In-the-wild testing means real-world feedback, fast

Take testing for a feature like keyless entry, for example. When a hotel brand wants to do it right, it can work with Applause to quickly assign vetted testers from any global market to thoroughly test on site, and deliver results within hours. Real people test the app from their own device, so organizations can detect bugs or misalignment with back-end staff before the feature hits the market. For a worldwide rollout, organizations can launch test sprints simultaneously in as many markets and properties as needed, significantly increasing their test capacity without the added stress or overhead of hiring and training new staff.

Your customers may not understand the complexities that go into launching and maintaining a touchless travel or hospitality experience, but when one fails to meet their needs, they can too easily move on to your competitors’ offering.

Touchless apps are an opportunity to show off innovation that matters

Touchless calls on brands to consider new dimensions in user experience, voice technology, customer journey, localization, payments, and security. It literally enables a brand to put itself in its customers’ hands, and in doing so, offer new opportunities to make life easier, more fun, more productive. There’s a lot to get right in that added responsibility.

With a community of digital experts around the globe, Applause helps its worldwide customers test the many combinations of devices, operating systems and platforms needed to ensure that its customers succeed in creating the best experiences for their customers.

Read our new eBook "How To Navigate New Frontiers in Touchless Travel and Hospitality" to learn more.

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