Now more than ever, the travel industry is booming. Latest reports from the ONS indicate that UK residents completed 70.8million trips overseas in 2016 alone, with £43.8billion being spent on holidays and trips abroad in the same year. With that in mind, travel is no longer a case of getting from A to B for passengers. No matter the purpose of their trip, UK passengers’ expectations are on the rise and their experience starts before they even start their journey.
Perhaps the most obvious experience passengers expect from the travel industry lies within retail. Step into Gatwick or Heathrow or board any cruise ship, and the influence of luxury retailers is unmissable. With duty free shopping being a major draw, customers now expect to find their favourite luxury brands at their fingertips. Be this in food and beverages, clothing or cosmetics, today’s travellers expect to be able to purchase luxury goods at every touchpoint in their journey – starting before they even arrive on board.
“Luxury” is an important word to bear in mind when it comes to passengers’ expectations. Beyond the premium brands they expect to come into contact with, travellers are increasingly looking for a first-class experience everywhere from dining options to airport lounges, as well as in-flight or on board. It is here that design, atmosphere and service are essential, as well as the products they are offered within the package. Holiday makers and business travellers expect to receive not only the best products and service, but also a choice in the food, beverages and products available to them.
But, it’s not just a luxury experience that is important to passengers. In the hustle and bustle of the airport environment, travellers are also looking for convenience and efficiency, but not to the detriment of quality. Travel hubs now need to focus on a “people-first” approach, making sure that every element of the travel experience is easy, stress-free and experiential whilst still bringing them in close contact with the quintessential luxury travel environment.
Beyond products, more and more of an emphasis is being placed on technology by today’s jetsetters. From quick and efficient security screenings to onboard WiFi, passengers are looking for more and more conveniences as part and parcel of their time in transit – these things that perhaps were once considered “nice to haves” are now becoming essentials.
Like any B2C industry, the expectations of the mass market are constantly changing. With travellers looking for that little bit extra when it comes to their journey, it’s vital for travel retailers, lounges and providers to ensure their offering is the best it can be. Starting with food and beverages. At CSS Travel, we’re experts in the industry and keep our finger on the pulse when it comes to customer expectations. Don’t hesitate to get in touch to discuss how we can help you to elevate your food and beverage offerings above and beyond the dizzy heights of passenger expectations.