The first online sale of an airline ticket took place through the Internet Travel Network in 1995. And over the next 25 years, the online travel agent market boomed, with intrepid explorers the world over taking control of their vacations, visits to family, and other excursions through a variety of web- and app-based services. Things were looking particularly rosy in 2019, with some forecasts predicting the sector would crack $1.09 billion in revenue by 2022.
As the poet said, however, the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry, and such was the case when the COVID-19 pandemic swept the globe in the first quarter of 2020. With the rise of new safety concerns and restrictions, would-be travelers and the brands that helped them book their trips were left attempting to navigate a minefield of cancellations and constantly shifting information. This environment presented a particular challenge to online travel agencies (OTAs): How to communicate individualized information rapidly, and at scale, without overwhelming your customer service reps?
Tiket.com’s COVID-19 Conundrum
Established in 2011, Tiket.com was an OTA pioneer in Indonesia, offering flight, hotel, train, car rental, and entertainment tickets. Strong business in the beginning of 2020 and an impending busy season corresponding with Muslim holidays at the end of May meant the company had a large number of inquiries to handle as stay-at-home orders and other complications upended many of their customers’ plans in March and April. The potential load on customer service was considerable, as was the prospect of customer frustration if their inquiries couldn’t be handled in a timely fashion.
Faced with this unexpected challenge, Tiket.com wanted to explore solutions beyond the traditional call center approach in order to communicate with up-to-date information on changes, refunds, etc., to customers. Fortunately, the company had contracted with Braze in late 2019, and sent out its first email campaign via the platform on March 1, 2020. As such, they were able to seamlessly leverage multiple channels to deliver personalized communications to the large number of customers suddenly in need of updates.
Tiket.com’s Multi-Pronged Messaging
The team at Tiket.com understood two important things about communicating during this time of crisis:
- They’d have to utilize multiple channels to reach customers wherever they were
- Since the parameters of every traveler’s plans were different, individualized communication was key
Given those realities, they set out to deliver personalized messaging in a variety of ways. Refunds and gift vouchers were provided through personalized inboxes on the company’s web site and mobile app. Push notifications allowed Tiket.com to reach out with up-to-the minute information about the status of purchases, and requests for updated customer information. Finally, the shifting landscape of travel requirements was communicated through in-app messages (IAM) and push notifications that kept travelers abreast of new documents they’d need to provide for their specific trip.
Tiket.com’s Results: Faster Travel Updates and Reduced Customer Service Burden
The payoff for this approach was significant. Tiket.com’s customer service SLA improved from 70% to 80% while the time it took the company to send travel updates declined by more than 3x. While personalized IAM and push notification outreach initially took three days to produce, the brand successfully reduced that time to less than a day, dramatically increasing the speed with which Tiket.com could update users on the latest information relevant to their particular trip. Best of all, these new messaging features were rolled out without the need to call on developers, allowing that team to focus on improving refund and rescheduling capabilities.
"During the early days of global pandemic, our customer service [team] had to focus their time to help customers with refunds, reschedule, and provide real time updates with travel requirements changes,” said Dyah Wulandari, VP of Performance Marketing at Tiket.com. “Together, our team and Braze provided the updates for the users in an accurate and timely fashion, not to forget with Braze's help we managed to provide personalized messages which helped our customers at difficult times. Thanks to our team’s hard work and Braze for winning our customers’ heart back."
Predicting global disruptions like COVD-19 can be almost impossible. Given that, the most that brands’ can hope for is the agility to deal with it in a way that addresses customer satisfaction on the individual level...without needing to commit the kind of resources that can impact an organization’s foundational functionality. Tiket.com displayed just this quality in utilizing the Braze platform to provide up-to-the-minute messaging that helped their audience navigate the uncertainty of travel in 2020.
For more on the importance of personalization and providing it across channels, check out the Braze Personalization Guide.