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Travel & Tourism - UNIT 4
Transcript of Travel & Tourism - UNIT 4
SPEED & ACCURACY OF SERVICE
Virgin Atlantic’s employees all have uniforms that match the organisations theme colour which is red. They are always smiling and greet all their customers, for example when customers board a Virgin Atlantic flight they always help customers and direct them to their allocated seats. This meets the customers’ expectations as the employees are well presented and representing the company thus creating a positive first impression. This also meets the organisation as the employees are presenting Virgin Holidays thus creating a positive welcome, and friendly first impression which is likely to please customers which will increase their sales.
Another example is Thomas Cook. Their employees are always helpful and greet customers well; they are also well dressed with a uniform which matches the organisations theme colours with a logo. This presents to the customers that the organisation is professional and that all employees are willing to help and provide an excellent service. This exceeds customers’ expectations as they will receive a good service that they are paying for. Employees that give an excellent first impression to customers is very important to the organisation as it will determine whether the customer will decide to use their service again and recommend it to other people.
PRODUCTS AND SERVICES OFFERED
MEETING CUSTOMERS NEEDS AND EXCEEDING EXPECTATIONS
OFFERING INFO AND ADVICE
DEALING WITH COMPLAINTS & PROBLEMS
Virgin Atlantic tries to develop their image further through websites, logos, and corporate images and to ensure they present an air of efficiency. Virgin Atlantic is a well-established organisation that have many loyal customers, however they have to maintain their excellent customer service. Virgin Atlantic has a well-recognised logo therefore customers will be sure that they are will be receiving a good service. Company image is very important as it will influence customers’ opinions of the company; therefore as Virgin Atlantic’s image is excellent customers know they will get their money’s worth by choosing them as an airline.
The same goes for Thomas cook, however as Thomas Cook is retail based as well as airlines, the appearance and location of the premises is also very important as it will also determine the customers influence as to whether or not they choose to go there. Thomas Cook’s retail shops are well presented- the stores are organised with brochures neatly stacked, the inside décor is matching to the organisations theme colours as well as employees greeting customers as soon as they enter the shop. This therefore shows excellent customer service and will likely persuade customers to repeat sales with Thomas Cook.
On Virgin Atlantic’s website http://www.virgin-atlantic.com/gb/en/travel-information/customer-service/customer-service-plan.html . they state their effective systems and procedures for dealing with customers. Firstly, they offer the lowest fare available to the customer. They state ‘’ Our first promise is to offer you, at the time you make your booking directly with us via our contact centre, website or airport ticket desks, the lowest possible fare available for the time, date and class of service you wish to travel in.’’ Additionally, Virgin Atlantic notify customers of known delays, cancellations and diversions- ‘’ we will provide you with the best available information via.
The Flight status pages of our website
Our recorded Flight Information telephone line
Airport information boards (where they are under our direct control)
Our ground staff and cabin crew’’
Furthermore, Virgin Atlantic assist and enable customers with special needs ‘’ We are committed to meeting the needs of all our customers with disabilities. Over the last 20 years our dedicated team of Special Assistance co-ordinators have helped and assisted millions of customers travel independently with ease and comfort.’’
These are just some of Virgin Atlantic’s procedures that they have in place to exceed customers’ expectations and provide excellent customer service.
Another example is Thomas Cook, on their website (http://www.thomascookairlines.com/TermsAndConditions.aspx ) they state their complaints procedures. For example Thomas Cook state ‘’ If you have a complaint regarding any issue after you have travelled please contact us here
Tel: 0844 412 5954
Post: Customer Relations, Thomas Cook, PO Box 216, Bradford, BD19 9BN.
Receipt of your complaint will be acknowledged at the earliest opportunity and a response will usually be provided within 28 days. Where it is necessary to contact a third party supplier to investigate your complaint, further time may be required to provide you with a full response’’
This therefore shows Thomas Cook’s complaint procedures and their effective system of getting in touch with customers in a relatively short pace of time, however customers do genuinely appreciate that it takes time for organisations to get back to them but they always expect a reply.
Speed and accuracy is very important for major organisations such as Virgin Atlantic as it can determine how effective the company is therefore if it’s quicker and accurate, customer service would be more efficient. For example, Virgin Atlantic’s employees always need to greet customers straight away and in a friendly manner, emails should be answered within 24hours and employees should also know who to refer to about complaints, opening times and how to use their computerised systems. For example, Virgin Atlantic have an online check in service which allows customers to check in quickly prior to their flight therefore providing a quick and efficient service
Whereas with Thomas Cook, as they are a travel agent employees should have a broad knowledge on the destinations available and special packages that are available to exceed customers’ expectations. It is vital that employees know about the products and services that they are offering to customers as it will reflect on the customers’ decision about the organisation and whether it was speedy and accurate. Thomas Cook also has a mobile app which enables customers to browse through their special deals and where they fly to in Europe.
One way Virgin Atlantic show they are consistent is their complaints procedures. Most complaints are dealt with by their cabin crew, airport ground staff or contact centres. However if the customer thinks their complaint has not been fully resolved they are able to fill out a complaints form called "Any Concerns?” Alternatively customers can fill in an online feedback form, or write to Customer Relations.
Also, likewise with Virgin, most complaints are also dealt with by Thomas Cook’s cabin crew, airport ground staff and contact centres. However customers are also able to contact Thomas Cook online at www.thomascook.com/customer-relations, by telephone as well as post, however Thomas Cook state it will take up to 28 days for an immediate response.
Virgin Atlantic offers a wide range of products and services to customers who choose to fly with them. For example they offer customers a loyalty scheme called the Flying Club which is a programme for ‘frequent flyers’ in which Virgin Atlantic reward customers with points depending on how far they have travelled and how many points they have collected, customers are then allowed to use the points they have collected to get discounts of their future flights. Virgin Atlantic also offer a car hiring service, hotels, airport transfers, foreign exchange, and all inclusive holidays (Virgin Holidays).
Furthermore, Thomas Cook offers a wide range of products and services, for example, they offer multiple all inclusive holidays to a number of top destinations.
They also offer ‘City Breaks’ deals to a number of cities such as New York, Dubai and Rome. Also Thomas Cook offer just flights or just hotels if customers wish to book through other travel companies. There are also ski and cruise holidays available for customers to choose from, Thomas Cook also offer customers to book tickets for the Eurostar through them. Thomas Cook also offers foreign exchange and visas available for customers to purchase through them prior their holiday.
Many organisations provide customer service helplines for situations like this as well as FAQ on websites to try and pre-empt customers’ questions.
For example, customers of Virgin Atlantic expect the best out of their product/service and expect to be treated with the highest standard. For example, when customers book their flight online through Virgin Atlantic they are offered if they would like airport transfers and extra weight allowance for their bags. Virgin Atlantic also has a FAQ section on their website that might be able to answer a customer’s possible query http://www.virgin-atlantic.com/en/gb/faq.jsp
Likewise with Thomas Cook, they aim to provide the best customer service they can by exceeding customer’s expectations.
They have set up a new customer relations management system that will enable the company to tailor its communications with, and service to, customers, according to their personal preferences. For example, in North America, all employees take a course on how to create dream holiday experiences for their customers through a caring and respectful service. And in Belgium, a new customer website has been created that allows children to select their holiday preferences, helping parents find hotels that will keep their children happy and entertained.
For example, Virgin Atlantic state that most complaints can be dealt with by their front line teams e.g. cabin crew, airport ground staff or contact centres.
However if customers feel that their complaint has not been fully resolved they are able to ask Virgin’s cabin crew or ground staff for a complaints form called "Any Concerns?". Alternatively they can fill in an online feedback form, or write to Customer Relations department at one of the addresses
Virgin Atlantic requires customers to provide them with the following information for a customer’s complaint to be properly registered:
• Your full name (as it shows on your ticket)
• Your booking reference
• Flight Details (date and number)
• Your preferred contact details; e mail, phone number or land address
• Details of the complaint along with the names of any of our staff you spoke to at the time
Time and response: Virgin Atlantic state on their website that ‘’If you e mail us you will receive an automated acknowledgment, if you write to us at one of the above addresses we will post you an acknowledgement letter within 7 days of receipt.’’ http://www.virgin-atlantic.com/gb/en/travel-information/customer-service/complaints-procedure.html This therefore shows the speed and accuracy of their service.
It is also stated on their website that ‘’All complaints are logged into our database and allocated to one of our Customer Relations Executives who will investigate and subsequently respond to you either by phone, e mail or letter no later than 28 days after you have received your acknowledgement. Our Customer Relations Executive will also give you their name and contact details for any follow-up.’’ http://www.virgin-atlantic.com/gb/en/travel-information/customer-service/complaints-procedure.html this therefore shows that Virgin Atlantic will reply to a customer’s complaint within 28 days however customers will receive an automated acknowledgement at first
Likewise with Virgin Atlantic, Thomas Cook’s complaints procedures are quite similar, as most complaints are tried to be dealt with there and then by ground staff. However customers can put forward a complaint on their website.
Customers are able to choose from the following on Thomas Cook’s website as to which of the following suite the customer’s request the best.
When customers select one of the options above the page is redirected and it give customers the option as to whether they want to they want to chat to one of their customer service advisors or call them on 01733 224 800. Alternatively customers are also able to write to Thomas Cook about their complaint to The TC Business Park, Conningsby Road, Peterborough PE3 8SB.
Virgin Atlantic's Mission statement:
Thomas Cook's Mission statement:
For example, Virgin Atlantic offers a lot of beneficial information to their customers, for example they offer airport guides. This shows the customer how to get to their chosen airport and what they can do there whilst they wait to board their plane. The airport plan also shows a mini map so customers can have a look where their boarding gate is, this might be very helpful to some customers as major airports such as London Heathrow can be very big and having a map can help them from getting lost and perhaps missing their flight.
Thomas Cook also offer a lot of information in which customers might find beneficial, however on their website they offer health advice for customers holiday. This will show customers if they need any vaccinations before they go on holiday or not. The blog also has many common health issues of tourists who go abroad and it shows people potential diseases and what to get and do to prevent these illnesses
Tour operators send out information to help the customer plan out their journey – this might include destination information and advice or details of excursions on offer.
For example, with Virgin Atlantic they offer an ancillary service called ‘The List’ this keeps customers satisfied as it offers a door to door airport transfer. Also there is ‘Baggage taken care of’ this is when customers checked in; customer’s luggage is tagged as Upper Class. Another benefit is ‘Fast track security’ this is when customers fly from London Heathrow, customers are able to go through Virgin Atlantic’s fast track Private Security Channel. Another option is Clubhouse access this enables customers to appreciate the ultimate preflight experience.
Furthermore, Thomas Cook offers an online check in service. Checking in online is supposed to fast track you through the check in procedure. Although you still have to check your luggage in, you shouldn't have to use the usual check in queue but a separate one for online check in, this keeps customers satisfied as they can quickly send their luggage through and it’s a lot stress free and allows the customers to get to their boarding gate quicker.
KEEPING EXISTING CUSTOMERS SATISFIED
INCREASING CUSTOMER LOYALTY & ENSURING REPEAT BUSINESS
Virgin Atlantic offer its customers a reward scheme called ‘Flying Club’ where frequent flyers or regular loyal customers choose to fly with Virgin are allowed to join the club to collect points and use then to upgrade their next flight or even save up to get a reward flight.
Thomas Cook offers a customer reward programme called ‘O-VOUCHERS’, giving customers discounts on travel-related essentials. The vouchers, which can be redeemed in store, online and by mobile, include deals on fashion, electronics and luggage.
ENHANCING AN ORGANISATION'S IMAGE
Virgin Atlantic looked to strengthen its recovery from recession with the UK launch of a £10 million global marketing campaign. The new campaign has been designed to build the airline’s brand presence across the globe and to stimulate increased demand for travel both to and from the UK.
The campaign will feature a series of print, outdoor and online advertisements promoting the airline's Upper Class product. Through iconic photography, the creative brings to life the glamour, style and comfort that comes with flying Virgin Atlantic Upper Class. As the headline of the campaign suggests, Virgin Atlantic is the definition of "Je ne sais quoi" - setting it apart from its competitors.
Thomas Cook has a charity that enhances their image. It’s called ‘Thomas Cook’s Children’s Charity’ the aim of the charity is to improve children’s lives and benefit the communities in which they live by working with Charity Partners that seek to benefit the lives of young people.
‘’ We aim to help children and enhance each individual life by focusing on the below four areas:
- Improving education facilities
- Improving facilities that provide well-being and health care
-Caring for the environment
-Providing safe clean drinking water
This enhances their image as it shows that they are making a difference and giving back to the community.
PROVIDING AN EDGE OVER COMPETITION
For example, Virgin Atlantic was the first airline to offer premium economy to customers. Premium Economy offers facilities and service more comparable to a traditional short-haul business class. Passengers have a separate check in and priority baggage handling.
However, Thomas Cook endless spirit of innovation started in 1841 and it is this that makes them stand out from the crowd as its one of the first and oldest established Travel organisation that has been so successful and is one of the main dominate travel company in today’s market share
ATTRACTING NEW CUSTOMERS
For example, Virgin Atlantic state that they are going to achieve to attract new customers they want to re-launch their online website to make it more user-friendly and easy for customers to use with more features and options available.
Virgin Atlantic's plan:
Furthermore, Thomas Cook have developed their TV advertisements as part of the travel company’s bid to reach a new digital audience of customers following its rebrand. Thomas Cook stated that ‘’ the company has significantly increased its TV advertising spend from £2 million last year to £10 million so far this year and hopes to make its brand “more relevant” to more people.’’ This shows that they have increased their marketing budget to increase their customer awareness through digital media to attract potential new customers.
CONSEQUENCES OF POOR CUSTOMER SERVICE
Virgin Atlantic Positive Customer Review:
Virgin Atlantic Negative Customer Review:
Having a negative customer review can have a negative image to the organisation and might change a customer’s choice as to whether or not they choose to fly with them
Thomas Cook's Negative Customer Review:
MEETING INDIVIDUAL CUSTOMER NEEDS AND EXCEEDING THEIR EXPECTATIONS
For example Virgin exceed customers’ needs by meeting customer needs means supplying them with the vital info they will need for their trip such as time, date, terminal, boarding gate however meeting individual customers need means advising customers about airport transfers to and from the airport. Therefore this is more specific towards the customer and is exceeding their needs.
Likewise with Thomas Cook, they will also supply customer’s with all the details in which they will need prior their holiday but exceeding their needs Thomas Cook will suggest local and nearby restaurants that are in the area of the customer’s chosen holiday destination, thus meeting the customer’s needs.
HAPPIER WORKING ENVIRONMENT AND HIGHER SELF-ESTEEM
For example, to provide a safe and secure working environment, Virgin Atlantic's requirements are:
This shows that they have a policy to ensure that their employees have a safe and secure working environment.
Furthermore, Thomas Cook state on their website that ‘’ We believe that 'quality of life' is a basic right of our customers, our employees and the communities in the destinations we visit and that people are the ultimate drivers of our business and of our need to develop responsible tourism. We will promote fair working conditions throughout our business and, where possible, will work together with local communities to ensure that they benefit as much as possible from the visits of our customers.’’ This therefore shows that the also ensure a good standard of safe and secure working environment is in place for all their employees, thus making it a happier working environment also.
JOB SECURITY & PROMOTION
For example, Virgin Atlantic uses communication and employee involvement to motivate employees, this can be satisfying for employees as they will be involved and informed about what they are doing well within their job position. Richard Branson, founder of the brand is engaged in “writing his staff what he describes as ‘chatty’ letters and emails to let them know what is going on, and encouraging them to write back with comments and ideas.
Thomas Cook’s sales have increased. This may be due to customers having a more disposable income and the economic climate that’s improving. This is job satisfaction for employees as it means more people are booking holidays therefore employees are able to meet and exceed more customers’ needs. For example, Thomas Cook stated that ‘’ The summer season is already 50% sold, one percentage point more than this time last year, with overall bookings 2% higher than last year.
Bookings for the UK business were 3% higher than last year, the company said. Average selling prices were 2% lower, partly due to customers wanting shorter holidays.’’
For example Virgin Atlantic states that ‘’employees are involved in the decision-making process, are motivated to achieve the goals and vision by being provided a sense of belonging. That, coupled with a charismatic and communicative leadership, open to ideas and innovation, has helped the Virgin Group motivate its employee by fulfilling their psychological needs like recognition and a desire for success’’ this therefore shows that employees are given a lot of responsibility and therefore are trained well within the organisation, therefore with time and experience they will be able to be promoted up the hierarchy within the company.
Furthermore, with Thomas Cook, they have improved their training for employees to ensure they are trained to the highest standard possible; therefore there will be a low staff turnover rate and a higher job security for employees. For example, according to Thomas Cook’s PLC website they have stated that ‘’by providing training and career development opportunities for every employee, we ensure our workforce is highly skilled and we retain the best people within our business. In 2009 we invested £11,183,619 in training for our employees around the world’’ this therefore shows that Thomas Cook have expanded their human resources budget to ensure their employees do well and also receive job satisfaction.