Customer service in tourism
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Global hotel chains invest in East Africa’s growing tourism sector

Global hotel chains invest in East Africa’s growing tourism sector | Customer service in tourism | Scoop.it

"Luxury hotels are planning and setting up new units in major cities across the region ..."


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Customer service in tourism
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Why is consumer empathy so important? Customer care

Why is consumer empathy so important? Customer care | Customer service in tourism | Scoop.it

"Empathy is defined as understanding or able to understand the feeling of others. Nowadays consumer empathy and consumer satisfaction have become the very important role for a firm to grow its business ..."

Leona Ungerer's insight:

This post relates to section, 3.5: Customer expectations. It is mentioned that 'Customers subconsciously evaluate businesses not only on the basis of whether they give them what they want but on the strength of meeting the six basic customer needs, of which understanding and empathy is one.  

Under section 3.5.1: Generic customer expectations, it is mentioned 

4     Empathy.  Empathy is the essence of a customer-oriented approach. lt is a person's ability to see and feel things from someone else's point of view. Customers expect service employees to understand their concerns. Customers do not expect to be treated as though their presence is an imposition on the employees or an interruption of their work.

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Cloud technology is the key to personalise South Africa's travel experiences | IT News Africa – Africa's Technology News Leader

Cloud technology is the key to personalise South Africa's travel experiences | IT News Africa – Africa's Technology News Leader | Customer service in tourism | Scoop.it

"For the travel industry, the customer's experience is perhaps the most important variable in ..."

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Leona Ungerer's insight:

This post relates to a number of units in the study guide, for instance, Study unit 1: Forces impacting on tourism (1.3: Political forces; 1.5: Direct and indirect competition; 1.6: Technology). It also relates to Study unit 3: The tourist as a human being (3.5: Customer expectations).

It further relates to section 5.4: The role of internet-based technologies in travel behaviour and mentions loyalty, which is covered in section 16.3: Customer loyalty. 

Enjoy!

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How technology is changing the travel and tourism industry 

How technology is changing the travel and tourism industry  | Customer service in tourism | Scoop.it

"Technology has placed a crucial role in the tourism and hospitality industry. It allowed the hospitality industry to offer better options for users and at the same time, it helps them to understand the individual needs of different persons ..."

Leona Ungerer's insight:

This post particularly relates to study unit 1: Forces impacting on tourism, especially 1.6 which relates to the role of technology as a force impacting on tourism.  

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How the medical-tourism business thrives - Sun, sea and surgery

How the medical-tourism business thrives - Sun, sea and surgery | Customer service in tourism | Scoop.it

"In the tiny Croatian town of Zabok patients arrive in their thousands each year from across Europe and the Middle East, seeking replacement hips or knees at the St Catherine hospital, which specialises in orthopaedic work ..."

Leona Ungerer's insight:

This post relates to study unit 2: Challenges  and  opportunities    in the diversity of tourism markets.  It also relates to the risks that tourists face (medical tourism may especially involve some of the risks discussed in section 5.3.2     High IeveIs of insecurity Iinked to intangibiIity. 

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Sexual harassment is rampant in local restaurants

Sexual harassment is rampant in local restaurants | Customer service in tourism | Scoop.it

"Whether its from coworkers, customers or management, sexual harassment is an issue in Asheville's restaurants and bars ..."

Leona Ungerer's insight:

This post relates to section I0.2:  Inherent  problems in customer-staff relations (see, for instance, that some customers believe that they have power and that restaurant employees have to yield to their demands). There often are status and economic differences between tourists and tourism workers, which may give rise to these expectations. 

The post also mentions professionalism, one of the three PRs of customer-contact employees' responsibilities (combined with pride and proficiency).   (See section I0.3: Customer-contact  employees’ responsibilities).

Finally, the post relates to section I0.4.I:    Personal attitudes and abilities, where it is mentioned, 'The emotional component of abilities and attitudes probably poses the greatest challenge for customer-contact employees'. 

 

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Client versus customer: How the customer relationship is defined by what you call your audience 

Client versus customer: How the customer relationship is defined by what you call your audience  | Customer service in tourism | Scoop.it

"What you call a customer might feel like nitpicking, but this easy-to-overlook term carries huge marketing implications ..."

Leona Ungerer's insight:

This post relates to some extent to section 6.2.1: The company's service niche (the post indicates that each company has a target audience). It also relates to Maslow's hierarchy of needs. The post refers to 'insider status', which may relate to social, as well as esteem needs.  

It also highlights the importance of communication in a service environment and that it is advisable to use suitable terms for a specific context. 

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Solving the customer-experience puzzle: A guidebook for government leaders | McKinsey & Company

Solving the customer-experience puzzle: A guidebook for government leaders | McKinsey & Company | Customer service in tourism | Scoop.it

"It takes focus to transform public-sector agencies to serve a diverse set of customers better. A ready reference--based on lessons from government leaders--can help ..."

Leona Ungerer's insight:

Although this post provides suggestions for government leaders, a lot of its content is relevant to IOP1502. And of course, considering that so many citizens are customers of governmental institutions, it is good to know that the same principles of supportive customer service ideally apply.

See, for instance, the reference to a customer-centric approach,  focusing on customer needs and walking in the footsteps of customers to get an idea of their experiences/perceptions. This especially relates to customer research (6.2.2) and notice how important customer-contact/frontline staff are - they interact most closely with customers and often understand customers' needs very well.

See also that a customer-centric approach involves all levels of an organisation.  The post also refers to customer satisfaction and that it is important to know what customers expect. Customers' expectations play an important role in whether they will be satisfied with their interaction with a company. Tourist satisfaction is discussed in section 15.4.

Some elements of system design (9.2) may also be relevant to this post, for instance, the discussion around customer pain points and waiting time.       

 

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The future of travel and tourism. Travel trends and predictions. Helping Dreamers Do

The future of travel and tourism. Travel trends and predictions. Helping Dreamers Do | Customer service in tourism | Scoop.it

"Travel trends and predictions. Five big ideas and trends that we think will shape the future of tourism and travel, from the experience economy to overtourism ..."

Leona Ungerer's insight:

This post relates to a term that we use in IOP1502, namely 'emancipated tourists'. See, for instance, the following excerpt from section 1.2: Social and cultural forces, "Because of tourism's impact on the host country, for example on its natural resources, better-behaved tourists, in general, are desirable -  people with respect for the culture, nature and the population and with higher moral values. People like these are known as emancipated tourists".

 

This post may also relate to section 11.2: Reasons why communication fails. See in particular section 11.2.4: Stereotyping. A fear of strangers may point to stereotyping, occurring when a group of people is assigned a similar set of characteristics. A stereotype is often negative and untrue.

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Recognition is the best way to improve employee morale

Recognition is the best way to improve employee morale | Customer service in tourism | Scoop.it

"More than ever before, organizations rely on their employees' involvement, enthusiasm and commitment to be successful. The best customer service can only be achieved when employees bring their best selves to work each and every day. But how can leaders in an organization ensure that each employee does this? ..."

Leona Ungerer's insight:

This post relates to section 8.2.3.1: Rewarding and recognising excellent customer service, where it is mentioned that if a company wants its staff to stay and grow with the company, it should recognise and reward them, not just for their years of service but for their accomplishments along the way.  This post supports something that is mentioned in this section, namely that rewards do not always have to be expensive and the author also suggests adding a fun element to rewarding and recognising staff members.  

 

Acknowledging good work typically supports employees' commitment and morale, as evident in the post.   

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Africa: Mastercard takes African unemployment head on

Africa: Mastercard takes African unemployment head on | Customer service in tourism | Scoop.it

"The Mastercard Foundation has announced a commitment to enable 30 million African youth, especially young women, to secure dignified and fulfilling work by 2030 ..."

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Leona Ungerer's insight:

This post relates to Maslow's self-actualisation level (enabling women to have dignified and fulfilling work by 2030). It also shows how a company should be aware of its surrounding, for instance, high levels of unemployment in Africa.  Poverty reduction may also relate to Maslow's self-actualisation needs level. This post further shows an awareness that tourism may hold opportunities for countries, and young people, therefore, are trained in some of the required skills in this field. 

See 3.2.1:    Maslow's theory  of motivation

It is mentioned in the post,  'It is a consortium of partners from the education, development, and private sectors'. This relates to information presented in the study guide (1.2: Social and cultural forces), namely that both the government and the private sector in tourism need to become involved to solve some of the problems experienced in South Africa (e.g., language problems) and to demonstrate that tourism can be beneficial to all South  Africans. 

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Four ways that feedback can get your priorities straight

Four ways that feedback can get your priorities straight | Customer service in tourism | Scoop.it

"Find out how hotel managers, marketers, and CEOs use guest feedback technology to help them make informed decisions about budget, HR, and guest experience ..."

Leona Ungerer's insight:

This post relates to Study unit 3: The tourist as a human being (see, for instance, 3.2: Customer needs.  It is mentioned in this section that "The methods companies use to conduct business must be analysed in terms of what the customer wants and needs. Market research activities should focus on identifying these needs, while policies and procedures should be structured to meet the identified needs".  The post also relates to section 6.2.2: Customer research. 

Feedback technology may assist in determining training needs and even determine opportunities for reward and recognition (see section 8.2.3.3:   Rewarding and recognising exceIIent customer  service).  

Finally, the post mentions a number of South African hospitality service providers. 

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Africans need the freedom to travel in their own continent. Here’s why

Africans need the freedom to travel in their own continent. Here’s why | Customer service in tourism | Scoop.it

"For millions of Africans travelling across borders in their own continent is expensive and time-consuming. The barriers are also holding up economic development ..."

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Leona Ungerer's insight:

This post relates to a number of topics covered in IOP1502, for instance 5.3.2: High IeveIs of insecurity Iinked to intangibiIity (travelling may be expensive, for instance, having to pay for a visa, pointing to financial risk), and it may be time-consuming (for instance, obtaining a visa, pointing to time risk).  It also may be related to 3.2.I:  Maslow's theory of motivation (self-actualisation = finding employment, economic development).  It may also relate to I.2: Social and cultural forces (tourism awareness).  

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Tourism – techy trends to watch - Gadget Guy Australia

Tourism – techy trends to watch - Gadget Guy Australia | Customer service in tourism | Scoop.it

"Leading data and analytics company, GlobalData has released a report ‘Technology Trends in Travel and Tourism’. It found that travel companies are using various technologies to engage with customers at every stage of their journey ..."

Leona Ungerer's insight:

I referred to the impact of technological forces in a number of posts already (Study unit 1: Forces impacting on tourism; 1.6: Technology).  This post is also relevant to Study unit 5: Tourism decision-making (e.g., 5.4.1 Travellers as users of new technologies)  

 

The final paragraph in this post, "The days of offering a pillow menu or room gift are well and truly over – they are expected. Smart tourism and travel are the next big things.', has implications for a topic discussed in Study unit 16: Differentiating a company's service: customer value, loyalty and trust (see 16.2.1: The hierarchy of customer value).  Tourist may start to expect services such as free Wi-Fi as givens (and they will then be situated on the basic and expected value levels).  

 

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Traveling all over the world has convinced me that Uber and its competitors aren't going anywhere — and for good reason

Traveling all over the world has convinced me that Uber and its competitors aren't going anywhere — and for good reason | Customer service in tourism | Scoop.it

"After using taxis and ride-hailing services like Uber in dozens of countries, I've become convinced that ride-hailing apps are here to stay, with or without regulation, for a simple reason: they serve a need ..."

Leona Ungerer's insight:

This post relates to the risks that tourists face, in this case, financial risk because they may be deceived about the fees for a particular trip (see section 5.3.2: High levels of insecurity Iinked to intangibility). 

The post also relates to some extent to section 5.3.6: A high IeveI of information search may be necessary.  Since tourists often find themselves in unfamiliar terrain, some may look for a considerable amount of information when planning their trips.  See, for instance, how the author noticed that some taxi drivers avoided him because of possible language barriers. 

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The creepy ways restaurants play tricks on your mind

The creepy ways restaurants play tricks on your mind | Customer service in tourism | Scoop.it

"When you go into a restaurant, there's a whole scheme of carefully planned elements influencing what you eat, how much you spend, and how long you'll stay. Don't think you're that easily influenced? Read on, and judge for yourself ...."

Leona Ungerer's insight:

This post is not strongly related to a particular study unit, but it may to some extent illustrate the impact of people's perceptions during the service experience.  

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Ritz-Carlton tops guest satisfaction study –

Ritz-Carlton tops guest satisfaction study – | Customer service in tourism | Scoop.it

"Marriott’s luxury brand has attained the highest ever score in the latest JD Power North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study..." 

Leona Ungerer's insight:

This post relates to study unit 15: Differentiating a company's service:  Service quality and tourist satisfaction. See the seven factors that hotels were rated on — reservations, check-in/check-out, guest rooms, food & beverage, hotel services, hotel facilities, and cost & fees.

The categories involved, namely luxury; upper upscale; upscale; upper midscale; midscale; economy; upper extended stay; and extended stay refer to market segmentation - catering for the needs of a particular group of customers.  

Finally, see how peripheral services add to the value of a company's core service (in this case, accommodation). The post mentions that investments in offerings such as higher-end televisions and in-room tablets paid off.   See section 5.2.2: Types of services, where it is mentioned,  "Peripheral services are the other minor services and service add-ons that companies provide. Secondary services should complement, support and add value to primary services". 

 

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The science hiding in Mickey's pixie dust | Smith Business Insight 

The science hiding in Mickey's pixie dust | Smith Business Insight  | Customer service in tourism | Scoop.it

"Disney World is where magic makes dreams come true, but it’s also the land of unbearable wait times. If you want to ride the Haunted Mansion or meet Cinderella, get ready to stand in line for two hours in the scorching Florida heat ..."

Leona Ungerer's insight:

This post relates to section 9.3.2.I:   Procedures for customer flow, especially guidelines for managing waiting times. See the recommendation that is is advisable to keep the customer occupied while waiting. When people do something while they are waiting,  the wait seems shorter than when they are idle. 

The post also relates to section 6.2.2: Customer research. 

A statement in the post, 'The takeaway: under-promising and over-delivering can have a positive impact on a guest’s perceived experience at Disney' relates to a statement in the study guide, 

'Managing customer  expectations is an important  factor in service excellence. If, for instance, a client waiting for a table in a restaurant,  is told that the waiting time will be slightly more than expected, customers will be delighted when the wait is actually shorter than predicted'. 

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Oracle study reveals travelers' preferences and perceptions of hotel loyalty programs 

Oracle study reveals travelers' preferences and perceptions of hotel loyalty programs  | Customer service in tourism | Scoop.it

"When it comes to choosing where to travel and stay on their journey, many consumers are looking to social influencers for aspirational  recommendations. That's according to the findings of a recent global study by Oracle auditing consumer perceptions and hospitality brand realities of loyalty programs and influences ..."

Leona Ungerer's insight:

This post relates to section 16.3: Customer loyalty and section 16.4: Customer trust.  It also is evident from the post that businesses should not make assumptions about customers' preferences (e.g., about loyalty programmes), but rather ask them about their preferences or undertake customer research. See also that travelers rely on information that they obtain through word-of-mouth in making their decisions.    

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Comfort brand unveiled new logo

Comfort brand unveiled new logo | Customer service in tourism | Scoop.it

"The Comfort brand revealed a new logo to thousands of franchisees at Choice Hotels' annual convention. The unveiling marks an important milestone for the brand which has been experiencing a renaissance since committing to change seven years ago ..."

Leona Ungerer's insight:

This post relates to a concept known as positioning, which is explained as follows in the study guide, "Positioning involves establishing an image for a specific product or service in relation to competing brands. lt conveys the concept or meaning of the product or service in terms of how it fulfills a consumer need - a particular personality is therefore created for the product or service.

Tourists may also be loyal to certain brands such as Comfort hotels.  See section 16.3 for a discussion of customer loyalty. 

We do not focus in depth on market segmentation in IOP1502. In the study guide, it is mentioned,  "The purpose of this module is to only make you aware of the fact that you will probably be focusing your efforts on a particular service niche or a few market segments in a particular tourism sector. See, for instance, how the post points out that Comfort hotels focus on a particular market segment.   

The post also relates to the fact that companies may have to re-invent themselves to remain relevant and they should ensure that they have a clear image in customers'/tourists' minds. 

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Understanding the new Chinese traveller | WARC

Understanding the new Chinese traveller | WARC | Customer service in tourism | Scoop.it

"With the number of overseas Chinese tourists predicted to rise exponentially by 2023, PSI’s James McEwan takes a closer look at the new Chinese travel market ..."

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Leona Ungerer's insight:

The information in this post relates to section 2.2: Challenges and opportunities in emerging markets, particularly the section referring to Outbound tourism from Asian countries.  It is, for instance, mentioned in this section that 'As Asian people travel further, it will be important for the tourism industry at their destinations to recognise how their culture and the nature of their demand differ from that of other markets'.  

The discussion on how Chinese travellers make use of WeChat in order to find information and make bookings, refers to another topic discussed in section 2.2 (Challenges and opportunities in emerging markets), namely direct booking. It also relates to the impact of technological forces on the tourism environment.    

The section entitled, "Shop, shop, shop" in this post also points to an important motivator for some Chinese travellers, namely shopping. See section 4.2.1: The number and range of motivators. It is, for instance, mentioned in this section, "Shopping is not only one of the most common tourist activities, but may, in certain circumstances, be the most important motivator for travel away from home, and even for international travel'. 

 

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The anxious traveller — how you can help [checklist]

The anxious traveller — how you can help [checklist] | Customer service in tourism | Scoop.it

"We look at how accommodation providers can help their guests to feel more at ease when making a booking before they arrive, and during their stays ..."

Leona Ungerer's insight:

The post again relates to some of the risks that tourists experience/perceive. See the explanation of the six types of risk that tourists often face under 5.3.2:   High levels of insecurity Iinked to intangibility.

 

The post elaborates on how accommodation providers can reduce some of the risks that travelers perceive/reduce their possible anxieties. This is an excellent strategy to ensure that one's customers may experience some peace of mind, for instance, by pre-empting their information needs. 

 

The post also relates to section 5.3: Complexities in tourism decision-making, especially 5.3.6: A high level of information search may be necessary. By providing information in advance, accommodation providers may contribute to simplifying tourists' decision-making. 

 

Finally, wellness tourism is mentioned, which refers to an emerging market, or trends in the tourism industry (see, for instance, 2.2: Challenges and opportunities in emerging markets).  

 

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Technology is changing the travel industry: here’s how

Technology is changing the travel industry: here’s how | Customer service in tourism | Scoop.it

"For an industry that has been resistant to incorporating evolving technology into the mix, travel and tourism is ripe for disruption that will touch on every phase of the customer experience ..."

Leona Ungerer's insight:

This posts again links to the broad theme of the impact of technology on travel and tourism (Study unit 1:  Forces impacting on tourism - 1.6: Technology). It also relates to customers' needs and the risks that tourists perceive/experience.  See, for instance,  customers' six basic needs (under 3.5 Customer expectations), namely friendliness, understanding and empathy, fairness, control, options and alternative and information). If there are monopolies in the tourism industry that impact on prices, tourists' need for fairness may be violated, as well as their need for control. 

 

The post also relates to some of the risks that tourists experience/perceive, for instance, financial risk (when they have to pay higher prices because of monopolies or a lack of transparency and time risk, for instance, wasting one's time in trying to have your problems resolved through travel operators). See the explanation of the six types of risk that tourists often face under 5.3.2:   High IeveIs of insecurity Iinked to intangibility.

 

If tourists' experience of risk is reduced when they notice the TripAdvisor logo on the premises of tourism enterprises, it may serve as a risk-reducing strategy for these enterprises. Tourists make use of a number of risk-reducing strategies, such as planning their own trips or being loyal to certain service providers. Although the post indicates that TripAdvisor also has its limitations, tourists may feel comforted by the fact that other tourists have reviewed the particular enterprise (and they can do so too).
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How Hilton uses Formula One to drive bookings

How Hilton uses Formula One to drive bookings | Customer service in tourism | Scoop.it

"Hotels and auto racing teams seem unlikely bedfellows but Hilton's partnership of the McLaren Formula One team is an exception. The hospitality giant has developed innovative initiatives which drive a return and insulate it from the unpredictability of race results ..."

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Leona Ungerer's insight:

This post relates to positioning (creating a unique image for a brand), an aspect that we do not focus a lot on in Customer Service in Tourism, but it relates to marketing.  Hilton's partnership with McLaren Formula One and the initiatives resulting from it make it attractive to Formula One fans, a specific type of target market (companies typically have target markets that they focus their initiatives on). 

 

The Hilton would typically aim at the luxury market, as is also evident in the post.  See the mention of loyalty among guests and how the Formula One experience contributes to establishing loyalty.  We focus on loyalty in section 16:3 Customer loyalty.

 

Of particular interest is the mention of the Hilton's brand values, Hospitality, Integrity, Leadership, Teamwork, Ownership and Now. See section 8.2.2:  Providing a supportive environment, where it is mentioned that safety, courtesy, show and efficiency are useful values for most businesses in the hospitality and tourism industry. 

 

Finally, the mention of 'member-only competitions offering prizes such as VIP trips to races where the winners eat at the same restaurants as the drivers and stay in the same hotels as them' may point to Maslow's esteem needs.  

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Outbound tourism for Chinese travelers

Outbound tourism for Chinese travelers | Customer service in tourism | Scoop.it

"The leading online visa and passport application solution, VisaHQ, announced today that it has entered into an agreement with Fliggy to expand the coverage of the latter’s Online Visa Center to 11 new travel destinations ..."

Leona Ungerer's insight:

The information in this post relates to Study unit 2: Challenges and opportunities in the diversity of tourism markets (particularly outbound tourism from Asian countries, pointing to an emerging market). It also relates to Study unit 5: Tourism decision-making (particularly 5.3: Complexities in tourism decision-making). A number of service providers may be involved in travel decisions and the trend that visa requirements may change, points to some of the complexities involved. That is why tourists sometimes rely on travel agents to assist them with their travel arrangement.   

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Seven remarkably powerful ways to improve your customer service 

Seven remarkably powerful ways to improve your customer service  | Customer service in tourism | Scoop.it

"Customer service transformation isn’t easy, but it’s one of the most effective ways to improve business performance. If you’re looking for a place to start, here are seven service catalysts that can bring powerful results ..."

Leona Ungerer's insight:

Study unit 8: Human capacity development, (e.g. 8.2: The company's responsibilities towards customer-contact employees, 8.2.1.: Selecting suitable customer-contact employees, 8.2.2.1: S Training, 8.2.2.2: Empowerment).  Enjoy!

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