What happens when you’re on holiday? You make memories you want to share. It was a no-brainer for British Airways Holidays to start asking customers to share their holiday memories in the form of reviews, stories and photos.

But it was the possibilities of what they could do with that user-generated content (UGC) which was the real surprise. The British Airways Holidays team used UGC in an ad campaign, listened more closely to customers, kept a closer eye on suppliers, and even started its own awards ceremony for hotels.

BAH-website

We had a chat with Catherine Onions, head of customer service and quality at British Airways Holidays about the many ways Reevoo is changing the way BAH is doing business.

How was BA Holidays collecting feedback and user-generated content before partnering with Reevoo?

We used an in-house solution which served its purpose in terms of collecting scores, but the survey was lengthier to complete and wasn’t mobile enabled so our response rate wasn’t as strong as it is now.

Our analytics capability was limited, and it also didn’t have the credibility associated with using an external independent partner and a recognised Trustmark.

Why and how do you use Reevoo reviews and Experiences on the British Airways Holidays site?

We’ve just started to ‘commercialise’ our strong satisfaction results, publishing some of our key metrics e.g. ‘likelihood to book again’ at strategic points in the customer journey – to help build confidence in our customer’s purchasing decisions. 

What has been some of your favourite Experiences content collected?

Our customers have shared some fantastic memories that all resonate in different ways. Some capture life’s big events like getting engaged, getting married, seeing their child take his first steps, while others are all about the trip of a lifetime featuring helicopter rides and other big one-off adventures.

Experiences-collage
Experiences content collected for British Airways Holidays

Many talk about less grand – but equally important – events like sharing quality time with friends and family and of course there are some comedy ones too, such as a customer in his 20s who recently described his favourite memory as ‘waking up with 8 girls in his bed’ – that’s Las Vegas for you!

You decide to organise the Customer Excellence Awards for the hotels you work with, giving awards based on the Reevoo scores. Why? What has been the result?

We saw that there were many hotels we work with that were consistently getting fantastic customer feedback and we wanted to recognise this in a really positive way.

Using the Reevoo overall score was a great way to objectively pick out those hotels who have really delivered an amazing customer experience and strengthen our partnership with them by giving them an award they can proudly display at their property.

We set thresholds for a minimum number of reviews and a minimum score, and identified some 200 properties that met this criteria in 2016. Working with Reevoo, we produced framed certificates showcasing their achievement and are giving out the awards when our hotel buyers are out visiting these properties.

British Airways Holidays awards
The awards being handed out a BA Holidays' recent event in Cyprus

It’s gone down really well amongst recipients, and we’ve even heard that other hotels that didn’t meet the criteria this year are asking what they need to change to ensure they find themselves in the 2017 hall of fame!

You mentioned that the partnership has been a great way to collect ‘actionable insights’. Can you talk about actions you’ve taken?

It’s really important to us that customers can trust that all the hotels we work with represent good quality and value.

We use our customer feedback to focus on any hotels that receive a lower score than we’d expect and take appropriate action, whether that’s working with the property to address any areas of dissatisfaction or, in extreme, discontinuing to offer certain hotels. We also use a combination of the scores and the free text comments to sense check we’re describing the hotels accurately and have given it the appropriate star rating.

There are loads of other examples too, but the key point is that it’s an opportunity to hear what our customers think and take action to improve the experience for future customers.

How has Experiences changed the internal culture at BA Holidays?

When you work for a tour operator arranging holidays for thousands of customers every day it can be difficult to always keep front of mind that every single person that travels with us is different.

Reading about our customers’ experience and seeing their pics showcase the wide range of people who travel with us; couples, families, friends, of all ages and backgrounds – there isn’t a ‘typical’ BA Holidays customer – and it’s good to remember this.

Experiences also brings it home that the one thing our customers do have in common is that they expect their holiday to be memorable – albeit for lots of varying reasons – and really, enabling this is what working in travel is all about.

What’s next for BA Holidays and Experiences?

We’d like to be able to share our customer feedback and scores at a hotel by hotel level when future customers are researching holidays with us.

We feature over 12,000 properties so we need to make sure we’ve collected sufficient feedback to be able to give representative feedback, but we have over 80,000 reviews so we’re not far off this! We think this feedback is better than other generic review sites because,

a) it’s specifically from other BA Holidays customers;

b) it’s validated – so readers know for sure that the reviewer has actually stayed there.

Want to see more about our work with BA Holidays? Read the case study.

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