Travel agents: how co-creation leads to the loyalty of your customers

‘’One of the most powerful ways to engage customers and deliver unique value’’ (KnowledgeBrief, 2018). That is what co-creation is all about. Although it is not as easy as it sounds, making effective use of co-creation can be very beneficial and rewarding for your company. For the example of Expedia, the ins and outs of co-creation will be described.

First of all, as mentioned before, co-creation is a method of engaging your customers in the development of new value. This can be everything, from a new concept, to a solution for a problem, to an innovative product, or an improved service. Looking at the Facebook page of Expedia, you can see that they are already making use of co-creation. In this case, a Facebook post about Hangzhou, China has been published, in collaboration with Hangzhou Tourism, where you can create your own trip to Hangzhou, and personalise it to your own wishes and preferences, together with Expedia, who is giving options to choose from (Expedia, Inc., 2018).

Expedia Hangzhou 1

 

Expedia Hangzhou 2

 

Expedia Hangzhou 3

 

Expedia Hangzhou 4

 

Expedia Hangzhou 5

This is already a very good example of co-creation. By means of this concept, travellers are able to create their own trip, which will lead to them feeling unique.

However, the method of co-creation can be applied to a lot of different products and services, and can be done in the following ways, by means of:

  1. Co-innovation
  2. Co-production
  3. Customization
  4. Integration

1. Co-innovation: co-innovation is the process of innovating an existing product together (in this case, Expedia together with its customers). With regards to Expedia, this can be done by posting an already existing package deal on the Facebook page of Expedia for example, and asking their customers what they would want to change, in order to make it more innovative and adjusted to their wants and needs.

2. Co-production: co-production is producing a product together, by means of involvement of the customer. With input of the customer, a new product can be produced.

3. Customization: This is similar to the example of Hangzhou mentioned above. A destination is being provided by Expedia, Hangzhou in this case, and customers can customize and personalise this trip for themselves. By doing this, a ‘’different’’ product can be created for each customer, which will lead to them feeling appreciated.

4. Integration: Combining different products together. An example could be that the customers can buy their own flight tickets at a partner company of Expedia, and this can be combined with an accommodation provided by Expedia for their trip. In this way, two separate products are being integrated together (Peelen, E. & Beltman, R., 2013).

In conclusion, it is advisable for travel agencies to make use of a certain type of co-creation. When implementing a co-creation strategy, this will lead to customers feeling involved in the decision-making process. When they see that they are involved in this process, and they are satisfied with the outcome, they will be more likely to return and to book another trip at this travel agency. This leads to loyalty of the customer for the travel agency, and to them feeling more engaged, since they have been involved in a (small) part of the process.

References

Expedia, Inc. (2018, September 19). Enter for the chance to win a trip to Hangzhou. Retrieved from Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Expedia.co.uk/

Expedia, Inc. (2018). Hangzhou holiday Pick n Mix service. Retrieved from Expedia, Inc.: https://hangzhouholiday.expedia.co.uk/discover.html

KnowledgeBrief. (2018). Co-creation – What is it? Definition, examples and more. Retrieved from KbManage: https://www.kbmanage.com/concept/co-creation

Peelen, E. & Beltman, R. (2013). Customer Relationship Management. Harlow: Pearson.

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