introduction

why was the service needed?

the background

Suntours (Aurinkomatkat) is a market leading tour operator in Finland and Estonia. Before the design and development of the Suntours app, the digital customer journey of Suntours was fragmented and ended before the start of the customer’s holiday. Other than traditional face-to-face encounters with destination guides, Suntours had no way to enrich the customer’s holiday experience. What’s more, Suntours needed measurable information about customer behaviour while on holiday. The analysis of this information would help Suntours enhance experiences in a customer-centric way, increasing overall customer satisfaction and excursion sales. 
logo
founded in

1963

Trips to

34

different countries
competitors

where is the demand?

the customer lifecycle & strategic position

Because the digital customer experience was ending before the holiday began, the primary strategic position for the digital solution would be to serve customers while they are enjoying their holiday at the destination. This would help Suntours to ensure a successful experience from a customer point of view, as well as enhance the general experience at the destination. There would also be a strategic focus to serve customers after booking, while they are preparing for their trip. 

WHOM DOES THE SERVICE TARGET?

the suntours customer in brief

Suntours’ typical customers are Nordic families or couples looking to spend leisure time in a warm climate. They appreciate guidance, and often have many questions for destination guides. They prefer to be served in their native language.
favourite destination in europe: crete
favourite destination in asia: thailand
average booking is made

112

days before the trip
average group size is

2.5

travelers
average traveler is

44

years old
out of all customers

34%

repeat their past journeys

the approach

what did we want to achieve?

identifying the principal customer needs and the pain points of the experience

The strategic goal of Suntours was to establish the first on-site digital service that targets Suntours customers. Therefore, it was essential to have a customer-centric approach in order to find out what kind of digital partner Suntours customers would prefer. Because customers have greatly enjoyed the traditional destination guide work with a human touch, it became apparent that a mobile service supporting this would enhance the overall customer experience in an optimal way. 

1

2

3

Detailed mapping of the customer journey & touchpoints

We identified the relevant touchpoints of an entire trip by mapping the customer journey. With the help of Suntours’ customer experience experts, we also identified the pain points of the customer journey and the areas needing improvement.

the knowledge & the expertise of customer service and destination guides put to use

By interviewing destination guides and people who work in customer service, we found out that the digitalisation of on-site communication with customers would be appreciated, as guides had limited and scattered physical resources to handle assistance requests. The digitalisation of destination information and excursion and service booking was in high demand, too. Digitalisation would not only decrease the amount of manual labour needed, but would also give guides resources to focus on meaningful encounters, enhancing the overall customer experience. 

prototyping the hypothesis and listening to customers

Most important of all was listening to the customers, which is why we conducted face-to-face interviews in Phuket, Thailand. We reflected our early thinking back to them in an understandable format, along with a prototype. It became apparent that customers wanted to have a great overall experience at the destination, valued personal assistance and availability of the destination guides, and needed destination information such as where to eat and what to do. A clear and visible holiday schedule was also in high demand, as missing information caused stress throughout each phase of the customer journey.

what were the holistic conclusions?

the insights

the heart of the travel experience is the experience itself

The main driver behind travel is to have a great time with family and friends at the destination. Any digital solution designed for destination usage should not consume this valuable time, but rather, increase it.

mobility & 24/7 connectivity has become the new convention

Mobility has become a permanent and integrated part of our lives. Because they are a source of unlimited travel information, smartphones have largely replaced books.

relevancy & contextuality will save time & effort

People are being offered a vast amount of information, and they can easily feel flooded. Contextuality offers a more customer-friendly way to slice information into relevant, well-timed pieces.

tailoring & customisation make things fit and create engagement

Offering everyone the same solution is a no-go. Customers want to tailor their holidays to their personal preferences. They should feel empowered to do this, as it increases the likelihood of holiday repetition.

the concept

1

what do customers want from their trips?

the 4 principal customer needs on a holiday

2

What were the problems in the customer experience?

the pain points of a holiday

3

the idea & solution

a stress-free experience saving holiday time & effort

A CONTEXTUAL, INFORMATIONAL TRIP CALENDAR TO ORGANISE THE HOLIDAY SCHEDULE

From the customer point of view, there were multiple moments within the customer journey where uncertainty or unavailable information caused stress. These issues also encumbered customer service as they converted to contacts. A linear calendar would help resolve these issues by bringing more structure, clarity and transparency to the experience.

PERSONAL CUSTOMER SERVICE CHAT AVAILABLE ANY TIME, ANY PLACE

It is difficult for customers when destination guides are only available for a short period of time in a predetermined place. What’s more, customers wanted the option to contact destination guides before their trips. With chat, the comprehensive destination knowledge of the destination guides would be available any time and place, and customers would be able to get instant assistance no matter where they are.

EXCURSION & SERVICE BOOKING AVAILABLE ANY TIME, ANY PLACE

The excursion and service offering was only available in flyers handed out to customers in airport busses and in booklets in hotel lobbies. This print material was inconvenient for customers, and difficult to keep updated. During the holiday, it was only possible to book excursions and services by meeting the destination guide. With excursion and service booking enabled in the app, Suntours would offer more unforgettable experiences to its customers in a more convenient format.

DESTINATION INFO AVAILABLE ON A MAP BEFORE AND DURING THE TRIP

Every target group we interviewed preferred to have detailed information about destination-specific services such as hotels, restaurants, beaches and sights. The same themes repeated as we interviewed the destination guides. By making both information and maps available for customers, even without an internet connection, we would drastically enhance their holiday experience.

4

the concept

contextual service concept based on 
the principal customer needs

trip calendar

Trip Calendar is designed to ensure a stress-free holiday experience for everyone. It gathers all the important holiday-related information and required user actions on an easy-to-use timeline. The context of the timeline changes depending on whether the user is still preparing for the holiday or is at the destination.
functionality

before the trip

holiday counter

Counting the days

Shows the number of days before the holiday starts and offers tips for the upcoming trip.

holiday & excursion tips

Planning the trip beforehand

Shows relevant excursions and services that fit the customer’s schedule.

airport & flight times

stress-free travel

Shows all travel-related times such as check-in, boarding, flight info, and hotel transfer.

functionality

during the trip

Check-in, boarding & flight info notifications

travel times as notifications

Delivers all travel-related information, including changes to flight times, as push notifications.

holiday weatherforecast

daily weather at the destination

Shows the forecast during the holiday, for planning how days are best spent at the destination.

holiday schedule on a timeline

stress-free scheduling

Shows holiday-related information such as excursions and services, pick-up times and flight times.

personal customer service chat

Customer service chat digitalises the personal communication between customers and destination guides. It removes the dependency on a place and time, so that communication can be done anywhere and at any time. Customer service chat not only saves customers valuable holiday time, but also increases efficiency of destination guides, as there is less daily traveling to meet customers.
functionality

before the trip

QUESTIONS ABOUT PREPARATION AND PACKING

get tips from an expert

While still at home, customers can ask guides at the destination questions about preparing for the trip.

functionality

during the trip

personal assistance at the destination

A DESTINATION GUIDE ALWAYS AT HAND

Customers can get in touch with destination guides at any time, no matter where they are.

excursion & service booking

Excursion and service booking digitalises information that was previously only available at the destination in physical touchpoints and as print material. With information about excursions and services available digitally, they can be booked before the holiday. This means that customers can enjoy their holiday without needing to make an appointment with a destination guide to book excursions and services. Booking can now be done at the beach or a restaurant, saving valuable holiday time for more memorable activities.
functionality

before & during the trip

excursions & services available on your holiday

THINGS TO SEE AND DO

Lists all relevant excursions and services available at the destination.

detailed excursion information

Excursions & services in detail

Shows realistic excursion and service details written by destination guides.

EXCURSION BOOKING - SELECTING TRAVELERS

EASY TRAVELER SELECTION

Auto-selects the travelers so that no traveler detail input is required.

excursion booking - payment methods

Selecting payment method

Allows customers to pay with bank credentials or credits cards without re-entering details.

excursion booking - the ticket & confirmation

Digital ticket

Customers get a digital ticket showing the pick-up time, participants and the total price paid.

excursion booking - trip calendar entry

holiday to-do list

After booking, excursions and services will appear on the trip calendar as part of the holiday programme.

functionality

during the trip

excursion reminder

NOTIFICATION TO GET READY

Shows the time of the pick-up, including any changes in the schedule.

destination info

Destination info digitalises the information that was previously only available at the destination in physical touchpoints and as print material. With destination information and holiday tips at hand, customers can start planning while still at home. Once the holiday begins, the destination info serves as a local travel pocket guide, and includes maps and everything customers need to know in order to have a successful holiday. The information is written by guides working at the destination, so it is accurate, relevant, and matches the customer’s preferences.
functionality

before & during the trip

main view

comprehensive travel guide

Collects all the information needed to plan the holiday at home, or to use at the destination..

destination map

24/7 OFFLINE MAP 

The map, which includes customer-specific locations, works even without an internet connection..

HOLIDAY TIPS

LEARNING THE LOCAL CUSTOMS

Shows cultural tips for the holiday, such as where to take the best photos and how to respect the local customs.

sights to see

cultural heritage explained

Shows the most important sights of the destination and includes location, history and other details.

beaches

your guide to beachlife

Shows the destination’s top beaches and includes location, quality, features and activities.

restaurants & nightlife

local food explained

Presents local culinary highlights and delicacies, from how they are prepared to where to find them.

shopping

SOUVENIERS TO BUY

Shows the destination’s shopping options, including location, offering and price range..

activities

activities at the destination

Shows the destination’s sports and activities by type, quality and location..

general information

help always at hand

Shows the contact details and locations of hospitals, and helps with lost luggage and emergency situations.

transportation

transportation at the destination

Explains local public transportation and taxis with locations and practical tips.

customs & luggage

WHAT TO PACK (AND WHAT NOT TO)

Explains airline restrictions, with practical tips for packing. 

destination guide services

Personal assistance at hand

Shows instructions about what to do in urgent situations, and lists the local emergency numbers.

flight information

EASY FLIGHT DETAILS 

Shows departure and arrival times of the flights, as well as flight lengths and fare classes.

hotel information

Your hotel on a map

Shows hotels and relevant information on a navigable destination map.

The results

Investing in a new digital channel paid off. The Suntours app increased ancillary sales and helped Suntours to better understand its customers. Most importantly, it helped users have a better, more memorable holiday.
A Better holiday with the app

4.3 / 5

holiday experience

More than 40 000 customers who have used the app have estimated their overall holiday experience to be 4.3 / 5. The result is significantly better than customers who did not use the app during their holidays (4.1 / 5).

easy excursion booking

+78%

excursion sales increase

Buying excursions digitally during the trip let customers browse and buy whenever and wherever they liked.Promoting the excursions in the trip calendar, easy booking, an enhanced buying experience and well-selected push notifications played significant roles in raising excursions sales by an outstanding 78%.

conversion rate improvement

+46%

monthly increase in conversion

The number of customers who have used the app within a year has increased sevenfold, and customers convert better each month, with a bigger average purchase (13% increase per month).

try it yourself

SUNTOURS APP IS AVAILABLE FOR 120 DIFFERENT DESTINATIONS.WHERE WOULD YOU LIKE TO GO?

1. download the app

You can download the app from either from App Store or Google Play.

2. Enter the following reservation number (varausnumero)

6122081

3. ENTER THE FOLLOWING AUTHENTICATION CODE

98765

4. enjoy your holiday!

watch the introduction video


Awards

the winner of Apps // Travel
the winner of Interface & User Experience Design // Service Design
German Design Award (Special Mention)
the winner (bronze award) // Utilities & Services
the winner (gold award) // the best mobile service
designed by
Nextage Design     Qvik     Aurinkomatkat
© Copyright 2018. All rights reserved including intellectual property (IP) such as the graphs, information design, and other ways to model the process.