BestMark News

Airlines and travel agents need mystery shoppers, too

Mystery shoppers with a great deal of travel experience may want to think about taking jobs reviewing agencies or airlines.

GfK recently conducted a poll for The Street and found that despite airline loyalty programs, 63 percent of Americans do not prefer one airline over another. Only 5 percent take frequent flier miles into account when booking a flight, even though these frequent flier miles are the basis of many airline loyalty programs. The results also showed that 63 percent of respondents were annoyed by impolite flight attendants and 64 percent complained about the painful seats.

The Telegraph reported that some airlines, like British Airways, have invested in the services of mystery shoppers to make sure operations are up to company standards and customers leave satisfied. Frank van der Post, the consumer boss for the airline, decreed that mystery shoppers report on their experience so BA can perform at optimum levels.

If participating as a plane passenger on a mystery shop, it's important to take into account everything from the gate attendants to luggage prices to flight crew and meal service. To increase customer loyalty, these airlines will need to know where they can improve upon even the slightest detail. As with any good job report, describing an experience in terms of all five senses will provide the company with a well-rounded idea of the work that needs to be done.

The GfK survey also mentioned that 23 percent of participants admitted to making a complaint to an airline. From that group, 60 percent were happy with the result. This is a crucial part of travel assessment, and it can be the determining factor for a customer deciding on airline loyalty.

Travel agencies
Mystery shoppers may even find themselves planning a trip in front of a travel agent on a job. Travel Weekly stated that with 70 percent of travelers conducting their own research on trips, agents need to make a stronger connection to earn business. They should be asking customers two main questions during a potential sales interaction:

  1. "How much time have you got today?"
  2. "What research have you done already?"

If you are a mystery shopper and questions like these do not arise almost right away in the conversation, make a note of it. These are tools agents should use to create an open dialogue and trust.

Though airline and travel agent mystery shopping gigs may be less common, they are no less important and require the same amount of dedication as any other shop.