Crystal Ski Holidays ramps up digital services to support skiers this winter

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Last September, Crystal Ski Holidays announced the start of a multi-year technology programme to transform the ski holiday experience for customers: iPads loaded with custom-built software were made available to over 700 overseas employees to help them provide an enhanced, real-time service and a major upgrade to the Crystal Ski Explorer app, designed as a pocket tool to the mountains, was released in November which was well received by skiers and boarders.

Tamsin Todd, managing director Crystal Ski Holidays: “Our biggest success was the Crystal Ski Explorer app which has really helped everyone to get more from the mountains. Both our customers and colleagues loved using the recommended ski routes to explore the mountains and the ‘My Friends’ feature made meeting up with friends on and off the slopes easier.”

Last season, more than a quarter of Crystal holidaymakers used the Ski Explorer app. The most popular features were ski tracking and recommended ski routes that help skiers and boarders find their way around the slopes (available across most of Crystal’s 136 resorts, for all levels of experience). The most favoured ski routes were ones that helped customers get to know their local ski area highlights: ‘A quick Courchevel cruise’ and ‘Les Arcs in the morning’.

Skiers love their mobiles, and not just for apps. With social media usage averaging 2 hours 13 minutes per person per day1, and one in four social media users in the UK turning to social media to make a complaint2 (that’s about 7.5 million social media users from the 30 million UK users3), Crystal now find Twitter is increasingly growing as the customers’ chosen channel of communication.

Queries boomed last season: 55% more tweets were received and 146% more were responded to than previous winters. And, for the first time last season, Crystal’s social media team were on hand to help holidaymakers with early morning travel questions on Twitter and Facebook from 4:30am on departure days.

Crystal also saw an explosion in mobile use for search and booking holidays last season and launched a new mobile responsive website. From a recent Crystal study on mobile use, it was found that the general last minute trend in the wider travel industry continues to be reflected in the ski industry, with the study suggesting that on average, one in every four Crystal skiers4 searched for their holiday on a mobile last year.

What’s in store for the ski season 2015-16?

Crystal’s digital service continues to evolve in winter 2015-16 with a focus on supporting customers on every step of their journey to the mountains. Crystal will continue to invest in mobile communications with the launch of a new text message service, and this year, a larger digital response team will be ready to give speedy help not just early morning, but throughout the weekend – 24 hours a day from Friday until Monday – to support those who have a last minute question before heading out to the mountains, need help during their journey or are still planning their holiday.

Also based on customer feedback, Crystal will offer holidaymakers the opportunity to pre-book a call with their resort team at a time that suits them best, to discuss all elements of their upcoming holiday, from childcare to what wine they prefer in their chalet, before they even start packing.

Crystal is also introducing different ways to assist skiers finding the ski right resort for their requirements. New tools on the website allow visitors to easily return to recent searches; compare and share their holiday plans with fellow skiers and find Crystal’s recommended hotels for each resort.

In July, Crystal released the digital Family Guide to the Mountain in response to feedback from mums and dads that families need the most information and support prior to booking a ski holiday. With their specific interests around ski school and childcare information in mind, this guide aims to give them all the information they need up front.

This builds on the launch of last year’s newly designed Guide to the Mountains which is available this year both in print and digital format.

Crystal’s managing director Tamsin Todd: “Skiers today are digitally savvy and ready to use technology to get the most out of their winter holiday. At Crystal, we are constantly speaking to our customers to understand their needs, and improving our holiday service that combines in resort experts with market-leading mobile technology and a comprehensive real-time digital customer service.”

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To book www.crystalski.co.uk 020 8939 0726

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Note to editors

1 Source: Global Webindex

2 Source: The Institute of Customer Service, May, 2015.

3 Source: Statista.com

4 Source: Crystal Ski Holidays data

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