Over the past decade, few industries have experienced the impact of digital transformation quite as dramatically as the travel industry. It’s becoming increasingly clear that travel companies who don’t stay on top of the fresh wave of consumer expectations brought about by technological advancements are at risk of collapse. Case in point? The recent collapse of Thomas Cook.
If there is one lesson that we can learn from the demise of Thomas Cook, it is that the phrase “adapt or die” holds a lot of truth. With this in mind, let's take a look at three ways travel agencies can embrace change to stay relevant and build resilience in the face of rapid disruption.
1. Consider Convenience
Today’s travellers live busy, fast-paced lives and as a result, travel agencies must offer them convenient ways to book their trips. More often than not, this means offering online services, as a TrekkSoft survey revealed that 80% of all travel bookings in 2018 were made via a website or mobile app, without consultation with agents
This means that travel agents now need to think “digital first” to stay ahead of the pack and in tune with customer behaviour trends.
It’s critically important for travel agencies to build-up engaging digital platforms that allow them to reach and be discovered by their customers. The bread and butter aspects are of course websites and mobile apps but in recent years, some new methods have emerged such as voice search and chatbots.
For the best results, we’d recommend taking an “omnipresent” philosophy when it comes to digital platforms to ensure that your travel agency makes the travel booking process as simple and straightforward for your customers as possible.
2. Prioritise Personalisation
A study by Accenture found that 63% of consumers worldwide prefer personalised recommendations from businesses.
Thanks to the power of big data and machine learning, travel agencies can get to know their customers more intimately than ever before and use this information to deliver a more personalised service.
Amongst consumers, there is a growing desire for more control and uniqueness when it comes to the holidays they crave. In response, savvy travel agencies are building pictures about traveller budgets, destination tastes, hotel facility requirements, hobbies and more so that they can present travellers with a range of options that are perfectly tailored to their personal preferences.
Sophisticated CRM systems also allow travel agencies to reach existing customers with the right message at the right moment, for example, when they are most likely to book trips according to data from previous years. Knowledge is power - when applied!
3. Create an Unforgettable Customer Experience
For travel agencies, customer experience is the domain in which they can truly position themselves as heads and shoulders above the competition.
With more travellers seeking out online booking methods, travel agencies must revolutionise and add value to the in-store experience to drive footfall.
Digitally savvy travel agencies can leverage Virtual Reality technology to give customers virtual tours of resorts and hotels while in the shop. This is a great example of the power of experiential marketing, as it is a much more immersive and memorable experience than viewing photos online.
In-store recognition tech can also add the “wow-factor” to in-store travel agency experiences. Security cameras and technologies such as Amazon’s Rekognition can be used to determine the age, gender and emotions of customers as they enter the store. This can help agents get some quick insights into how best to service particular customers and also determine if a customer is new or a repeat visitor. The future is now!
Could your travel agency benefit from a robust digital transformation strategy that will help you remain competitive and resilient in the face of change? Get in touch with Philip Martin to discover how DMA Partners can help: firstname.lastname@example.org.