2020: the year that will transform travel agencies
Paulo Rezende, commercial director of Amadeus in South America shares an interesting opinion column where he reveals his vision of innovations in the trade segment
By Paulo Rezende, commercial director of Amadeus in South America
The decade that ends will be known in the future, in the business world, as the period in which a great socioeconomic transformation began, with the transition from a property economy to a collaborative one. In other words, many people prefer to pay for services because of their use, rather than acquiring those products or services. Cars are the main example, but there are many others.
This shows that today's consumers are more demanding and have more experience about any service provided. The wide possibility of a public and massive classification of everything that is sold or served, the fact that we are invited to give a score to our experience with a certain service makes good service an asset that goes beyond the " fame "of a company in the market, becomes a decision-making factor in a click. And who better than the travel agencies, which provide this service for decades, as role models in the productive sector?
It is true that having a travel agent was once considered glamor, but today it is an accessible option. If we think about it, the choices made in the new collaborative economy are not always the most economical, but the most practical. For example, you may spend less when walking to the nearest supermarket, turning on the stove and cooking than when ordering food through an application. Traveling is no different from this situation, so it is all about convincing the traveler of the value offered as a travel agent.
To convey this value to your client, the travel agent needs two things: 1) That the cost-benefit ratio is highly valuable to their clients; If we don't go to the market to buy ingredients for a $ 5 meal, why wouldn't we trust a professional for a purchase that sometimes reaches thousands of dollars? In addition, this service can be cheaper than direct purchase, since the agent's experience helps you find the best offers in the market, the best experience and the suppliers with the best reputation; 2) That the travel agency is no longer necessarily a physical store, with business hours and address. With mobile communication tools and web-based reservation systems, the agency is everywhere, at any time.
The main opportunities for agents are right in these changes in the market. "Technological disruption" is not exclusive to our sector. Fintech have threatened banks, which in turn continue to make a profit; and they do it by diversifying services, finding new ways to generate income, addressing the needs of this new customer with technology.
Complementary services have opened a new billing space in the travel industry, and the agent must be aware of the good practices of additional sales such as type of seats, food and other services during the trip, as well as cross-selling in all the transactions you make.
It is important to offer hotel and car when selling a flight, however, this is no longer enough. Many airlines and booking systems already offer the possibility of selling many other services, but the sale is still low.
There are also technologies that proactively offer the travel agent suggestions (notifications) so that the client obtains better offers or complementary services along with an air ticket. It is this technology that can transform travel agencies in 2020, making them excellent service providers with even better financial results.