Robust technology and investments to restart the travel industry
Paulo Rezende, Commercial Director for South America at Amadeus shares with us his vision on the future of the industry
By Paulo Rezende, Commercial Director for South America at Amadeus
We often talk about how the needs of travelers change. Whereas before it was enough to deliver vouchers in your hands, now agents are almost "personal stylists" of trips. They take care of everything that the customer experience implies: they are in almost permanent contact with them, they eliminate the obstacles that appear on the road, they make suggestions and book tours, they ensure the synchronization of departure and arrival times, they improve the experience of corporate travelers and many other things.
However, we rarely discuss how much the needs of the agents themselves also change. Who imagined that their main job for most of the first semester would be to process reissues for their clients? Nobody. But someone in the past (at Amadeus more than ten years ago) thought that all ticket changes should be automated to increase the productivity of professionals. This is how Amadeus Ticket Changer emerged, a tool immensely used during the COVID-19 crisis. Try to imagine what the agent's day-to-day would be like in March, April and May without a tool for automatic refund and calculation of changes, better not do it.
Far beyond a specific product, what the industry in general needs is a technology in constant evolution and the anticipation of the trends and problems that will be found. In the recovery of the industry, two factors will be fundamental for success: confidence in the sector and technological resistance.
The first factor is quite broad, ranging from well-targeted health and marketing measures by industry players, to government actions to promote tourist destinations and possible incentives for the sector, which we already see here and there. One of the pillars of the economy is the trust of the actors involved in it, and in this aspect the entire chain must work in a unified and strategic way.
The second point is the vertex that will make the entire strategy outlined in the previous paragraph work. It is necessary to continue investing actively in the development of existing products, in the creation of new products and in innovative and efficient practices. For this, the systems behind the travel transactions must be up-to-date with the best in terms of robustness.
Many may think that the COVID-19 crisis has been a time of little activity for travel agencies. That thought could not be more wrong. At Amadeus, we went from an average of 150,000 daily transactions in the reissue tool to 2.5 million at the peak of the pandemic. We were able to provide this service to our clients without the slightest instability or overload in the system.
This is just one example of how companies in the sector - be they airlines, hotels, agencies or others - need their business to be backed by a solid and efficient technological base. Without good systems to work with, even the best professionals won't be able to focus their efforts on what they know how to do the most: sell trips.
But they need to go further. Destinations need to experience new ways to attract travelers, based on data and programmatic marketing. Airlines and hotels must think of strategic, unified approaches as stewards of inspiring corporate and leisure travel. Agencies should send consumers a message that reaffirms the high value of their services, as I have already addressed in this previous article.
We need to "sell" the industry as a whole
We have to rethink travel, focusing on high-quality service and investing in the loyalty and trust of our travelers. I have no doubt that the resumption will come. Your speed will depend on advances in medicine, but not only that. On our part, we will provide a stable and disruptive technology that will be our contribution to make this incredible industry stronger than ever before.