There was a time, not too long ago, when some in the travel industry labelled the travel agent a 'dying breed' due to the rise of Internet booking platforms. However, fast forward to this year's research from American Express Travel and 60% of Millennials are saying they would spend more for a travel agent's expertise when booking a trip. The role of the travel agent may have changed, but it doesn't mean there isn't the potential for success for those that conduct their business wisely.
Here are a few things every travel agent should be doing to get ahead in this competitive industry:
The Internet and advent of mobile has developed a much more informed traveller, one who can research everything they need to now at the tap of a screen - the industry has become a lot more transparent. Travel agents should accept and embrace this, using their skills to help customers navigate the information they have uncovered as a way of building trust. It's relationships that customers value if they are treading on unfamiliar ground and it's good relationships that will keep those customers loyal in the future.
Invest in engagement
As technology gives us ever-more sophisticated ways of collecting data, travel agents have the opportunity to engage with their customers both before, during and after they complete their booking. Personalised offers, news and updates, based on a customer's profile, search history and purchase history helps to create a connection, while carefully planned blog posts and a strong social media presence serve to strengthen it as well as attract more custom.
With research from Sabre revealing that Millennials are set to become the largest spending demographic in the travel industry by 2020, it makes sense that travel agents ought to make sure they are courting them. Tailoring your website so that it offers a seamless experience - quick loading times, easy navigation and short booking process - will help keep Millennial visitors on your pages. Ensuring your site is optimised for mobile, your marketing strategy is focused on personalisation and user-generated content is utilised on your social platforms are just another few ways to target this lucrative demographic.
Use technology for efficiency
Utilising high-spec technology can improve the efficiency of a travel business as well as create a more enjoyable user experience for customers. A robust content management system such as eVolve, our award-winning CMS, can help streamline workflow, taking the focus off the operational side of running a travel agent and allowing staff to focus more time on the customers.
To find out more about our digital solutions and how they can help your business, contact us today.