Travel agents have become used to technology disruptions on their business models. It looks like just the other day when all a travel agent needed to do was to book an ad space on a travel magazine and customers would come in droves. Those were the glory days for travel agents.
Today, a travel agent needs to brace for more disruptions if our reading of the travel space is anything to go by. We have come up with 4 major trends that are bound to change your travel agency’s business model in the period running between 2018 and 2020. Take a look.
The car rental business model is dead and if you used to make money by arranging your travel client’s ground transportation, you need to look for new revenue streams. The modern traveler will have an Uber or Lyft App on their smartphone. Once they reach their destination, they’ll organize their own ground transportation - and it is very cheap!
Pro Tip: Research which ride sharing platform offers better services at your customer’s destination. This way, you can charge them for the time spent surfing through volumes of data to give them a better ground transportation experience.
Truth be told; what’s the chance that you will have an insurable risk during your travel? Very slim. Insurance companies have discovered a very lucrative revenue stream in travel insurance, and they are coming with big money. Most travel agencies that offer these services will most likely be outcompeted on price by 2020.
Gone are the days when you would raise an invoice and the traveler will write a check, no questions asked. Modern travelers will cross-check your offer against the industry standard on the internet and if they discover you are charging them a penny more, they will go with the competitor.
A big part of travel agencies’ revenue comes from travel suppliers such as hotels and airlines. The hotels are already being driven out of business by homeowners using AirBnB app. If your business is heavily reliant on travel suppliers, perhaps it is time you diversified.
If you don’t have travel packages that accommodate children and pets, then you are missing out on a very big family travel market. In fact, AirBnB first succeeded because it catered for this market segment.
Start customizing your travel packages around the experience and not the destination. A few years ago, only destinations in Europe and North America could offer ice skating experiences. Today, Dubai is a fast rising star in this niche – in the middle of the desert.
If, for example, your niche is winter sports, you can customize the Canadian winter sports vacation around nature, NOT indoor skating rinks.
The new trend among travel agents is to get the details of what a traveler would want during their vacation and plan a trip that takes the customer input into consideration. If you want to retain and grow your customer base, personalize everything.
As a travel agent, you will need to update your IT and research skills. IT makes your work easier whereas your research skills ensure that you;
- Save money for your customer on forex
- Only pack for what they need and hence more savings on baggage
- Avoid politically volatile holiday destinations
- Help your customers to clear airport security, in any country, without problems.
There are 3 categories of travelers in the world today. These are; Baby Boomers, Millennials and Generation Z. Each of this demography has a unique taste and preference. The biggest threat to travel agencies in North America is the assumption that what has worked for Baby Boomers in the past will also work for the Millennials and Generation Z.
Almost all travel agencies today have social media channels, blogs, and websites. This has increased the channels where travel agents can engage with their customers.
With the help of digital marketers and SEO experts, the websites are optimized for search engines and mobile. This means that the growth of customer touch points has not only opened new ways to get more customers, but also to receive feedback.
If you are yet to embrace these touch points, do so now.
If you are using Google Analytics, you are already using artificial intelligence algorithms. These algorithms will get more sophisticated in the next 2 years. Travel agents will have sophisticated tools to collect customer information with.
Customer data capture tools powered by artificial intelligence can help you segment your customers into demography, region, behavior, budget, and psychology. This helps you tailor the travel packages better.
Get AI powered tools to help you standardize customer contact information, validate customer addresses, get rid of duplicate contacts, and allow customers opt-out (unsubscribing).
Among the places you can capture customer data include; web registrations, newsletters subscriptions, tracking transactions with offer codes, loyalty reward cards, social media platforms, customer browsing behavior on your website, and referral links.
When friends are travelling together, they split the gas, hotel rooms, groceries and dinner expenses. Group travelling is becoming very popular, especially among the millennials. Travel agents are coming up with innovative ways to maximize their value of wallet share. However this trend goes, it will be a major disruptor.
Did you find this article informative? At Travel agency Tribes, we are always on the lookout for trends and technologies that can disrupt the travel agencies’ business. Click here to talk to us.
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