The 1950s and 60s saw the ‘’birth’’ of the travel agent segment of the travel industry. The airlines could not have asked for a better partner in business as their front end. And for long, the travel agents played an important role to the extent that they soon became ‘’powerful’’ enough to be a threat to the profits of the airlines themselves; a section of the revenues does go as commission to the agents.
Rapid technological changes have brought airlines closer to the traveller through the web interface. Now suddenly, the travel agents seem to be no longer as important as they were and there is an imminent need for the traditional business model to evolve leveraging technology. So, how then can these businesses evolve with the help of technology? Here are my top 4 technology trends that can grow your business:
- Going Mobile:
The world (at least among the developed nations) is going mobile as more and more people resort to the smartphone for their daily needs and tasks. The customer has lesser time, is ever more demanding and is mobile driven. Airlines and travel agents have realized the need to cater to the mobile driven crowd and have leveraged on technology to extend their services in the form of mobile applications. Imagine a traveller getting alert on a flight delay or on her boarding gate or even on the cab arrival as soon as she lands at the airport – one could not have asked for more!
- Enhanced Booking Experience:
OTAs (Online Travel Agencies) have taken a direct online route to play the role of travel agents and in fact, have a predominant presence. With the mass usage of and activity on the internet, these OTAs came up with an online interface powered by the booking engine software that just about changed the way booking is done – the frantic running around for a ticket came down to just a few clicks!
- Seamless Travel Experience:
The average customer of today is internet savvy, well researched and almost always on-the-go. She is looking for a wholesome and seamless experience, it isn’t just about booking a ticket, it’s about the organization of the entire trip altogether. Technological integration has ensured a seamless connect with all the stakeholders of the industry starting from the travel agent to the airline to the cab to the hotel. Some travel agents often use the tour management software that provides for a comprehensive planning of the trip.
Every Company wants a loyal customer and with so many options available from flights to cabs to hotel stays, loyalty demands a high price. The various stakeholders of the travel industry have realized the need for personalization as the means to getting closer to the customer. Using technologies such as data management and data analytics, Companies can now gather and analyze data to understand customer preference and needs. Specific customer programs can be planned and executed based on these preferences and needs. Thanks to such technologies, Companies have begun to understand their customers even better and that there are several service layers for the same travel objective. Example, two people travelling from Delhi to Berlin for a popular music concert can prefer to fly in two different classes; they can stay in the same hotel, but prefer two different service levels.
The stakeholders of the travel industry have, until the dawn of the millennium, operated largely in different lanes. Thanks to technology and the need for greater customer service levels, there is a need for business integration at various points in the service loop. Aided with technology, not only will businesses collaborate more than ever, but also evolve together to achieve their end objectives.
See how Sonata Software was able to transform the business for one of the world’s largest tour operators and help them evolve into a digital ready Company through technology.