In a digitally-connected world, where booking travel can be done in seconds using a smartphone app or website, what are travel professionals bringing to the table that robots, internet or technology don’t?
Research by ASATA has shown that, on average, a leisure traveller will visit 20 websites before engaging a travel consultant to finalise the booking. However, travel agency services are experiencing a worldwide revival.
In corporate travel, the travel management company (TMC) has increasingly started filling a valuable and strategic role for customers beyond what technology can offer.
A recent US-based survey showed that the average frequent business traveller spends 108 hours per year on admin work related to corporate travel, i.e. researching, booking, adjusting, cancelling and expensing travel. The vast majority (70%) of business travellers indicated that they felt this was a waste of their valuable time.
By combining technology-led innovation with human expertise, the modern travel professional provides customers with intelligent solutions that save travellers time and companies money – from streamlined payment and reporting functions to customised itineraries and comprehensive safety controls.
Customers today are not only looking for the best price anymore. They expect competent, qualified travel professionals to offer them a fully-personalised service across multiple channels, manage complex itineraries, loyalty programmes, and act as a crucial safety net when things go awry.
Bots are not equipped to handle complicated itineraries or to deal with the complexities of effective risk management. It’s the travel professional who is best placed to educate a company on its exposure and to take the necessary measures to mitigate those risks.
21st-century TMCs are focusing their attention on identifying the opportunities and tools that exist beyond the transaction.
They are asking critical questions like: What are our non-customers saying? What services do they think we should provide? What risks have been identified, and are we considering these things when making strategic decisions?
We can help businesses and their travellers manage risk in 2020 and beyond if we master the answers to these simple questions