How Can Travel Agencies Use Technology to their Advantage?
Tourism-related institutions and successful internet companies are clamouring to join the uber-competitive e-commerce market .It creates so many new business opportunities, and enables even smaller organisations to thrive and flourish, even if they have experienced financial difficulties in the past. You need to make sure that you keep an eye on any changes and developments when it comes to digital marketing so that you are able to move with the times and make sure that your business continues to be successful.
The ongoing evolution of information-based technology has already had a significant and considerable impact on the travel agency service industry as a whole. We are all aware that the internet has created a number of different conditions which have become real game-changers in recent times, and its widespread public use opens up so many doors. The modern travel agency has witnessed both beneficial and detrimental developments as far as digital marketing solutions are concerned, as you now have to make considerable adaptions in order to remain relevant.
In the 21st century it is all about setting yourself apart from others and being aware of the strong competition out there. Whilst computers have always been an integral and important part of the travel agency business since their widespread adoption, the dominance of the technological era has brought considerable new benefits. Data can be stored far more quickly than in the past, thanks to speedier hardware and better software.
Enterprise-level software enables travel agencies to download specialised programmes dedicated exclusively to managing their businesses effectively and categorising data in a structured and organised manner. This allows agencies to run far more productively, preventing losses of earnings due to slow running loading times and other arduous tasks which seem to make life far more difficult than necessary.
Vastly improved communications technology has greatly widened the ways in which travel agencies can communicate. This does not only relate to customers, but also with business connections and partner services. High-speed internet connections allow instantaneous video, text and voice communication right across the globe, often at considerably less expense than normal, traditional methods such as long-distance telephone communications can offer.
Data can be sent almost instantly to an airline from the agency, which can then be relayed to customers. This makes sure bookings which might have taken hours or even days to be process with immediate effect, thus reducing wait times and increasing productivity. Hotels can also benefit from these services, and guests do not have to experience long delays or unexpected interruptions which could have proved to be problematic in the past.
One of the largest impacts on the travel agency overall has been the steady rise of online booking. Customers who are looking to secure a reservation or wish to plan a trip away no longer have to visit an agency, but can instead do everything on a computer or laptop. You can even use mobile apps if you are on the move, and they can be accessed from practically any location. Airlines and hotels themselves have also chosen to remove the requirement for travel agents altogether by allowing customers to book lodging and tickets directly from their sites, cutting out the ‘middle man’.
This is not good news for travel agencies on the whole, as they have traditionally relied on being perceived as a necessary intermediary point between customers and the services they require. Now that everyone chooses to do things online, they have to look at other ways in which to attract attention and secure a concrete consumer base.
As more and more people book online, fewer people are now heading into brick-and-mortar agencies, dealing directly with someone on a one-to-one basis. Immense pressure has mounted on traditional agencies such as hotels, airlines and other service providers, so they need to think quickly if they want to make sure they do not lose custom.
Even though this may seem like cause for concern, the travel agency business is far from collapsing. Travel agents are still responsible for 77% of all cruise bookings, 73% of all package travel bookings and 55% of all airline travel bookings. Like so many service industries, travel agency businesses are changing in order to adapt to new and unfamiliar technology.
A booking engine for hotels can be a make-or-break moment in the entire customer journey, so you have to make sure that you invest in solutions which are efficient and cost-effective. Many agencies have chosen to shift their focus to online services when it comes to hotel and airline bookings, whilst maintaining an element of physical activity, doing business face-to-face rather than via the internet.
Whilst adaptation to new technology has subjected the travel agency industry to a number of obstacles which they have had to overcome, the industry is still financially sound. The main focus for the majority of agencies has been directed to online agencies, which allows clients the ability to book their trips with minimal effort. You are not constrained by office hours and do not have to worry about re-arranging your schedules in order to make sure that you have everything planned right down to the finest detail.
Because so many travel and tourism businesses are so widespread and heavily dispersed, they choose to use computer systems in order to stay well-connected. Computer systems allow for constant communication between branches and locations, which makes it far easier to monitor and streamline reservations and adhere to cross-company policies.
They are also used internally so that staff can be informed of any new developments and are kept on the same page. Information can be accessed quickly and the overall guest experience is far more satisfactory. Housekeeping details, specific preferences and requests and reservation dates can all be kept on one single system so you do not have to go through hundreds of files or sift through a hoard of emails in order to find the information you require.
Many travellers take some kind of mobile phone with them on the road, whether this is a tablet computer or handset. In order to keep customers up to date and let them know of any changes a great deal of hospitality and tourism businesses use mobile communication nowadays. They can send delay notifications, offer deals and sponsor location-based advertising. Depending on the type of device preferred, this communication can occur through emails, GPS tagging or text alerts.
Airlines are constantly updating and renovating their apps so that travellers can check in on their phones and create a unique code in order to activate their boarding pass. This makes the entire process completely paperless, and far more advanced than the normal self-check stations which seemed so radical and modern when they were introduced 15 years ago. Passengers can even use their devices to check what seating is available, and upgrade whilst waiting to board a plane.
All of this is aided by wireless carries which lower or even eliminate their roaming charges, making it feasible to connect for less. Phones have become automatic travel guides which weigh next to nothing, and you can receive instant information sources when visiting historic points of interest which will tell you everything you need to know.
So why not embrace the digital age and plan your next vacation when on the go? Just download the latest must-have app and you will have everything you need at your immediate disposal.