Moments: Evolution of Travel Industry

By Noura Habashi- Account Manager at dlc.

Ever since I was young, my family used to contact certain travel agency that they dealt with for years to arrange our trip. We always used the traditional way until I started to use the internet to do the job myself.

 

Here was a debate between me and my family. They argued that dealing with the travel agency they knew is the most trusted way to arrange the trip as they guarantee the quality. It also doesn’t take a lot of time nor effort; it requires only a phone call and maybe a visit. Also, they have their trusted tour operators that they work with. However, I always tried to convince them that doing the job online allows us to compare prices and get the cheapest rates.

 

In general, with the increasing use of internet, people now prefer to arrange their trip on their own either by using online travel agencies to arrange the whole trip or contacting tour operators to assure better prices by removing the middle man (agency).

 

Traditional offline travel agencies will continue to exist only if they focused on a specific target market. Their niche target market should be elder people and business men. Most elder people won’t do the effort of searching online and go through the hassle of comparison to find the best deal. Many are also not familiar with the internet. They prefer contacting a trusted agency that they can actually visit and know someone there to arrange the trip for them. They prefer quality and ease over price. Business men want a specialized trip to cater their needs. They also prioritize time and quality over price.

 

A combination between offline and online services is the best strategy for travel agents by using technology, they will cut costs. Software programs as ERP and CRM automate everyday tasks, thus, cutting costs by decreasing number of employees and time required. This increases productivity and efficiency. It is also convenient because it allows employees and managers to check the updates and work outside the office (if they are on holiday or sick).

Travel technology allows agencies to categorize their customers in classes and provide insights about their preferences. As a result, it helps them to customize offers to cater for their customers’ needs. Finally, using an online booking engine and a website, the agency would be more visible to people. This will increase brand awareness thus increasing their customer base.

 

In fact, The travel industry is a booming industry. According to Skift, it is the second-fastest growing sector globally, with 3.9 % annually  over the next ten years. However, not all travel companies use technology. They have a problem embracing technology. As a result, they miss out the opportunity to manage their daily tasks more efficiently, market their business online and cater for their customers’ needs; noting that most of their customers are technology users.

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