It’s a new world – and a travel agency’s business continuity relies on how well it can serve the customer despite disruptions. Expectations are higher as travelers need advisors to keep them updated on all policies of each leg of a trip and be a lifeline in case of emergency. Ultimately now more than ever, travelers are turning to travel advisors to deliver safe, flexible, stress-free experiences.
Keeping pace with industry changes and customer needs means thinking differently and redefining what a customer-first agency should look like today and in the future. It means embracing new tools and technologies that allow agents to serve the traveler at every step of the journey. To do this, let’s look at ways that can help prioritize and fulfill a customer-first mind-set and facilitate a smoother travel experience.
Differentiate by behaviors and needs
One of the most admired qualities of a travel agent is the fact that he/she can successfully match travelers with their wants and desires. Many travelers don’t always know what they want, but they are eager to start traveling again.
Whether travelers want a Walt Disney World vacation or a quiet getaway in the Caribbean, the Amadeus Travel Platform is equipped with real-time content, pricing and payment options for travel advisors to build custom packages based on their customer’s needs. And whether agents are dealing with a family of four or couple of lovebirds, customers still want processes – from inspiration to in-trip services – to be as streamlined as possible with minimal interference. Our digital environment is always available, providing support and advice to grow an agent’s expertise in how best to navigate and coordinate a seamless booking experience.
By understanding each customer and how they travel, agents can use cloud-based Amadeus Selling Platform Connect to create personalized packages for new and repeat customers. If an agent knows that a customer prefers small group tours to maximize their trip based on past booking behavior, agents can use the platform to create customer profiles.
Bring tech to customer care
While technology continues to change the way we travel, the human touch remains crucial to rebuilding traveler confidence and loyalty. When things don’t go as planned, travelers want reassurance and empathy, and they rely on agents to resolve their problems. Especially now with flight changes, travelers may rely on a travel advisor to change tickets when they can’t get a hold of the airline. Travel agencies that can combine human interaction with technology to deliver high quality and timely customer service will have a competitive advantage in the new normal.
Our report “Insights for the New World: Human Touch to Human Tech” revealed that 40% of the travel sellers surveyed ranked human interaction as the key to success. And we can see that COVID-19 has changed the traveler behavior to value travel advisor expertise but still rely on technology to enhance the process.
Particularly when it comes to health and safety. As travelers become more and more conscious about health risks, they will seek travel sellers who can ensure that proper sanitation measures and health services will be provided during their journey. Travel sellers will need to provide the very latest health and hygiene information for the destinations and services they are recommending to their clients, health guarantees, or a commitment to respond to unpredictable situations with excellent customer service. With COVID-19 Interactive Maps in Amadeus Selling Platform Connect and cytric Travel & Expense, travel advisors can monitor risk levels and access information on national control measures, testing and quarantine restrictions to keep their travelers informed all the time.
Invest to move customers forward
Technology is critical to moving the industry forward and enabling travel companies to facilitate a more customer-centric approach. This new era has given leisure travel agencies a competitive edge in the recovery as we see travelers turn to the professionals when planning their next trip. However, the notion of customer-firstcan be meaningless unless travel companies are willing to put the solutions in place to execute them. When agencies invest in products and services that automate and improve their operations, they can be positioned to do what they do best: serve the traveler.