While all other industries are simplifying things for their customers and offering them variety of options, travel industry does not quite reach the same point. What is Modern Retailing and how can travel agents be the representatives of change?
Back in the 90s, planning a trip meant calling up a travel agent and relying on him for everything. The process was long and gave little control to the end customer. Fast forward to 2022, thanks to technological advancement, everything can be carried out in a few clicks. From checking ticket prices to reserving hotels, everything can be taken care of from the comfort of the travellers’ home. All thanks to technology. But is the travel industry doing enough to make things easier for the end traveller? Apparently not. Even with all the technological advancements, people don’t really enjoy the process of travel shopping. Whereas if we look at other industries, shopping in itself is a leisure activity and people look forward to the experience.
According to a survey conducted by Travelport, almost 43% of travellers in the US are not happy with their travel booking experiences. The reason behind this is that travel shopping in itself is a tedious process and can be complicated at times. Most of the times, people aren’t sure if they got the best deal as comparing offers while making travel bookings is time-consuming, stressful, and complicated. People these days want to be able to make all of their bookings from one place.
Also, in other industries, retailers are flawless experts on their clientele. And they are adept at sending them customised offers based on their purchase history. However, travel falls short in these standards.
So, what can be done to solve this problem? The answer is rather simple- making buying and selling of travel an easier process. 84% travel agents, as per Travelport’s survey, agreed that modernizing travel will increase their ability to sell.
Say hello to Modern Retailing
The travel industry has several elements of modern retailing embedded throughout. However, there is an absence of an authentic setup that gives an end-to-end solution to the travellers. This is necessary for the travel industry in order to keep up with the trend and match up to the standards that the other industries have set. In a time where digital advancements are happening in every industry, sellers are pushing boundaries and are trying to make experiences as seamless as possible for their consumers. Travel also needs to undergo a paradigm shift and step into the Modern Retailing Era.
Travel agents are the designers
In the scenario where travellers are the focus, the travel agents are the best people to design that contemporary retailing experience for them throughout. Customers don’t want to go all the hassle of finding the best deals by making bookings at multiple websites, running cost comparisons, etc. What they need is one modern travel agency to take care of it all.
But how can travel agents be the representatives of change? Here are a few points:
- Establish your brand’s USP
Establishing your brand’s USP (Unique Selling Point) is the first step towards making your customers trust you. Tell them what services you offer, what is setting you apart from others in the market, what are your brand values, etc.
- Setting new standards
Other industries are setting higher standards for their customers day by day. And as already stated earlier, travel industry needs to match up to those standards. The need of the hour is to keep the customer at the core of everything and keep things simple, accessible and convenient.
- It’s all about the choices
Withholding information is passé. People nowadays want choice so that they can take their pick. As per Travelport’s survey, 46% of customers claimed that having a variety of options is what influences their decision on picking a travel provider. Modern Retailing refers to making things more accessible for the customers and helping them make their decisions. Travel agencies can do this when they have the right content that can be shared with their customers.
- Technologically driven solutions
Modern retailing is driven by technology and makes it possible to ensure a fast, simple and reliable experience for the customers. While technology is driving most travel agencies’ operations, there is a need to get more cohesive with its usage.
Thus, we are at the dawn of a whole new era that is driven by technology and focuses on making travel shopping experience easier for the people. Modern Retailing will not only benefit the buyers, but sellers as well since when people have an abundance of choice, they are likely to spend more.
By Sandeep Dwivedi, COO, InterGlobe Technology Quotient (ITQ)