What value will clients pay for?
When I first worked in travel there was no internet. Yes I am that old. So when someone wanted to travel they came to a 'travel expert and booking agency'. Your good old travel agent. In fact in the UK if a traveller felt confident in their own choices they could only call either Portland Travel or Tjaereborg. Those were really the first two direct book travel businesses. Otherwise it was your high street travel agency.
Fast forward a few decades and where will travellers book for 2022 and beyond? For many travellers they don't see value in using a travel agency as 90% of their air, hotel, transport and even cruise needs can be satisfied by Google.Travel, Tripadvisor, online solutions or supplier direct websites.
So where do travel agencies or travel management companies fit into the new distribution and booking world? There are still areas of value, as deemed by the clients / buyer, and these need to be understood, implemented and marketed if you want to thrive in 2022. Here are a few for consideration:
COVID-19 requires travel restrictions with 24/7 automated monitoring as travellers worry they won't have the correct documentation, information or will get caught out whilst travelling. What does your company use to provide this vital service? Do not underestimate this service!
Access to the 'best price'. Over the last four weeks we have conducted over 1,000 spot checks on a number fo flights and hotels for 2022. Now we knew prices alter quickly and can be availability / demand driven as well as suppliers using complex AI to massage their prices real-time. Let's be honest - its a nightmare for anyone to manage. No-one can claim to have access to the lowest price all the time. So what does the client expect and accept? You need to revisit your distribution channels - GDS, direct connect, third party consolidators, NDC (is that really still a thing?) and maybe become a specialist rather than a generalist.
Your price. Will the client appreciate your value specifically for the price you charge? A really interesting aspect here is that very few travel businesses fully understand their own cost base. They don't understand the 'cost per seat' or direct cost per hour of the team. You need to do some deep diving into your business to be able to appreciate the cost that should be used when you do your pricing. If the net cost is $6 and you charge $4 what is the result?
There are many more areas for consideration and you may feel you don't have the time to delve into them. Failing to prepare is preparing to fail................Benjamin Franklin'
If you'd like some expert assistance please fell free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org