The Covid-19 pandemic has hit the travel sector brutally. Travel agents, advisors and tour operators, are considered the frontline representatives of the tourism industry to the wider public. As such they need to adapt to the emerging changes of the travel style in order to get their faith restored and stay into business. Technology can be an important asset for travel advisors towards that direction. Based on EUROSTAT, the number of people employed in travel agency or tour operator companies was reaching ~520k in 2018. Major contributors to that number are Germany (~100k employees), UK (~90k employees), Spain (-50k employees), Italy (~48k employees) and France (~42k employees). The Greek contribution is around 16k employees and even if it is considered small in absolute numbers, Greece is recording the highest share in EU with one out of four people employed working in the tourism sector.
Travel is going to be different in the post-pandemic world. Travelers will seeking sustainability, security and of course honesty from travel professionals. The human interaction is as imperative as ever, while aspects like education and proper training seem to play a major role in keeping the clients engaged and well-informed in the travel planning phase. Researching and communicating was always a major part of a travel advisor’s worklife. This is expected to continue and even accelerate the digital transformation of the tourism sector in the post-COVID-19 era.
Which is the biggest misconception when it comes to travel advisors?
When it comes to travel advisors, there are always major misconceptions that are preventing people from having an open mindset. The biggest one is that using travel advisors is more expensive than planning a trip on your own. Especially nowadays, with the rise of the internet and the many OTA’s offering do-it-yourself booking services.
However, this can’t be any further from the truth. As travel advisors are committed to provide to their clients well-established travel consultancy and access to local destination contacts, a best value for money service should be expected. Using a travel advisor can be seen as a wise risk mitigation action, where all risks threatening a client’s budget, sense of security or comfort, are properly addressed. Thus, although 2020 was a dry-spell period for all travel professionals, it is safe to claim that travel advisors will get out to the post-pandemic world stronger and ready to address all customer concerns with relevant, reliable and up-to-date destination information.
How new tech tools can restore faith to travel advisors?
Technology can be an important enabler towards digitizing the tourism sector and addressing client demands, such as the ones already mentioned.
- Increased automation is one way to go, as in many other business sectors. With more contactless client touchpoints and the ambition to make many processes faster and more efficient, new technological tools are along the way (CRM software, travel chatbots, AI-based itinerary builders, proposal builders etc.). Automation tools are claiming to improve customer acquisition (through improving customer satisfaction), remarket the travel brands and of course optimize operations and time management.
- Travel advisory tools are another family of technological solutions that are emerging in order to withstand the bottom-up (from the travelers’ side) pressure for almost real-time destination information. As travel security is increasingly becoming the single key factor that influences travel behavior, travel professionals will be required to be constantly ready to support their clients with up-to-date information at all stages of the travel lifecycle. Travel advisory tools, offered as APIs or web/mobile integrated applications, can contribute towards that market need and help the travel professionals address their clients’ need without investing valuable time in manual research.
How Travel2Fit can contribute in the digital revolution of the tourism sector?
Travel2Fit is supporting the modernization of the tourism industry providing a smooth transition to the digitized era that the travel advisors will face. With Travel2Fit, travel advisors can build, share and monitor tailor-made travel proposals that always impress in a matter of minutes! Travel2Fit contributes in both increasing automation and integrating high quality destination information for enabling travel advisory services.
Register now and embrace the upcoming travel digitalization to revolutionize your business!