Traditional travel companies can avoid being overrun by a market that is becoming increasingly competitive as more and better online services and mobile applications appear. Managed properly, there are plenty of opportunities for tour operators to increase both their profitability and customer base.
The key to taking control of these developments lies in gaining an information advantage, improving sales interactions, automation of daily processes, cost control and instant business overview through reports and dashboards, (including graphical representations of the company’s business pipeline).
Online vs traditional tour operator
Many consumers prefer to compose their trips on their own, where the prospect of lower prices is the main driver. Other perceived benefits include the flexibility in the choice of dates and components (transportation, hotels, outings etc.) compared to the more standardised approach offered by tour operators. However, many still choose to turn to a tour operator.
There are several reasons for this, the most important ones being;
- The convenience and security to get everything from a single source.
- Saves time as booking through a tour operator can be handled in minutes instead of hours as it often takes a to browse around to compare rates and other parameters.
- A personal, knowledgeable contact person ensures that the trip will be smooth and provides valuable guidance about attractions at the destination.
- Avoid the risks associated with, for example, inconvenient flight connections and substandard hotel experiences.
Despite the advantages listed above, traditional tour operators are forced into continuous development to avoid the risk of losing market share to online services, not least as a result of changes in buying habits. One key to success lies in the implementation of smart IT systems to enable the sales reps to work faster, smarter and with greater precision.
A number of other factors need attention if you are to attract the modern traveller.
1. Attractive website: Most people start to plan their trip by gathering information online before they contact a salesperson. For the tour operator, it is vital to be at the top of the search engines in their special fields. Once customers found their way to your website, it is essential to serve attractive and concise destination descriptions. The challenge is to provide the information in a clearer and more eye-catching way than your competitors. It is also important to repeatedly underline the comfort and security of getting everything from a single supplier. Another trigger is to offer opportunities to customise trips within reasonable limits.
2. Travellers are expecting instant information: The fact that many travellers are accustomed to mobile apps and online services has led them to expect tour operators to have all conceivable information instantly available, at their fingertips, when the customer calls. An efficient online-based reservation system is thus a prerequisite to meet customer expectations in this aspect.
3. Value for the money: Almost all consumers expect to get their money’s worth, whether they are pronounced bounty hunters or have more exclusive preferences. Although the pressure of competition is tough in the travel industry, many are willing to pay a little extra for the convenience of a contact with a one-stop-shop and to reduce the risk that something goes wrong during the trip.
When you turn to an established tour operator, you can rest assured that the trip in its entirety meets expected standards and that you will avoid unpleasant surprises that can ruin your trip. It is important for the tour operator to clearly position itself in select segments, nurturing its brand and acting professionally and efficiently towards their customers.
By virtue of experience and knowledge of the destinations, tour operators can also provide added value through tips on attractions, dining options, making sure the customer gets a hotel room according to their preferences, etc. To be able to guide the traveller throughout the sales dialogue, the sales rep needs to have access to all relevant information on their computer screen. The system should also be able to calculate current prices with respect to factors such as group size, currency exchange rates, high or low season, etc.
About Kaptio Travel Kaptio Travel is the next generation booking system that places customer experience at the heart of your business. Our sales and operations platform is powered by Salesforce, freeing travel companies from legacy systems—equipping them with a cloud-based solution, transforming the customer experience, and delivering operational efficiencies. To get an insider perspective, connect with our sales team.