28 November 2018
It’s no secret that online travel and tourism is a competitive business. Maintaining an edge in an industry saturated with online booking options is no easy feat. It can cause anxiety among the most seasoned travel agents and tour operators. And, the travel and tourism market is on par to hit the projected five percent growth for 2018. This means competition in the already-saturated online travel market will only increase.
Leading this growth are millennials. They are the fastest growing consumer demographic and already spending nearly $600 billion a year. Given millennials’ affinity for the digital world, it is critical for anyone in the industry to adapt to technology to reach this demographic. However, the opportunities to connect with this demographic shouldn’t stop online. In fact, contrary to what many might think, millennials are actually the most likely demographic to use travel agents.
And, this generation is beginning to define the family travel sector. Forbes reports that among millennials, families travel much more than couples or singles. MMGY Global’s 2018-2019 Portrait of American Travelers found this segment most willing to spend more on travel leisure than any other. Millennial families, a segment made up of 10 million households, will rely on travel experts now more than ever before to put their well-researched, high ticket travel plans into an actionable vacation package. As travel agents and tour operators gain ground with this new generation of travelers, the challenge for many will be keeping the lions-share of these high value customers.
While creative web-design and social media campaigns are extremely important in driving this demographic to the travel agents’ and tour operators’ websites, it is only the beginning. Implementing new automated air travel technology solutions that allow millennial families to complete components of their reservation will ultimately prove to be the recipe for success.
Meeting Travel Behavior
Millennial families want more meaningful vacations. They are more adventurous, choosing obscure locations and want to submerge themselves in local culture. According to an article in Forbes, it has become important to millennials to expose their children to varying experiences. And, 64% of millennial families have taken at least one international vacation the past year. With the right automated air-booking tool in place, your agents will spend less time looking for the right fare and more time orchestrating the “experience” that this new generation craves. This provides a one-stop shopping experience for the traveler, translating into closed sales for the travel planner.
A big part of customer satisfaction comes from being able to give customers what they want. Choose an air booking engine that seamlessly integrates with your current host system and provides great UX to the customer. This empowers travelers to choose their preferred flight options and be an active participant in the booking process. According to research by Google, 88% of leisure travelers will switch to a different app or website if yours isn’t meeting their needs.
Timing can be a big part of value. Typically, 20% of PNRs are booked in a higher fare than necessary. Automated booking engines are key to avoiding up-sells because lower fares are not available at the time of the booking. They also help with the constant issue of manpower. Searching takes time and automated booking engines take the leg work out of your business and becomes a critical element in your air department processes. Finding and recovering lower private fares for travelers on their itineraries gives you a competitive edge on price and value. Also, automated booking engines can reduce air department operating costs, providing travel agents with more value.
By having the right automated air booking solution in place, travel agents and tour operators will ultimately be able to focus on what their customers truly want for their vacations and add more value. They demand a travel company who can provide the correct combination of travel management that provides the biggest bang for their buck with unique and innovative options. Investing in meeting the needs of Millennial parents is critical, as this group’s bucket lists, size, and purchasing power is only expected to grow. With the right balance of technology and expertise in place, travel agents and tour operators can win over millennial travelers for good.
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