The COVID-19 pandemic has brought global travel to a grinding halt with 57% of consumers either cancelling (38%) or rescheduling pre-booked (19%) travel according to Skift Research report, U.S Travel Tracker 2020: Emerging Consumer Segments.
During this time of lockdown, wanderlust has kicked in and they are turning to the internet for travel inspiration and motivation. The same report shares that 50% of consumers expect to travel within six months after travel restrictions were lifted.
With this increasing sentiment it poses the question of what can travel companies do to be ready for the return in demand?
Tour Operators Are Making The Most In ‘Downtime’
Tour operators around the world were forced to press pause on their tours and are now looking for ways to improve their businesses.
With demand currently low, it has provided a window of opportunity to implement projects without the concern of potential operational issues impacting their customers.
Refining their online offering, updating websites, reaffirming their social presence, adapting their tours to the local market, contactless payment, and provision of gloves and masks for guests and staff is just some of the ways they are getting ready for travellers.
They are also embracing new ways to distribute their products, including making them available online.
Streamlining Inefficiencies And Going ‘Live’
With more tour operators going online it opens up opportunity for travel resellers - provided they are enabled with live inventory that can be available to their customers at any given point.
The technology platforms and application programming interfaces (APIs) offered by T&A aggregators vary significantly. Though many appear to offer pure online bookings, reality paints a different picture.
Often systems will provide access to a tour operator inventory however the transaction cannot be completed without further steps, such as a call or email to finalise the booking. This having the potential to cause delays, poor customer service or even lost opportunities.
Travel resellers and their technology providers can leverage new technology to truly serve customer needs, without being constrained by earlier limitations.
Technology Empowers Travel Companies
Travel companies must now choose their tech partners wisely and have a final say in which T&A products and tour operators they wish to prioritise. The tech solution they rely on should support this approach.
As airlines look to new ways to remain profitable they are no longer being limited to offering flights only. They are leveraging their brands to offer additional services and products that will better serve their customers.
More travel companies are now realising their potential to become a one-stop-shop for travellers. The Livn solution empowers the industry with real-time access to a global network of tours & activities.
These Innovations Will Benefit Travellers The Most
Travellers will be pleased with the array of choices for effortlessly searching, planning, and booking their dream holidays.
They will surely reap the most benefits of these changes but in turn, so will the travel companies that adapts quickly to their customers’ expectations and uses this time to focus on technical and operational efficiencies to stay ahead of the curve.