We are now living in a world where modern technology sits in the palm of our hands, allowing us access to just about everything we need and have almost anything delivered to our doorsteps with just a few clicks. These advancements lead to a changing marketplace full of higher expectations and demands. What does this mean for the future of your travel business?
Just as you are preparing for fall to turn into winter, you must learn how to adapt to these changes in the travel market and leverage them to your advantage. Despite the competition from online booking engines like Kayak, Booking.com, Trivago, etc., many agents have adopted new technologies and tools into their own practices to stay on top of their game and beat the competition. Some agents don’t find these OTAs to be a threat because they’ve mastered the art of being a travel advisor. This boom in travel industry prosperity is fueling the movement of a hashtag-worthy trend: #SmartTravelAgents.
The #SmartTravelAgents movement was designed to help travel professionals understand why leveraging modern technology is important in running a successful business and to keeping up with demands. Get on board with this movement and learn five ways to leverage modern technology into your daily business activities.
1. Modernize Your Client Management
It is now easier than ever to manage your clients. Keeping track of client information digitally will help your business stay organized and allow you to establish more long-term client relationships. Technology advancements have made it possible to even suggest new and exciting trip ideas based on your clients’ interests in their client profiles. Creating online profiles versus the typical filing cabinet documents make for a process that allows you to retrieve client data much more efficiently.
And you know that successfully serving your clients takes more than just booking their trip and being done with it. With the latest weather and flight apps, you can now monitor the forecast for your clients or even update them on any changes in their flight information. With technology making is so easy to communicate, travelers appreciate it when their agents provide them with updates before, during and after their trips. Providing them with any information to help alleviate stressful travel situations really helps you showcase your value.
Travel Pro Tip: Using an online client database can help you track what clients you work with, their travel preferences and their repeat business. With Xcelerator, you can create personalized profiles for each of your clients, allowing you to manage more business. You can even send email reminders to your clients about travel plans like weather updates and flight information.
2. Get Social with Your Clients
The social media takeover is helping travelers post about their amazing vacation experiences and share them online, allowing everyone else to experience their trips as well. So how are travel agents getting in on the action? #SmartTravelAgents are getting social! Leverage your business off of social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to help your potential clients visualize what you as a travel agent can do for them. Share your clients’ vacation photos on social media to show what kind of experiences you can make possible for your followers. Or even share photos you’re your own travels. Social media provides a free platform to truly capture the experiences that you can create as well as having the potential to reach a larger audience than ever before.
3. Get Social with the Industry
We’re not done talking about social media and what it can do for you. Today’s travelers are looking for a memorable and unique travel experience. The new era of technology has introduced a plethora of social media platforms to help you scope out the current travel trends and get inspiration on the year’s popular destination hotspots. This research is now available at your fingertips, and #SmartTravelAgents are truly taking advantage of it. Fill your social feeds with industry sources like hotel and resort brands, convention and visitors’ bureaus and travel trade publications so you are exposed to industry news whenever you refresh your feed. Staying up-to-date on the latest travel news and truly having a good grasp on industry trends proves to your clients that you are their best travel resource.
4. Stay Connected
If you want to make it in the business world, you need to have connections. The connections we’re talking about are the ones you share between your coworkers, employees and overall team. Modern technology has given businesses the power to connect like never before, making office hours literally inexistent. From text messaging and emails to video conference calls, it is easy to complete important tasks even when you are all not in the same location. Travel agents who take full advantage of all forms of communication will see a dramatic increase in their business productivity. With clients who are always on-the-go and a travel business that is always open, it is key to stay in constant communication to ensure successful trips for your clients.
Travel Pro Tip: While communication is key when it comes to running a successful business, so is communicating your business’ sales performance. Xcelerator tracks not only your performance, but your team members’ as well. Using a tool to set goals and track sales commissions and performance is a great way to communicate visual results for your team. The customized reports and performance charts allow you and your entire team know exactly how close or far you are from reaching your sales goals.
5. Know How to Work with the Techy Generation
As the techy generation starts to take over the marketplace and more competitors are making booking online accessible to everyone, the classic brick and mortar travel agency is not as popular as it once was. So how should you adapt your travel business to meet these changes? It’s time to look at the facts and start addressing the modern-day traveler. With technology at their fingertips, today’s travelers have already done their research on vacation packages and analyzed prices to find the best option. Instead of focusing on selling the package deal itself, the best way to impress the new generation of consumers is to focus on selling the experience and sharing your knowledge. It does not necessarily matter what the name of the hotel is or which destination is the most popular anymore. It’s all about the experience that travelers can’t put a price tag on. So how do they find these priceless experiences? With your travel expertise. If they’ve never been to Punta Cana, tell them about your trips there and what you know they’ll love and what they should avoid. Your clients can do all the online research possible to find the best vacation options, but you never really know a destination until you’ve been there to experience it firsthand. So be confident in what you know and don’t be afraid to share it.
So what does the future look like for travel agents? As new competition surfaces in the market and clients become more tech savvy, what does this mean for the future of travel agents and agencies? Well, travel agents are getting smarter. #SmartTravelAgents are adapting to the changing marketplace and understanding that new technology has only been proven to help their business and make day-to-day tasks more efficient than ever. They not only understand the new technology that is out there to help them succeed, they also understand how to leverage this technology to actually see the results. New technology like Xcelerator by Trisept Solutions. Xcelerator is a simple yet powerful online platform designed for travel agents of different levels of experience to manage their clients, suppliers and business performance. It is more than a client relationship management tool, because it has advanced vacation planning technology not used by any other travel software in the industry. Xcelerator is intended to supplement an agent’s business by providing features to help them organize, manage and track important activities pertinent to their clients and their business. Once you’re ready to digitize your business, get the most value from your client and sales information with Xcelerator’s integrated Business Intelligence tools. Watch out, because #SmartTravelAgents are back and better than ever and Xcelerator is helping fuel their success.