The future of the agency, sell products or experiences?

Analysis / The answer to the question of the holder, obviously, should be “the two things”. But in the great majority of cases, today and in the past, the travel agent is almost exclusively dedicated to selling the plane ticket, the hotel or the package, disregarding the pre and post trip. And it is precisely in these processes that small agencies can make a difference.

It is true that many travel agents will say that they do call their clients at the return of the trip to ensure that everything has gone well, or that the regulars call periodically to suggest possible trips. But in many cases these calls come within the scope of a routine ‘detail’ strategy, which is not always perceived as such.

And it is that the Internet offers such a volume of information that the travel agent has to strive to be one step ahead of the client if he wants to assert his role of prescriber. In this sense, what was said in the Amadeus Technology Forum about the possibilities that new technologies offer not only to large companies and networks in the sector, but also to small agencies.

But the point is that Internet use strategies must be different, if you do not want to squander the investment made. In this sense, it was revealing what Eric Lehoucq, technology partner of Amadeus Spain, said “many agencies do not know what to answer when asked about the objectives of their website. If only it is to have it, without being clear why, they have thrown the money of the investment”.

The double way of information

What is clear is that the Internet is a two-way road for the travel professional. On the one hand, it allows you to access information to expand your offer. But, above all, it allows it to offer its customers in a dynamic way, allowing it to differentiate itself from the competition, as Lehoucq said: “The positioning on the internet can never be produced based on price, but to communicate a differentiated offer with some content Specialized “.

And, as the general director said Amadeus Spain, Paul de Villiers, “Internet has increased the volume of information available, has radically changed the way we produce and consume, the way we travel, we communicate, read and think. The information that you have with the agencies allows you to lead people through your travel experience and in that idea lies their incalculable value. ”

One aspect in which the company’s marketing director, Iñigo García-Aranda, agreed: “It is increasingly important for agencies not only to access relevant content, but also to tailor that content.”

In short, it seems that the future of the travel agent must go the way of the intangible, offer the customer experiences. Help you in the preparations and participate in the post trip.

In this regard, Ángel David López, director of Everis Business Consulting, said that “we are witnessing the revival of retail. We must transform it so that customers enjoy the experience of buying in the real world today, “noting that the buying process must integrate components both online and offline to promote not only the purchase but also to boost cross-selling.” The trip is an aspirational product, fun, linked to guarantee and price.”