Starting a travel agency for many may be a hobby or a decision based on wanting to leverage the opportunities in the rapidly growing travel market. However, apart from wanting to help travelers with rich experiences, running an online travel agency successfully requires more than just passion. One has to think, plan and act as an entrepreneur to survive the tough competition and stay ahead of the curve. This requires innovative strategies to be put together to increase sales and revenue. So, here are 6 tips to run a successful online travel agency in 2020.
- Choose A Specialization
If you are starting a new travel agency, this is the most essential factor that you should give ample time to ponder over. But, if you are already in the business and are not experiencing enough sales, it’s time to reconsider your specialization or niche. Having a unique specialization that is different from your competitors will definitely get you success. Offering something to your customers that others are not, makes your product and services different.
For instance, you can choose to provide your services in a geographical location that is not tapped by your competitors, or you could target a certain demographic to offer them unique packages. You can even offer experiences through your travel packages, such as hiking trips, eco trips, luxury trips, etc.
- Captivating Travel Website
Your website gives out the first impression of your travel agency. The bounce rate of poorly designed websites is quite high, and customers abandon their booking process if the website is not user-friendly and is difficult to navigate. Therefore, if your travel agency is digital, it is imperative to ensure that the design of your website is visually attractive, user-friendly, and feature enriched. Use professional images of listings and leverage the latest technologies such as AI, AR/VR, etc, to provide virtual tours of properties and destinations to captivate your customers.
Your services should be highlighted on the website so that they are easy to locate. You can also use pop-ups to show hot offers and deals and attract the customer’s attention. Provide an easy checkout experience with fewer forms to fill and multiple payment options. A smooth travel booking experience on your website will ensure your customers come back to you for future bookings.
- Social Media Engagement
With the increasing use of social media by all generations, having a presence on social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc is vital. People love sharing posts, images or videos about their trips on social media and almost 52% of people book their travel being influenced by the posts they see on these platforms.
Therefore, if your travel agency is active on these platforms with regular posts or campaigns, your brand would be more visible and people will be able to identify your brand. Engaging with your customers on social media helps keep them updated about your offers, reminds them about their experience with your brand and instills trust amongst them for your brand.
- Create Unique Packages
One of the 6 tips to run a successful online travel agency in 2020 is by offering unique packages to your customers. Offering the same kind of packages that your customers can find on other websites as well and probably at cheaper rates, will have you losing customers. Customer loyalty is built when you offer them unique packages as per their interest and budget. Therefore, you should keep yourself updated with the latest travel trends and consumer behavior in order to craft perfect packages for your customers.
For instance, you could create a travel package that offers flights, accommodation as well as a must-attend event, at an affordable price. Through this way you can also upsell your products and services rather than selling them separately. This would also help you build close relationships with your customers as well as help you earn a higher commission by customizing your own packages.
- Embrace The Reviews
Reviews and ratings are the best way to assess the quality and performance of your travel products. Genuine feedback from satisfied or unsatisfied feedback can help you understand your customers’ needs and work on your offerings accordingly. While positive reviews increase your brand credibility, negative reviews can also be taken positively by addressing the concern faced by the customer and offering a better solution next time.
Even leading travel companies study online reviews before arriving at a decision regarding any kind of experiment or strategy. Therefore, embracing reviews and using them to your advantage can help your online travel agency achieve success.
- Integrate With The Best GDS Systems
Where do you source your inventory from? Traditionally travel agents had to establish B2B relationships with hotels, airlines or other businesses to fulfill their inventory needs. However, now sourcing inventory has become streamlined, owing to the availability of numerous GDS suppliers. As an online travel agency, you would already have integrated with a GDS/API. But you could integrate with more GDS systems to enhance the offer for customers and to provide them with a wider choice for their bookings. An online travel agency with a vast availability of hotels, flights, car rentals, etc globally, is sure to attract more customers and increase the revenue.
You can experiment with these 6 tips to run a successful online travel agency in 2020 and get ahead of your competition. An important thing to remember is that not all tips would have the same effect on every travel business, the impact would also depend on the kind of strategies you use. Lastly, grabbing the right opportunities at the right time is essential even when applying these strategies in your travel business.