Earlier when there were no travel websites or very few of them, travelers relied on travel agents to book their travel. The traditional travel agencies were a one-stop-shop for the travelers who didn’t have much of an option to view travel packages themselves. However, with the passage of time and increased dependence on smartphones, the trend has now shifted to online travel agencies. Customers can now access travel information, prices, packages, etc through different websites and know what’s best for them. In this highly competitive market, travel agencies irrespective of being online or not, face various challenges to survive in the market. Therefore, in this blog we will be looking at 7 problems that travel agencies face & how to fix them.
Travelers are choosing smart travel, therefore, travel agencies need to pull up their socks as well to keep pace with the changing market trends and consumer behavior. Customer loyalty is difficult to gain when customers have a wide variety of travel agencies to choose from with varied discounts and deals. So, here are some problems or factors where travel agencies may be lacking and can improve on to increase their customers, sales, and boost their revenue.
- Maintaining Credibility
Amidst heavy competition, the biggest challenge for travel agencies is to maintain their credibility and visibility. Many travel agencies do not have a good online presence. That being said, it is not enough to just own a company website, but travel agencies should also get their marketing teams to maintain an online presence for the business on social media platforms. Customers tend to trust travel agencies that have a good online presence, regularly engage with them through campaigns and posts, and are very much active online.
Solution: To maintain or increase credibility, travel agencies should opt for professional certifications such as IATA accreditation and other related certifications. Professional websites are more trusted by customers. The travel agencies should also increase their brand visibility through SEO techniques, regularly post engaging content on social media, offer great deals and discounts.
2. Competition From Leading Companies
Although the travel industry is quite profitable and holds good potential even for the new entrants, however, novice travel agencies or medium-scale travel agencies face stiff competition from the industry giants. Leading travel companies such as Expedia, TripAdvisor, etc have established a monopoly in their segments and have huge budgets to market and promote their companies. Therefore, their marketing strategies heighten their brand visibility. Naturally, a large chunk of the population prefers to use these websites to plan and book their travel, thereby, leaving very few who would actually turn to the smaller travel companies to make their bookings.
Solution: Competing with established brands is not possible for smaller travel agencies. Therefore, it is best to find a niche that these brands are not catering to. The travel agencies should avoid the segments where there is stiff competition and think out of the box to offer something different than their competitors, to their customers. Comprehensive market research and analyzing consumer behavior would help coming up with innovative ideas to drive the business upwards.
3. Common Tour Packages
One of the 7 problems travel agencies face is losing customers due to the common tour packages they offer. Many travel agencies are laid back in their approach if their business seems to be generating at least some profits. They follow the same strategies and techniques that others do, therefore, they end up offering the same kind of tour packages as other agencies do. Whereas travelers are on a constant lookout for something unique, it may be experiential travel, leisure travel, eco-travel, etc. Offering common tour packages to customers gradually leads to losing customers to competitors that provide better deals and packages.
Solution: Being in any kind of business with a stiff competition requires you to be on our toes all the time. Even the leading travel companies constantly experiment and try different strategies to keep their customers glues to their websites and to offer different experiences. Therefore, to stay ahead of the competition, you must be updated with the market trends, brainstorm with your team and offer unique experiences to your customers that are highly personalized.
4. Complex Booking Process
As it is, people have become busier with their daily lives that they hardly find time to shop for grocery let alone booking a whole trip. With their busy schedules, they wouldn’t want to go through a complex and long booking process. A customer would rather switch to a different website that provides them what they require in a much shorter time.
Solution: Upgrade your booking processes, make them shorter with less details asked and more information provided. Regularly update your travel website and application to stay up-to-date with the latest trends and make your website responsive.
5. Unaware of Customer Requirements
Often times, travel agencies are unaware of what their customer requires and are unable to understand them very well. The travel agencies that don’t put in many efforts in understanding their customer’s needs and requirements, often fall behind in the competition and lose out on customers quickly. Customers feel valued when the travel agency they choose provides customized travel solutions that not only meet but also go beyond their expectations.
Solution: Build relationships with customers, understand their requirements, likes and dislikes to tailor a package that they wouldn’t be able to refuse or have to think about twice. Stay in touch with your customers even when they have no travel plans and inform them about the best upcoming deals.
6. Difficulty in Managing Inquiries
With the increasing and diverse travel requirements by people, it gets difficult to manage inquiries creating a stressful and tense environment for travel agents. At times like these, it gets difficult to provide the best service and remembering specific demands from customers. The quality of service may be compromised, leaving customers unsatisfied and disappointed.
Solution: You can leverage the power of Artificial Intelligence by incorporating chatbots within your travel portal and travel app that can take care of the general queries of your customers and guide them to a travel agent when the query is complex. This would take-off a lot of workload from the shoulders of the travel agents and enable them to focus on more important matters.
7. Inefficient Travel Software
Lastly, but the most important factor contributing to the 7 problems travel agencies face is an inefficient travel software. Every travel agency must have a travel booking software so as to reach out to the wider audience all over the world. However, if the travel software is slow or doesn’t have advanced features, you may lose your customers to competitors. You should hire a qualified travel application development company to build a responsive travel website with essential features for your business.
Every business faces some challenges in their industry, however, it is up to the business how to tackle those challenges and convert them into opportunities. The above-mentioned challenges are more like opportunities that can be grabbed with the right strategies and innovative thinking. The travel industry holds immense potential for small as well as large businesses and is expected to continue to grow in the following years. One has to only have the right perspective to grab the opportunities at the right time in order to drive their business towards success.