There’s no doubt that the travel and tourism industry is one of the fastest-growing industries globally. In fact, the profitability of the global travel industry is evident as per the market predictions for the upcoming years. The established travel businesses are thriving and utilizing the maximum potential of the growing market, however, there are still many travel businesses that fail and are forced to shut down. This is true not only for the new entrants but also for existing businesses. One wrong step can get them out of the competition, while the business is left wondering where it was lacking. So here are 7 reasons why travel agencies are failing & how to fix them.
These reasons are the common mistakes that travel companies tend to overlook and end up paying a huge price later. Therefore, fixing these issues as well as planning, experimenting, strategizing and modifying strategies is the key to operating a successful travel agency.
- Domination By Leading Brands
The first reason that tops the list is the domination over the market by leading brands such as Expedia, TripAdvisor, Booking.com, Priceline, etc. These brands are thriving and have a huge budget to market their brands. Since their brand visibility is high and overshadows the smaller brands, most of the customers feel safe choosing these companies to make their travel bookings with. Since most of the online traffic is grabbed by these companies, the smaller businesses have lesser traffic and find it difficult to attract customers.
Solution: The best solution to stand apart from the leading brands is by offering a unique value proposition that these companies may not have tapped into. For this reason, it is even advised that a new travel business should find a niche that hasn’t been covered by big companies.
2. Lack of Customer Loyalty
Due to the stiff competition, every travel business tries to attract customers with exclusive discounts and offers. Customer loyalty is hard to earn when customers have various options and bargains over the internet. Moreover, with easy access to information over the internet, travelers no longer depend on travel agents for their travel plans. The travel companies lose out on customers if they aren’t able to provide information that is not generic and is easily available on the internet.
Solution: Customer loyalty can be earned by offering authentic and differentiated experiences that other travel agencies may not be providing. Offering personalized experiences that go beyond the expectations of customers would keep them coming back in the future.
3. No Online Presence
One of the 7 reasons why travel agencies are failing is not having an online presence. An online presence means being active on social platforms as well as having a travel portal and a travel app to have access to more customers. Travelers these days largely rely on their mobile phones and different apps when planning their travel. Therefore, it is essential for a travel agency to get a travel portal developed for their business and also engage their customers on platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.
Solution: Hire a travel application development company to build a feature-enriched travel website and application for your business. Also, keep your customers engaged through posts and campaigns on social media. This would not only increase your brand visibility but also the customer base.
4. Poor Website Design
In a world where everyone is busy and has very little time to do other things, no one would want to experience travel booking on a slow and complex website. Often times travel businesses get their travel website developed by freelancers or developers that offer the cheapest cost of development and end up delivering a website that is poor in design, difficult to navigate within, and slow. When the customer lands on a website, there is a high chance that he might leave the website and jump onto another one.
Solution: Keep the website design simple yet attractive so that the customer’s mind is captivated by the design as well as he is able to easily navigate within the website. Also, the website shouldn’t ask customers to fill long forms and should be able to facilitate quick booking with multiple payment options and transparent pricing.
5. No Real-Time Bookings
Often times customers make their bookings and payments but have to wait for a confirmation of their bookings, which sometimes results in the customer having to pay more due to the price difference. This happens when the travel website doesn’t offer real-time bookings and lacks API integrations. The customers who have to go through the issue of waiting for confirmation may not choose to make their bookings from the same website in the future.
Solution: API/XML integration is necessary for travel websites to enable customers to access a huge inventory of hotels, flights, etc as well as make their bookings in real-time.
6. Lack of Personalization
Every customer wants to be given special treatment. In fact, customers appreciate when their travel agency offers them packages or advice based on their past bookings. As per stats, 65% of travelers prefer going back to travel agencies where the agent remembers their previous bookings and about 40% travelers leave a travel website due to wide options they have to choose from. Lack of personalization by a travel agency often results in losing customers to competitors.
Solution: Offer more customized packages to customers based on their interests and previous bookings. The travel website or app can integrate the feature that offers options to customers based on their booking history and preferences.
7. Not Offering Differentiated Experiences
Travelers in today’s era want more than just a travel itinerary for a specific destination. They look for more differentiated and unique experiences that very few travel agencies offer. Offering the same kind of packages and tours that everyone else is offering often results in the failure of travel agencies. Innovation is an absolute essential.
Solution: Travel agencies should try to gain a deeper understanding of their customer’s requirements, likes and dislikes and offer packages accordingly. They should try to create their own unique packages offering experiences that their competitors may not be offering.
So here are the 7 reasons why travel agencies are failing & how to avoid them. Apart from these reasons, there are many other pitfalls that every travel agency must look into while operating their business. Staying updated with the market trends and the changing behavior of customers can help you to modify your sales and marketing strategies to thrive in the market.