Agents should embrace the opportunities of mobile technology in the travel industry rather than fearing it, the president of Travelport’s told Scottish agents.
Gordon Wilson, who is also the technology provider and leading GDS’s chief executive, was addressing members of the Scottish Passenger Agents Association at its 87th annual dinner on Thursday night.
He said that there should be a positive outlook in the travel industry, particularly with regards to technology, despite concerns over Brexit and America’s new president Donald Trump.
Wilson made forecasts on mobile and robotics, predicting that 70% of bookings will involve using a smart phone at some stage in the process in the next three to five years.
At the moment, he said, 77% of people complete bookings on a computer while 9% do so on a tablet and 8% on mobile.
“This represents a massive opportunity for this industry,” he said. “It’s convenience. Mobile means you’ve always got it wherever.
“With mobile apps there’s an opportunity to make a connection with trusted brands who know the individual and can make the context of these elements work optimally for that user.
“Any travel agency that doesn’t in the next 18-24 months embrace the mobile channel is in my view going to suffer. You will not be able to compete in terms of transactions which will be at a much lower cost on mobile.”
Instead of adding time and cost, he said mobile will streamline costs and the agents role will be to add value rather than spending their time manually making bookings.
“Progressive adaptation has been and will be the name of the game in the travel industry,” said Wilson.
“Nobody does well by standing still. But it is also a truth that while especially in the technology industry we all love to talk about disruption and the next big disruptive force, the fact is that for most businesses who are not start-ups, it is more a question of being adaptive and being just that wee bit better than your competition.”