Connecting with clients when they are out in destination via their smartphones or iPad is a “huge opportunity” for the trade.
Speaking at the Advantage conference in Madrid, Fortune Cookie founder Justin Cooke cited a survey which revealed 88% of men ‘love’ their smart phone and even take it to bed with them.
Another survey showed 7% of US adults are accessing the web via a tablet while travelling, with 35% of those reading reviews.
“When they are walking around in destination you should be with them. You could give them a travel guide with reviews of things to do,” said Cooke.
He gave the example of eBookers Explorer, an app developed by Fortune Cookie for eBookers which allows customers to browse destinations on their iPad. “This is an innovate way of an agent moving on from just setting up a Facebook profile.”
He said agents should be helping customers get the right information and filter through the ‘noise’ online. “Agents are perfect for helping clients filter throught the user generated noise. You should contribute to the conversation on TripAdvisor and show your expert knowledge.”
Simon Ferguson, founder of Travel Weekly’s sister title Travolution, said the real innovations in travel had come from outside the industry. He said fresh ideas were likely to come from smaller businesses.
“The big guys will be focusing on automation and scale so there is a real opportunity to innovate here in this room.”
Ideas he put forward included registering as a ‘place’ on Facebook and becoming a trusted news source for your customers by retweeting news stories.