By Paul Broughton, Director of Business Development EMEA at Travelport, explains why it’s important for retailers to harness the right technology
The travel industry has been one of the sectors hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic, but travel agencies still pack a punch when it comes to global mobility.
Digitalisation and trust are the special two-hit combination that makes modern travel retailing efficient and effective.
Tie one hand behind their back by removing digitalisation or trust, and it won’t be long before agents are on the ropes.
Across the industry, technology developers are building modern digital retailing solutions but many of these solutions are still joined together by old legacy systems and codes that are not fit for purpose.
While the travel industry may be working towards bridging the gap between legacy codes and new development methodologies, at Travelport, we’re accelerating the pace of change for our partners and customers with enhanced APIs that simplify the way retailers access the travel content they need – and enabling our agency customers to customize their workflows and automate exchanges with Smartpoint.
Trust, however, remains the essential component along with adopting the right technology. No matter how many modern platforms you invest in or old legacy codes you update, people need to trust your business in order for you to sell effectively.
As part of our global survey, we asked over 11,000 travellers across 10 countries, including 1,000 in the UK, what the most important factors in building consumer trust in travel agencies and travel suppliers such as airlines are.
The findings revealed that the two most important factors for building trust for travellers in UK are having ‘no hidden costs’ (59%) and ‘fully flexible or refundable products’ (44%).
It likely won’t be a surprise to find out that people dislike obscure charges. But it is important to understand how much travellers actually detest them.
So much so, that winning consumer trust depends more on price transparency than on long-term safety records, according to our research.
The message to travel retailers is clear, travellers want transparency – and they are actually willing to pay more when doing business with a company or brand they trust.
Our research shows that almost half of people will buy add-ons (48%) and a large portion (42%) will upgrade a package when trust exists.
The rise of intelligent storefronts and API connections are allowing meta search and booking engines to master upselling by providing the building blocks to return greater fare transparency in search results.
In fact, Travelport is helping companies like eDreams ODIGEO enhance its access to additional content from multiple airlines with our modern, lightweight and highly functional microservices API.
Outdated search and shopping functionality no longer need to leave travel suppliers or agents feeling incapable of building the types of virtual shelves and storefronts that build trust or that continue using price as a key differentiator.
Without such technologies, talk of continuous pricing and the reported commercial benefits of introducing incremental price jumps between seat bookings are set to make processing and displaying accurate search results and fare price comparisons more complex, not less.
Progress towards clinching traveller trust and delivering knockout digitalisation must be genuine and consumer centric. Upselling and cross-sell must demonstrate immediate value and avoid below the belt errors of omission.
Harnessing the right technology that fulfills these requirements is crucial for competitive advantage and achieving retailing excellence. It’s also pretty crucial for building trust.