In our previous post on the blog, we discussed different types of technology that smaller agents and independent agencies can use to enhance their business and make their lives just that much easier. Today, let’s take a deep-dive into why you should care about your tech stack and where you can start!
First things first, the stats. According to ASTA, 55% of millennials are likely to hire a travel agent for their next trip - and that’s pre-pandemic. Trends are repeatedly showing that people of all ages want to use travel agents for even the smallest of trips. Millennials want to save time, they want a unique experience, and now, they want to stay safe. And we’ve already mentioned that 57% of Canadians said they were likely to use an agent post-pandemic. Agents are the future of travel, and the competition is going to keep getting steeper. So why utilize tech? And how can you do it?
Here are five ways that you can utilize technology in your small agency, and reasons you should start now:
When you work as an independent agent or if you are part of a smaller agency, there are a number of unique business matters that you have to consider. For example, how will you be communicating with your customer base? Who will be there to serve them when you’re off work? Will you be offering special incentives or packages? Your clients are going to shop around, and these are the things that matter to them. These are all things that you as a small operation may not be able to do on your own. By increasing your resources via automation and specified tech platforms, you can simultaneously offer all the benefits of a bigger organization and the customer service and care of a small business.
According to Travefy, over 40% of travellers choose their next trip based on social media inspiration (specifically Instagram). Social media is the best and most accessible way to find leads. Even the smallest agencies can have a social media presence, and there are even tech sites to help you keep it up (like Hootesuite)! Putting time and energy into your social media presence, both in the form of posts and by interacting with people online, is the most overlooked aspect of running a small travel agency.
Trying to automate everything in your business can be overwhelming, and a lot of times, it isn’t necessary. The best way to figure out what you need in your tech stack is to identify a few problem areas for your business and then find ways to automate them. For example, if you want to build and offer packages, it can be almost impossible to do it all by hand. You can easily find software that allows you to build all-inclusive and unique packages that will help you differentiate yourself from your competitors while still saving time reserved for building relationships with clients.
Travel is constantly changing, and the rate of change has accelerated during the pandemic. Building trust with clients will help ensure they come back again and again, and a big part of building that trust is accurate and up-to-date communication. Communicating with your clients via phone can be effective, but it isn't always timely, and people don't always answer calls. There are apps that allow you to send notifications or otherwise communicate with your clients, meaning that every delay, every new safety regulation, and every reservation is up-to-date and accurate.
Really, this is what it all comes back to. All of these suggestions are just ways that you can think about incorporating technology into your business and give yourself more time to talk to clients and sell. Right now is a great time to evaluate your tech stack (and we offer a service to help with that) and explore new options for your business while the rebound is underway.
If you have any questions about anything we've mentioned here today, or, if you want to discuss specific examples, let us know! Travel tech is what we do, and we're happy to pass our expertise on to you.