Travel technology firm Traveltek has come up with a ‘festive wishlist’ of five things UK travel agents would like to see.
Higher levels of commission was the number one wish for agents, followed by one-click flight searches, fam trips to far-flung destinations, more cruise sales and a ban on mystery shoppers.
The results were based on meetings Traveltek’s new group product manager Chris Brown had with the firm’s agent customers in the run-up to Christmas.
He gave his views on the five standout wishes…
#1 More commission
“Well, there are no surprises here,” said Brown. “Agents want more commission in acknowledgement of their expertise and loyalty. They have a choice of suppliers and they will favour the trade-friendly ones. Agents don’t like the new credit card surcharges sneaking their way in either and please don’t tell them to sell add-ons to offset the cost, because they do that very well already.”
#2 Flight searches in just one click
“Agents want to make flight searches in just one click to save time and improve their customer service. It’s a tall order, but it could soon be possible. As part of Traveltek’s User Experience transformation strategy, fewer clicks and advanced search and filter options will all be part of the package.”
#3 The ultimate fam trip
“It’s time for suppliers and destinations to up the ante on the fam trip front. Agents are demanding more for their time spent out of the office and, in line with consumer trends, want travel ‘experiences’ that are a departure from the norm, rather than trips to mainstream resorts in popular destinations. Top picks include river cruises in Asia, preferably on the Yangtze or Mekong; safaris in Africa; and adventurous excursions to off-the-beaten track destinations, with one agent suggesting a private seaplane trip to little-known Bawah Island in the Anambas Islands, 150 nautical miles from Singapore – a new destination that opened this year that is targeting discerning eco-travellers.”
#4 To sell more cruise
“Agents love selling cruise. It’s a booming market, with a record 1.9 million holidaymakers from the UK and Ireland taking an ocean cruise in 2016, according to Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), and an even larger number anticipated in 2017. Cruise earns big commission and lends itself to plenty of pre- and post-sailing add-ons, so travel firms want more ships and itineraries to sell to their clients. Agents said having the right technology in place to sell cruise made a big difference.”
#5 A ban on timewasters
“Although agents revealed a love hate relationship with mystery shoppers who pop up in to their stores and then report their findings, it was their dislike of timewasters in general that stood out. You know the ones; those customers who come into store or call and ask for ideas and quotes and then book online.”
Brown, appointed earlier this year to spearhead Traveltek’s User Experience (UX) transformation strategy, added: “What was very clear was that agents love to chat and appreciate being asked for their feedback on travel technology and general industry issues.
“Traveltek has always evolved its product offering based on close discussions with its trade partners and as we look ahead to 2018, we can promise some exciting developments that will address many points on the agent wishlist – and more.
“While we can’t change the political landscape, we can make it easier than ever before for agents to sell leisure travel and cruise by enhancing the User Experience and introducing attractive features that are more akin to some of the world’s leading consumer websites.”