For travel advisors, staying on top of the latest technology trends is paramount to keeping up with client needs, especially when it comes to providing competitive customer service.
With new apps and online services for travel-enthusiasts being brought into the world every day, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the wealth of choices – or get left behind entirely.
But technology is never designed to intimidate – rather, its purpose is to help improve and enhance our work. And while some travel apps and sites are enjoying their time in the spotlight by making the trip planning process easier for consumers, there are also tools being developed with the goal of enhancing agent-to-client communication and assistance.
After all, no matter how you slice it, there’s no replacing personalized customer service that only travel advisors can give.
Here are five must-have technologies top travel agents should consider incorporating into their operations sooner than later:
The Travel Valet
Designed with travel consultants in mind, The Travel Valet aims to re-imagine the way in which consultants interact with their clients by providing curated destination guides, image media and personal concierge services – all custom-branded to the agency. Clients can also pick up their phone, open the app, and let their agent know when and where they’d like to go, and you can get started on putting the trip together. By allowing The Travel Valet to take the reins, agents are able to give their clients a steady stream of destination-specific content and information with less than half the usual effort – while taking all of the credit. (travelagencytribes.com/travel-valet)
This up-and-coming itinerary management tool has been created specifically for group travel, making collaboration between agents, clients and partner suppliers easier with its shared discussion platform, automated itinerary updates (possible via an advanced e-mail forwarding technology), and customizable personal inventory library. Travefy allows travel consultants to build custom group bookings, collect payments and communicate travel details to in-destination service providers with just a few clicks, from anywhere with WiFi. (travefy.com)
Virtual reality experiences
The favourite toy of tourism trade shows, virtual reality headsets and their ability to portray immersive, interactive travel stories bring prospective clients closer to a destination than any brochure or blog post ever could – and they’re becoming more affordable every day. While still very much in its infancy, some agencies in Europe have already begun utilizing virtual reality headsets in-store, bringing dream vacations to the client before sending them off to experience the real thing.
Connectivity is king these days, and with so many successful travel consultants conducting business from every corner of the globe, being available to potential clients – regardless of your location – is a necessity. Enter Engage, the only instant customer interaction tool able to make agents immediately accessible to clients by integrating your agency’s text, voice and video communication systems. Fully controllable by being embedded into your agency’s website, Engage removes the need for automated responses and delivers client queries to travel experts in real-time, allowing you and your team to communicate – and sell – faster, from any device with a connection. (engage.co/travel)
Portable WiFi hotspots
In a world where social media sharing is as much a part of travel as a passport, agents have a lot to gain from putting WiFi directly into the hands of their clients. Increasingly popular travel tools, portable routers provide users with a personalized wireless network, are small enough to fit into a pocket, and can connect with multiple devices at a time. Portable routers are not only a great way for agents to stay connected to clients (via file sharing, itinerary updates and live video chat), but lending one out as part of their travel package is a great way to encourage real-time travel posts – resulting in free advertising from wherever your customers are wandering.
This piece was brought to you by Air Canada, as part of the airline’s ongoing efforts to support travel agents. ACTA members click here to access Air Canada’s ACTA Training program for agencies.