Travel Agents

Agents need to ‘stand in the shoes of the customer’

In the face of intense competition and online price aggregators, travel companies have to provide unique experiences to set themselves apart.

At least that’s the sentiments of John O’Neill, Managing Director of marketing agency, Komosion.

O’Neill has worked with Sydney Olympics, as CEO of Tourism NSW, and has worked with the likes of Flight Centre and Accor during his time at Komosion.

O’Neill believes that with competition between all forms of travel agents, and the transparency of online pricing, it’s the customers who wield the power to choose who they book with.

And with studies showing travellers are four times more likely to book with OTAs, while traditional travel agents are losing their influence with travellers.

“In the age of digital disruption, brands are much more about ‘lived experience’ than ‘perceived experience’, and customer loyalty is much shallower,” said O’Neill.

“You have to stand for something beyond price.

“One of our clients, the boutique luxury hotel group Lancemore, aims to provide its customers ‘moments of bliss’ – which could be as simple as dinner and wine under the stars. It’s a much more compelling proposition than just a room for the night.”

O’Neill said the most important leadership quality for businesses suffering from disruption is the ability to look at a business from the outside in, and to stand in the shoes of a customer.

“You have to ask ‘Am I really giving them value and an experience above a transaction?’

“Work out how and where you want to be different – what you want to be famous for – and be single-minded about that.

“If you could start again with a blank slate, how might you be doing things differently today?

“If you would be doing things differently, then you probably need to find a way to change your business, regardless of the challenges.”

Ultimately though, O’Neill thinks that customer service is still at the heart of the travel business.

“The travel industry is outstanding at customer service, it has to be. Customers must feel like they matter,” he added.

“Perfect service is getting a cool glass of water just before you realised you were thirsty, it’s feeling carefully attended to.

“This is the lifeblood of the industry and the reason customers will stay loyal.”

O’Neill will be sharing insights from his unique experiences at the first annual Travel Industry Exhibition and Conference on 20-21 July in Sydney and 25-26 July in Melbourne.

SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

Travel Agents

Big Fat Agent Wrap

by Vanessa Bussoletti

It doesn’t get more jam-packed than this, readers. Unless you count our jam sandwich because that’s overflowing all over our desk.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

“We’re all getting robbed”: Vic tourism hit by scam

by Hannah Edensor

At least nine Victorian tourist attractions have been hit by a credit card scam. We too were busted for buying clothes under our boss’s name but only to avoid buyers shame in the office.

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

What can you actually take from hotel rooms?

We could tell you this was an exclusive insight into what you can get away with stealing from hotels, but we’d be lying. We nicked it off an online forum.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

At last, Qantas inflight Wi-Fi takes off

by Hannah Edensor

As 56% of travellers get stoked about Qantas’ inflight Wi-Fi, our concern lies with the other 44% who clearly hate looking at cats on YouTube.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Travel warnings for Gallipoli after terror threats

by Hannah Edensor

New updates on Smart Traveller have upgraded warnings for Turkey with news Anzac Day commemorations could be a target of terror attacks.

Share

CommentComments

Travel Agents

Flavour of the Week

Find out who won new roles & who fell on their swords in this week’s Flavour of the Week. Yes, we added that sword bit for effect.

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

Cruising for young travellers is finally here

This first of its kind cruise brand had us at ‘Wine & Paint Classes’ because it combines two of our favourite things. Well, one, we hate painting.

Share

CommentComments

Technology

52% of travellers swayed by Facebook photos: study

All of our Facebook friends’ photos inspired us to travel. And by ‘friends’ we mean the public profiles we stalk because we only have 4 friends.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

Is your boss the Executive of the Year?

We tried to nominate ourselves for this award, but apparently ignoring the boss and pretending to be your own boss doesn’t actually make you CEO.

Share

CommentComments

Travel Agents

Final week of LAX agent incentive kicks off

We’re re-running this again from Monday (minus the typos). You get déjà vu & we do less work. A win-win, we say.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

A world of special Sunshine Coast Deals

by Vanessa Bussoletti

Visit Sunshine Coast has partnered with Escape Travel to launch a major new campaign offering a wide range of activities […]

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

Big Fat Hotel Wrap

by Vanessa Bussoletti

If you read one thing today make sure it’s Travel Weekly’s hotel wrap. Actually, your medication instructions and train timetable probably take priority.

Share

CommentComments