Technology

Competing in the retail revolution

Nancy Hromin

How are travel agents not only going to survive, but thrive in an increasingly challenging retail environment?

Guest speakers at this year’s annual Travelport conference in Seoul have enlightened some 300 delegates about how to effectively compete during challenging economic times.

First off the bat, Australian retail marketing guru Amanda Stevens asked delegates to question who their new travel consumers are and how agents were converting them into advocates for their brand.

Stevens proffered her insights having spent the past year researching common characteristics of what successful retailers in Australia, Asia and America have done over turbulent economic times of late.

Packaging up a number of common characteristics, Stevens said in Australia alone over 3000 local retailers have been forced to close their doors. However, at the same time, many have survived, and not only scraped through, but also thrived in the changing environment.

According to Stevens, retail travel agents should also look to consumer trends to see what is driving the way in which people consume and experience retail spend, which could lead to the creation of new opportunities for travel agents to embrace.

amanda stevens
Amanda Stevens

Four pillars as outlined by Stevens include:

1. The notion of BUSY- ness.

Our greatest currency is time – and we seem to have less and less of it. Time to do those things which are important, time for relaxing, time for having great holiday experiences and spending quality time with loved ones, (not while on the phone or on social media). The currency of time, therefore, is becoming an increasingly valuable commodity.

Time as a currency is a far more valuable than saving costs, in the view of the time poor traveller. Most business practices don’t focus on this factor coined by researcher Tim Kasser as “time affluence”. Studies by Tim Kasser reveal that people respond much more positively to the notion that their time is considered of value and will remain consistently loyal if they feel their time has been saved and valued.

Travel agents should ask, “How are you saving time for your customers and what small things are you doing to contribute to their time being saved when they are planning their trips, be it for business or leisure?”

2. Health is the new Wealth (particularly for women). 

Health, fitness and wellness travel has gone from emerging trend to badge of honour in the past few years. With a plethora of packages bundling health and wellness into travel experiences catering for this growing market, the segment has truly come of age and fits nicely with the time poor audience mentioned earlier.

Agents should ask, “ How well placed is your business to capture this growing market?”  

3. The growing consumer segment known as “WOMAN”

In Australia, women are earning more, staying in the workforce longer and having children later. However, it is two emerging consumer segments that should concern travel agents the most.

Women aged between 25-40 and women in the 50+ age categories have cemented their position as increasingly powerful purchasing decision makers.

According to Stevens, they are also 5 times more likely to refer a brand or experience to their “inner circle “ of at least 2-3 other women.

Agents should ask, “How well is your brand or business engaging with these two sets of potential customers? And how well placed are you to capture these opportunities strategically?”

4. From word of mouth to word of mouse

Social media is unquestionably amplifying marketing opportunities for brands, but as travel businesses go, agents are still and always will be in the experience economy.

The question to ask is, “How well do you currently leverage technology to enhance your customers experience so they become your raving fans?”

Focusing business strategies across these four insights, according to Stevens, should prove the future does indeed look bright for travel agents who are well established to maximise these opportunities.

Nancy Hromin is attending the Travelport Conference in Seoul on behalf of Travel Weekly and can be contacted at nancy@travelweekly.com.au



SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

Leave a Reply

News

Industry movements: New hires at Intrepid, TravelManagers, Silversea and more

Keep tabs on all the latest movements in the industry, find who you need to shmooze at the next networking event and suss out all the latest gossip right here.

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

Coral Princess brings cruising back to Newcastle

Cruising has returned to Newy, marking more opportunities for the locals to hang out by the water and wear thongs.

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

Soneva introduces cryptocurrency payments at its resorts

This new update could mean that other travel companies may soon accept crypto, and then someone may finally buy our Travel Weekly NFT!

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

Paul Hogan gets top Tourism Australia honour

Hogan was reportedly quite happy with the award, but quietly disappointed that it wasn’t a knife which he could compare with his larger knife.

Share

CommentComments

Events

Missed the Visit USA Expos? Fear not, we’ve got your biggest questions covered.

by sponsored by Visit USA Australia

No more FOMO! These hot tips will get you in top-tip shape to visit the USA.

Share

CommentComments

News

Jucy to expand rental car fleet with $40m worth of new inventory

Jucy is a vehicle rental operator, not the company that makes those pink velour track pants, in case you were also a bit confused.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Qantas group engineers vote to strike

More than 700 Qantas, Jetstar and Network Aviation’s maintenance engineers are in favour of industrial action over pay negotiations.

Share

CommentComments

Events

NTIA 2022 tickets are on sale!

Industry events are a great opportunity to do some networking, reconnect with friends, and wake up the next day with a crippling hangover and anxiety about what you might have said to your boss.

Share

CommentComments

Events

Virtuoso announces its first tech summit

Meanwhile, Travel Weekly will be attempting our first mountain summit. Though it’s not really a mountain, but a hill near our office we try and avoid if possible.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

Aussie representatives made their mark at Australia Marketplace North America

Its rumoured that some of the reps spent the whole time warning Americans about drop bears and telling people how to ride a kangaroo.

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

Tourists stranded as Europe’s rivers continue to drop

Water levels across Europe’s rivers continue to plague cruise operators with reports of marooned boats on the Doubs River.

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

Midweek Interview

Midweek catch-up with Italian hotelier Gaia Quartucci

This week, we sat down with Gaia Quartucci, global sales and marketing director for part of the Small Luxury Hotels of the world group.

Share

CommentComments