The travel industry is changing, it’s had a tough time throughout Covid-19 and it’s not the easiest line of work to be in right now. The industry was the first hit and it will be one of the last to fully recover. So why do we still love it? why do we keep persisting in such a tough industry? If you have flown somewhere recently, you’ve experienced the feeling, the butterflies, the excitement. Thats what people love and miss, it’s the human desire for adventure, the desire to connect and explore. We wanted to share an unbiased view on what it’s been like working in the industry, whats challenging and whats changing.
The travel agent has always been the conduit for the travel supply chain. This is why we have been so busy. Thinking about airlines, accommodation providers and car hire companies, they have all adjusted how they do business. They have changed their pricing, terms and conditions and their product offering. These changes are often implemented immediately without industry notification.
When the travel supply chain does this, it’s a new process or a new product for us to learn quickly. Customers expect the travel agent to know the details and rightly so. Its important of course that we provide the facts and the new process correctly, so that the customer can make a well-informed decision on their travel plans that suits them.
Whilst this has caused many challenges to the travel agent, we personally have been extremely focused on our customers and our employees. The goal is to provide as much information, recommendations and clarity we can with positivity.
When an outbreak occurs we see borders shut within 24 hours. Customers immediately contact the travel agent online, email and/or phone, wanting to change plans or seek advice. We have managed communications very well, to ensure our customers are aware of the best processes and what we are doing to manage the situation.
The industry has been decimated in terms of employment. All travel companies had to let good people go. As a result, many of those wonderful people will not return for a range of reasons. This is the personal side to our industry you only feel if you’re in it. Whilst it’s been tough loosing some of these connections, we are seeing recruitment start again. Inline with travel demand, those companies recruiting are finding it hard to find good people. I see this as a pivotal time for the future development in our travel leaders. Who will be our new thought leaders? Who will step up and take the roles and opportunities?
Technology and automation has long been a large focus for many travel providers. The impact of Covid-19 to the travel industry and its survival however has pushed this focus to the top of the tree. Travel businesses who solely rely on face to face interaction or traditional service methods will find it harder to gain and retain customers.
The customers expectation has changed. Whilst expectations are different for everyone, a customer generally wanted good service at a good price. With the complexity and risk involved in travel today, focus is also on peace of mind and flexibility. Travel agents and suppliers are working at providing this in a range of different mediums. The challenge however is how to provide this information in what was a growing ‘book online’ industry. Can websites satisfy this human desire for trustworthy information in a world of fake news and scams?
Our industry is changing, the way we work, where we work and the customers expectations are all changing. For now it’s all about time, those individuals who stay dedicated and resilient, those who continue to adapt to change as our industry evolves, good times are ahead. We are seeing the travel industry recover, those who will come out ahead are adjusting their businesses now and will be ready for the new world of travel.