Travel Agents often it is felt that in the changing scenario of Internet and website use in travel & tourism business tour operators/travel agents' role is very limited and they need to adjust themselves to the new scenario by changing the style of their functioning, diversifying their operators, and providing value added services.
Even there is a thinking that tour operators may not be require for any service to their clients. They would be closing their shops and do something else. Do not get disheartened with such comments. Tour Operators was always they were also their and they are still operating and they will continue to operate but will operate with higher responsibilities and will have to be more professional in their approach. They will be charging higher fees on their advisory guidance and interested parties will pay happily. This role they could not have anticipated earlier and even the money it can provide (which was earlier restricted to commissions only will be much higher).
Let travel agents/tour operators regard themselves not as mere sellers of airline or railway tickets, but as friends, philosophers and guides to the general public; it implies that they should do their job not to make money alone but to work with a mission.
They should delve into the mind and soul of a passenger and find out what are his specific interests, needs and passions. This is the first step towards giving him specially designated solutions. You must also know their own USPs and provide useful and unique service and information to make themselves indispensable to the passengers.
They should know all about the current market and where they stand and come out with a suitable strategy to bridge the gap. They should also use the latest tools including comprehensive travel technology solutions. There is a need not only to be a specialist but a super specialist if they have to survive in this competitive business climate of today. Let them give the customers lifetime value service and build them into their regular clients. Let them invest in them with high value products creating an impression of exclusivity. Let them improve their products in view of the changing customer needs and demands without forcing anything which benefits them and not the clients.
Let them be on the run to find answers to such questions as:
- What do my customers expect from me?
- What can I do to exceed their expectations?
- What value added services can be introduced to make myself more useful to my customers?
- Who are my best customers?
- What can I do to ensure that they never leave me?
- If some of them have left, why they have done so? What can I do to bring them back?
Constant search for answers to these questions and their implementation, constitute the trade secret which unfortunately very few know.
Also without putting all eggs into one basket, they should think of venturing into non air segments such as car rentals, hotels, cruises, helicopters, insurance and other related services. All these offer business opportunities which could be fully exsplored with maximum benefit to themselves.