Yesterday, 11 February, Amadeusthe consultancy BRAINTRUST and Segittur presented the results of the II Innovation Report of Travel Agencies in Spain, a biannual study whose objective is to know the level of innovation of the agencies in our country, in order to identify the existing opportunities for the improvement of the sector.
According to this report, the second to be published after the one published in 2016, eight out of 10 travel agencies will invest the same amount in innovation this year as they did in 2018. This is so, they say, because three out of four agencies believe that the innovations they are currently implementing fit with the needs demanded by travellers; 62.5 percent of the market, in fact, believes that the innovations introduced are "fairly" adapted to these. On the other hand, 12 per cent plan to increase funding for this area, while only four per cent will spend less money.
Three out of 10 agencies also believe that they innovate more than other players in the sector and half of them believe that other agencies invest as much as they do.
How to attract new customers, how to manage budgets and bookings, and access to information from suppliers and destinations are the areas where agencies feel more investment is needed for the future.
On the other hand, the perceived cost of innovation, the lack of technological training and the uncertainty of business evolution are the main obstacles to innovation.
Innovation, in any case, is a fundamental element, and this is how agencies perceive it. 38% of the agencies surveyed rate the impact of innovation on the business as "high" or "very high".
The results, moreover, prove it: the companies with the highest growth in turnover have been those that have invested the most in innovation.
More than half of the agencies develop innovation internally, although most of them do so to adapt other companies' innovations; 35 per cent implement it together with other companies or institutions.
In fact, the number of agencies that already have a specific innovation department has increased: both in large agencies (from 25 to 55.6%) and in small agencies (from 13 to 18%), reflecting the greater consideration of innovation as a key element.
Travel agents' views on the level of innovation in their companies clash, in some cases, with the perception of travellers and experts, who mostly believe that the level of innovation is similar to, or even lower than, that of other sectors.
Travellers and experts also disagree on the degree of innovation offered by travel agencies as a whole, which achieves an average score close to "good" (58.7), a rating that is lower than the previous IIAVE index, which in 2016 was around "good" (63.5).
In comparison with other sectoral players, agencies would fall two positions and would be placed in the middle, behind hotels (the most innovative, according to the aforementioned index), airlines, travellers and cruises. Rent a car and rail would close this ranking.
In order to draw up the conclusions of the II Report on Innovation in Travel Agencies in Spain, the opinions of more than 1,200 representatives of the travel and tourism sector, including travel agencies, suppliers, travellers and experts, as well as official and own sources, have been taken into account.
Para David Vidal, director Comercial de Amadeus en España, «Los resultados de este segundo informe indican que, a pesar de todos los avances que se han realizado, todavía queda camino por recorrer en materia de innovación, pues es, sin duda, una de las claves de futuro de las agencias de viajes, un sector fundamental en la economía del turismo de nuestro país. Y en ese trayecto hacia la total transformación digital de las agencias, Amadeus siempre estará a su lado, como lo ha estado en los últimos 30 años, pues las agencias y sus clientes están siempre muy presentes en nuestra estrategia y nuestra meta como empresa líder en innovación es impulsar mejores viajes a través de la tecnología”.
En opinión de Ángel García Butragueño, director de Turismo y Ocio de Brainstrust, y miembro de su consejo asesor, “el mundo va tan deprisa y los cambios son tan rápidos que, pese a que las agencias están invirtiendo en innovación y aplicando cambios sustanciales en sus modelos de negocio, no consiguen que los viajeros perciban realmente ese impacto. Esto se debe a que hay mucha inversión en innovación que va «por detrás» en procesos y herramientas, no como en otros sectores donde los cambios son más evidentes. Por ello las agencias deben centrarse en aplicar cambios orientados a conocer y segmentar a sus clientes, personalizar la propuesta de valor y dar a conocer sus innovaciones, y en ese contexto desde BRAINTRUST ayudamos a las agencias en su transformación. No se trata de invertir más, sino de invertir mejor y comunicarlo adecuadamente.”
For the president of Segittur, Enrique Martínez Marín, in an environment dominated by increasing volatility, generalised uncertainty and change in all aspects of our lives, the tourism sector faces the challenge of identifying and diagnosing accurately and with the necessary anticipation, those global threats and opportunities that, hand in hand with technology, can call into question established models. In these circumstances, innovation is the only way to survive change.