The Spanish Confederation of Travel Agencies (CEAV) and the consultancy firm BRAINTRUST, specialised in the tourism sector, have launched a new analysis on the booking channels that will be most used after the health crisis and where travellers place travel agencies in their travel plans.
Travel agencies, the safest purchasing channel
According to data from BRAINTRUSTAccording to data from the European Travel Agency, 20% of travellers indicate that the way they book their trips will change after the health crisis and the use of face-to-face travel agencies will increase (+30%) and online travel agencies (+26%). The main reason why many travellers book their trips and getaways through an agency is because of the security and guarantee they are offered (34%), although they also do it for convenience (25%) and for the advice they receive (17%).
In a situation in which the new traveller profile has security and trust as a priority, travel agencies have the opportunity to emerge stronger from this situation. Their role will be fundamental in the particular de-escalation of the world of travel, and this requires adaptation.
Travellers will demand the services of travel agencies, but they will do so through online channels to avoid crowds and queues. This does not mean the disappearance of those customers who come in person to book their trips, so branches will have to improve their size, have open spaces, manage prior appointments, have contactless payment methods, etc.
Moreover, nowadays, travellers need extensive advice to know the restrictions of the places they visit, to have a backup in case of cancellation or interruption of the trip and also to be attended to with as little contact as possible, so the concept of travel advisor is gaining more and more strength. In this age of teleworking, this is a solution for many agencies that have been forced to close their shops, but can continue to offer their services through agents working from home or as freelance agents.
The additional guarantee of quality and security that can come from an agency's membership of an association of travel agencies will also become important.
For Carlos Garrido, president of CEAV, it is therefore a question of "adapting to the times and taking this health crisis as an opportunity to completely close the travel purchasing process in its most technological and remote version, without losing the essence of a traditional travel agency".
For Ángel García Butragueño, Director of Tourism and Leisure at BRAINTRUST, "travel agencies cannot sit back and wait for everything to go back to the way it was, because nothing will ever be the same again. They must standardise and automate their processes and procedures, get used to remote customer service, train in new technologies, get to know their customers better, design new products adapted to reality and attract new segments that were not previously customers of the agencies".