Harnessing Technology

By Richard Savva

Technology is evolving at such a pace it can be daunting and scary trying to keep up with it. That’s the case for personal use as much as within your business.

Everyday there is a new innovative solution launch involving artificial intelligence (AI), voice recognition, blockchain and the recent one to completely blow my mind is Google Duplex!

So how can we manage our travel agency and compete with all these new whizz-bang solutions? Instead of being overwhelmed by them I would suggest you take the time to see which of them will affect your business.

Look at how you transact business today from the following focus points:

Are you losing clients and prospects to online solutions?

Is it harder to employ experienced consultants and managers?

Are your internal administration processes using up significant time?

Is your three to five year business plan (yes you must have a plan to allow your business to survive & grow) including technology either as a sales tool, automating internal processes or customer engagement (CRM tool)?

These are areas you need to review as a minimum.

It is relatively easy to incorporate an online booking tool to your website and thereby capture any clients or ‘tyre-kickers’ for a lower cost and means your office can be open 24/7.

Employing & retaining quality staff is tough. Travel is not as glamourous as it used to be so allow your team to focus on the client and remove boring repetitive actions that don’t add value and are fraught with potential errors. Invest in robotic automation at as many stages of your business as possible.

What is your plan for the company? Be sure that although there will always be those loyal clients that will visit your office or call you, if you are too succeed in the future there has to be a keen focus on technology.

Cashflow can be the hardest issue to deal with and with ever decreasing IATA airline payment terms you need to consider alternative payment solutions and that might include virtual cards. It’s not as daunting as it might seem.

Blockchain, New Distribution Capability (NDC) and AI will affect your business so it’s much better to learn how you can benefit from using these solutions rather than letting them overrun you. There are numerous learning opportunities at travel technology events and industry associations.

It won’t cost a fortune to engage with these technologies, but it could cost you your business if you don’t.