Physical Travel Agencies in the Age of e-Commerce

There used to be a time and place when shopping online was not as popular and widespread occurrence as it is today. Reasonably, travelers were concerned in the safety of purchasing flights and hotels online, by themselves. They couldn’t trust online travel portals.

But with the rise of e-commerce, booking without a travel agent started to gain appeal with travelers. Nowadays, nobody can deny the convenience that booking with an online travel agency offers to the modern-day traveler as opposed to booking travel packages with a traditional travel agency.

Just how popular are online travel agencies (OTAs) nowadays?

Research suggests online travel agencies are a favored option for an overwhelming 95% of American travelers, four in five trips by European travelers in 2008, and nearly 50 percent of Australians traveling overseas.

The immediacy, the speed and the convenience of booking at any time and from any place are only some of the reasons why.

Here are other reasons for their popularity:

  • no travel agent commission
  • works well for simple itineraries
  • site tools and options enable travelers to compare travel options quickly
  • possibility to save using online sources of big discounts that travel agents don’t use

Of course, these benefits come at a price. Time spent planning the vacation without a travel agent can account up to 22.95 hours of digital travel media for an American traveler in the six weeks prior to the booking.

Time or money – what’s worth saving?

That being said, travelers less concerned with financials and more with productivity will be more inclined to hire a travel agent and let them handle all the organizational hassle instead.

This is specifically true for corporate travelers, who often have long-term contracts with travel agents who understand their particular preferences and budget limitations, instead of booking through an OTA.

Similarly, luxury travelers often choose to have travel agents create tailor-made travel itineraries for them. Their larger budgets allow them to value the perks of having a personal travel agent instead of a cheap flight.

All of the above suggests that there is still a need for travel agents. In fact, there are many cases when booking with a travel agent is still the preferred option – for example, German travelers opt for one more than 90% time.

How is it then possible that the majority of existent travel agencies are rendered traffic-less with the constantly emerging OTAs?

The year is 2019, physical travel agencies!

The reason many physical agencies are falling behind is that they continue doing business the same way they did decades ago.

They are neither modernizing their business process nor adapting to the digital transformation that could actually help their business thrive.

By combining the benefits of travel agents with the convenience of self-service platforms, businesses could improve operations, automate, and customize their processes.

The more types of software you have, the better?

Apart from booking hotels and flights, the daily operations of a typical travel agent usually include scheduling, tour program creation, consultation services, activities booking, vendor negotiation, creating personalized tours, and finding the best fare for a client’s budget.

Most of them know that this doesn’t have to be done by hand or in Excel spreadsheets, as there are already available online solutions on the market specialized in a certain type of operation.

However, in the attempt to upgrade their manual business processes, many agencies will use a few types of software, each for a specific function. But is using 5 different types of software really convenient?

Hire more people or acquire travel software, that is the question

An increased number of booking means travel agencies need to hire more people to handle the load.

Hiring more people means bigger expenses. With a quality travel software that takes care of the entire business process, you can save resources and lower expenses.

Most importantly, with a variety of different modules for different parts of the business process, it’s completely customizable to your unique travel business.

Not only do you save money, but also get benefits that only a digital system can give you. Speed, accuracy, automation, and the centralization of all business processes in one place.

Why should you use travel software?

Traditional travel agencies are still in demand for certain customers and some markets, but the most competitive travel agencies will be those that can respond to the need of every type of traveler.

Here, adopting enhancing technology is not simply a suggestion, but a vital action that will help you stay ahead of your competition.

Travel software helps travel agencies and tour operators run their businesses more effectively, empowering them with automation that leaves more time for closing deals and less need for paperwork and scheduling.

How to choose the right travel software?

A good travel agency software should bring out the advantages of traditional agencies and make their business process more efficient.

Whether you are looking for accounting, reservation, or marketing software – or preferably one that covers all parts of your business, be careful not to create new obstacles with a user interface so complicated that your agents prefer returning to their Excel spreadsheets.

Travel software is an investment, so make sure you get to know the system inside and out before investing in it. Ask everything you want to know and be certain that the software will work for your specific business case.

Be prepared that transferring your business from Excel and learning how to use new software takes time, but it’s nothing compared to the time you’ll save with great travel software.

Request a personalized demo presentation

One way to find out which software works best for you is through a tailor-made demo presentation held by travel software advisors.

By performing a deep discovery of your unique business processes, software advisors are able to recommend those software modules that your business will benefit from the most.

If you still haven’t found the software that is perfect for your travel business, let our software advisors show you the power of Lemax software in a personalized demo presentation.

Do you want the best travel software for your travel business?

Arrange a demo with Lemax travel software advisor