As a technology company, Amadeus believes that East African travel agencies which adopt smart technologies, putting the traveler’s needs and interests first, will be the ones who succeed regardless of their business model. Amadeus in the following article highlights how Kenyan travel agencies can offer travelers enhanced services with the use of smart technologies behind the scenes.
How Travel Agencies are using smart technologies to enhance traveller experience
As a technology company, Amadeus believes that East African travel agencies that adopt smart technologies, putting the traveller as the focal point will be the ones who succeed regardless of their business model. We highlight how Kenyan travel agencies can offer travellers enhanced services with the use of smart technologies behind the scenes.
The New Generation Traveller
Greater traveller sophistication is driving increased demand for seamless, more customised, intuitive and flexible solutions meeting the traveller’s personal preferences. Now that more knowledge is available about travel options, new generation travellers are more demanding in terms of the offered services and products. The continuing shift to digitisation and the increasing complexity and personalisation of the travel offer have placed further pressure on travel providers to access advanced, scalable technology solutions.
An online survey carried out by ICM Research for the second edition of Amadeus Business Travel Insights surveyed 411 people from large companies (+250 employees) who travel regularly for business:
· Efficiency emerged as the top priority with 21% saying that they value getting the job done as efficiently as possible and they would like end-to-end experiences from their travel providers.
· Ancillary services are highly valued by many business travellers. 62% of travellers value the ability to book added extras (such as extra legroom, meals and lounge access) as part of their corporate booking process.
· Lack of information about delays came up as the business traveller’s chief source of frustration. Customer communication and real-time updates need to be prioritized by travel providers.
Kenyan Travel companies are just beginning to leverage all the data they have on customers. The use of this data will offer personalised travel offers to consumers by addressing individual customer preferences, priorities and frustrations. It is important for local travel agencies to stay updated with travel trends and know what their customers want so as to retain customer loyalty.
Technology in Business Travel
As travellers become more fluent in the language of digital technology and interiorize technology, they become highly adept at interacting with it, always-connected. This has had a great impact on how travellers organize their trips, as well as on the manner in which local travel agencies interact with their clients. Mobile and social networks have become normal part of their lives and many travel agencies are utilizing these platforms to reach out to travellers.
Amadeus’ study “From chaos to collaboration” foresees most people will have adopted 4G technology by 2016. With the recent arrival of 4G to Kenya, travellers will be able to access a greater number of more efficient and sophisticated mobile services in a simpler and faster manner. Being permanently connected to their customers will in fact translate into new business opportunities for Kenyan travel industry providers.
It’s difficult to recall the days of travel before smartphones were ubiquitous – but mobile has changed the way the travel industry operates on all levels. For corporate travellers, mobile apps are fundamentally altering the way in which they work and being able to manage their travel requirements at anytime, anywhere with speed and ease are what these travellers expect.
New possibilities are emerging to integrate various components in the travel value chain and provide genuine end-to-end solutions.
So how can travel agents support the traveller journey through the smart use of technology?
Amadeus smart technologies have benefitted small to medium travel agencies from across the country, proving that an agency does not need to be large scaled to offer the best value add services. Some of these include: Carlson Wagonlit Travel, Travelwise Kenya, Fleet Travel, Anste Tours & Travels, African Touch Safaris, Fourways Travel Services, Vogue Tours & Travels, Tripple Tours & Travel, Twiga Tours and many more.
Amadeus Technology directly assists the traveller and makes their trip easier, efficient and hassle free. Kenyan Travel Agencies should always be on the cutting edge and constantly aware of travel trends and smart technologies. There’s a rich portfolio of Amadeus solutions that can be made available to Travel Agencies to fulfill and service the travel during a trip both for business and leisure. Some solutions used behind the scenes by Travel Agents to enhance traveller experience include:
Amadeus Air Content
Amadeus Air Contentis rich and superior as it gives you much more than just a Best Fare, it gives you the BEST BUY. This is a combination of Best Price, Best Time and Best Policy.
Best Price – Amadeus is leading in its low fare search technology. Amadeus Master Pricer Expert provides private and corporate fares directly from airlines in seconds, all of which are immediately bookable.
Best Time – Amadeus content is enriched with 70+ Low Cost Carrier (LCC) content. Precious time can be saved by choosing a flight combination of a LCC and a regular carrier (FSC) on Amadeus, these interline combinations would be missed if you were booking directly on the website.
Best Policy – It’s important to have a good balance between giving choice (for the traveller) and control (from compliance to policy).
As a Travel Manager you want to ensure that you can get a good balance between what’s good for the Travel Programme (savings) is also good and pragmatic for the traveller (convenience and comfort) and the challenge is that it remains as Policy compliant at all times.
Amadeus Ticket Changer (ATC)
This is an entirely automated suite of products that allows travel agencies to efficiently manage traveller’s change requests in a matter of minutes, whether it is re-pricing, re-issuing or refunding a ticket or itinerary, helping reduce costs and providing travellers with an exceptional service. Simple and easy to use, it dramatically cuts the time to process changes to the travellers itinerary, saving time and money. When trying to change tickets manually it would take almost 15 minutes compared to 1 minute if done through a travel agent using ATC.
Sahra Abdi, Head of Branch at BCD Travel Kenya UN office, says, “Being a part of a global Travel Management Company, our Travel Counselors have to be prompt, efficient, and provide the highest level of standards at par with the world. How do we do this? Amadeus has an entire suite of tools that are intelligent enough to “think” for our people. An example is the ticket changer which is quick and to the point allowing for speedy ticket reissues and changes giving our team the time to do what they do best – concentrate on giving our clients optimum service.”
Amadeus Ancillary Services
With 47% of travellers already purchasing ancillary services directly online, offering these services to travellers is key to maintaining competitive edge against the rest of the travel industry. Local Travel Agents can now completely incorporate ancillary services into the booking flow. Competing on service is easier than competing on price. Kenyan Travel Agents can provide travellers with an increasing choice of nearly 70 Low Cost Carriers + Ancillaries available on 23 airlines/50 services in 80 countries.
Catherine Nanjala, Travel Consultant at Bridging the World Tours and Travel, Nairobi, says, "Ancillary services has made my work very easy and convenient. It is time saving because before, going through the Airline to get these services for travelers was tedious. Now, when I have a passenger who wants provision for excess baggage it is very easy to meet their need. Sometimes passengers want to purchase extra legroom, which I can do very quickly. I always get immediate confirmation on the availability of the ancillary service, with equal accuracy on pricing as with the air fare. Full integration with the PNR, as well as in my mid- and back-office processes. This minimizes errors from manual entries and maximizes my revenue. The ancillary service from Amadeus is very convenient and has given me the opportunity to meet my customers needs from a single point"
Amadeus Mobile Messenger
As obligations on corporations to ensure traveller safety become more stringent, Duty of care solutions powered by mobile technology ensure they are able to rise to the challenge.
Amadeus Mobile Messenger lets travel managers assist travelers before and during their trips particularly in disruptive situations or in risky areas. A travel manager can also request the GPS position from a traveler. If the traveler agrees, the geocodes of his location are sent back to the travel manager. This helps keep track of the traveller and ensures their safety. Traveller frustrations arise when there are travel disruptions and urgent alternatives are needed. The core frustration is the delay/cancellation of flights. 32,000 flights were cancelled in the last 30 Days. What if your agent could send you AUTOMATED alternate proposals to your mobile?
Amadeus Mobile Messenger has a 4/5 ranking on Google Play with between 1000-5000 downloads.
Whilst travellers have the knowledge and resources to book their own trips, travel agencies provide a valuable service to travellers and are still very fundamental in 2015. They help travellers save precious time and cut costs ensuring travellers get the Best Buy. Travellers can expect from travel agencies who adopt smart technologies:
_ Personalisation with travellers recognised at every step of their travel experience
_ Choice for travellers by accessing one of the largest content sources (incl. Ancillary Services)
_ Peace of mind to succeed with their mission for consistent service across all channels
_ End-to-end experiences from pre-trip, on-trip and post-trip making the whole travel experience seamless
_ Instant information about delayed/cancelled flights
_ Lack of Error since a travel agency is automated and can serve you in 1 minute compared to 10 minutes if done manually
Notes to Editor
Amadeus is a leading IT provider to the travel industry, Amadeus serves the needs of travel providers and travel sellers. We provide technology to Travel Management Companies, Business Travel Agencies, Online Travel Agencies, Leisure Travel Agencies, Vertically Integrated Tour Operators, Consolidators and Single Site Travel Agencies
Amadeus offers probably the most comprehensive portfolio of travel solutions available to travel agencies today and we have a track record of delivering truly innovative solutions that enables them to:
_ to connect to the richest and most relevant content
_ to serve and only a truly differentiated service to customers
_ to manage their business with unique technology leadership