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Travel agents have had quite a longstanding relationship with technology. Some 20 plus years ago, they were the retailers with the most sophisticated green-screen technology on their desks. In the past two decades, however, the agency business has gone through an evolution.
These days, the relationship between travel advisors and their clients is boosted by technology but not controlled by it, according to Phocuswright’s U.S. Travel Agency Distribution Landscape: 2016-2021 (which will be released this fall).
Some of this has to do with the move toward working at home: According to the study, more than 51 percent of respondents are home-based. This shift has led to a rapid embrace of technologies that help advisors communicate with their suppliers, peers and customers. Advisors have adapted quickly to using social media, app-based texting methods and mobile-friendly booking methods.
In the last study, Phocuswright’s Travel Agency Distribution Landscape: 2009-2013, mobile usage was below 10 percent across the board. In the most recent study, with research just completed this summer, of the more than 1,500 respondents, 61 percent say they are doing research for their clients on mobile, and 34 percent say they are using mobile to book travel.
When asked why survey respondents were still calling to book products such as cruise and tour, the highest percentage were simply unable to book the specific product their customer wanted or needed online. For the agency community to make even further tech shifts, technology needs to catch up to for these products.
Only a travel professional can unleash the awesome power of Genuine Intelligence — true, human intelligence fueled by the agent’s passion, with technology as the servant and not the master.
What technologies will change the shopping, marketing and sales of travel in the future? Where are the venture capitalists and corporate investors looking for their next big deal in travel? These questions will be answered during the upcoming 2018 Phocuswright Conference, held from Nov. 13-15, in Los Angeles.
According to Phocuswright, The Phocuswright Conference annually attracts nearly 2,000 innovators, decision makers and C-level executives, representing dozens of countries from every travel, tourism and hospitality sector. At this annual event, the most successful and influential companies and leaders in distribution interact to create new partnerships, exchange ideas and understand what competitors are doing. With the travel agency segment changing so rapidly, travel sellers and the suppliers who depend on this channel need to be aware of this continued technological change.
Phocuswright's signature session Executive Roundtable: Street Talk is dedicated to the intersection of finance, investment, M&A, IPOs and the world's largest industry: travel, tourism and hospitality. Wall Street's leading analysts on digital, travel and hospitality will share their perspectives on where the money, the market and its movers will go next.
The Innovation Summit and Launch will showcase companies representing the most innovative in two categories: Innovation Summit (young companies) and Launch (established companies). The program is packed with market-changing innovations presented in a fast-paced, no-holds-barred environment.
Phocuswright analysts will lead executive interviews with leadership from Expedia, Airbnb, Booking Holdings Skyscanner, Lyft, AccorHotels, Hilton Hotels, TripAdvisor, Kayak and Ctrip, among others.
Jenn Lee, vice president of sales and marketing for host agency Travel Planners International (TPI), is attending the conference for the first time this year.
“As we are making decisions about what technologies we should be investing in, we wanted to attend Phocuswright to see the new stuff as well as hear from the innovators in the industry,” Lee said. “At TPI, we’re ready to make big things happen.”
Topics tackled from the center stage and breakout sessions will include: the latest innovations impacting the traveler life cycle; research presentations and sessions geared toward the evolving travel and distribution market; what’s new in regions such as India and Europe; the state of digital travel; the leading intermediaries and business partners distributing travel products; and valuable sessions on how the broader digital travel market impacts the traveler life cycle.
In a recent article in Phocuswire, Trisept Solutions’ president and CEO John Ische positioned the relationship between agents and technology as the ability to create what he termed “genuine intelligence” about a traveler.
“Only a travel professional can unleash the awesome power of Genuine Intelligence — true, human intelligence fueled by the agent’s passion, with technology as the servant and not the master,” he said.
The completed U.S. Travel Agency Distribution Landscape: 2016-2021 will be available for purchase this fall. For further information on sponsorship or custom research from this study contact Kimberly Newbury at [email protected]
Understanding that relationship and where technology is going is critical. The Phocuswright Conference will provide the discussion and insights to better understand the future.
Experience for yourself why The Phocuswright Conference is where ideas are born, partners are found, strategies are honed and deals are done. Register now to save $500 off the final ticket price.
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