If you don’t have a time machine, how the hell are you supposed to know what the future has in store for the world of travel?
With a crystal ball of course! We take a look into ours, and fill you in.
These are the five big trends that are going to take agents into the future…
1. Virtual reality
Bye bye brochures and hello immersive video.
Consumers will be given the opportunity to “try before they buy” as virtual reality comes to the world of travel.
Futuristic headsets are set to become commonplace in travel agencies, with companies like Contiki and Shangri-La already investing heavily in this area.
Even if travellers don’t have access to the headgear, they can still get a feel for a place or experience using 360 video.
Facebook has already rolled out the enhanced video to its news feed with founder Mark Zuckerberg proclaiming it the next big thing.
2. Zero commission
Travel Counsellors General Manager David Hughes predicts that zero commissions will become the norm within the next five years, meaning agents will have to look for different ways to add value to transactions with service the name of the game.
This approach would also help them stand out from online competition, which is primarily price-driven.
And while there will always be travellers working to a tight budget, the rest are in search of top notch service.
Already LCC’s have become a fundamental (and non-commission-paying) part of the travel landscape, and one that agents can no longer afford to ignore.
3. Sharing is caring
Airbnb, Uber and Spotify have been making waves around the world for several years now, disrupting the way we conduct our daily business.
But what are the implications for travel agents?
The opportunity for agents is huge. Using these innovative tools, they can create truly unique itineraries for their clients that utterly meet their needs and exceed expectations.
After all, the sharing economy is built on a peer trust rather than transactions with faceless brands – it’s a perfect fit for the travel agent community.
4. Mobile take-off
The Internet was once seen as the agent’s worst enemy, but that is no longer the case. More and more travel retailers are embracing the power of the web, turning it to their own advantage, and mobile is no exception.
Although a recent PhocusWright report showed that Australian travel companies have yet to significantly invest in mobile, a dramatic shift looks imminent.
After all, mobile has been growing in importance for travellers for some time, with younger travellers unsurprisingly the heaviest users accounting for 46% of overall use.
5. Hello Millennials
Clichés about Millennials (the generation that reached adulthood around 2000 – in case you didn’t know) abound. Among them, the idea that they are utterly addicted to technology.
There may be some truth to that sweeping generalisation, but surprisingly more and more time-poor Millennials are seeking the advice of travel agents rather than booking online.
After all, the sheer volume of travel websites can be overwhelming. Agents to the rescue!
What do you think the future has in store for the world of travel?
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