Global Travel

Travel 2017: Return of the travel agent

The travel industry may experience a retro-trend as live travel agents are becoming increasingly popular again said a survey by travel bookings firm Reservations.com. With a new generation of travelers seeking to curate one-of-a-kind trips with the guidance of a travel expert, online travel agencies are offering access to live customer service agents to assist, it said.

Additionally, OTAs are enabling data persistence across all booking channels, to provide a seamless and efficient interaction, whether travelers choose to book solely with a live agent or across a variety of channels. Here is a breakdown of trend for travel businesses in 2017

Live Travel Agents: Although there has been enormous advancement in automation, the industry is seeing a trend to bring back the human element for more curated bespoke experiences and provide on-demand personal travel services.

Data Persistence: As many travelers are still hesitant to book solely on mobile, major brands are enabling data persistence across all their booking channels and devices with the goal of making the booking process natural, smooth and seamless. Travelers can start a personalized booking process on a third-party widget, continue it on the desktop website and finalize on a mobile device all while maintaining their preferences and information to complete the booking process effortlessly.

Points PLUS Cash: Mixing points and cash is becoming increasingly popular as many companies are opting to move away from traditional loyalty programs to give the traveler more options on how to pay for an upcoming trip.

Personalized Travel: Personalized travel planning experiences will be on the rise. While they have been promised for years, with new platforms like Reservations.com changing offering personalized recommendations based on a user’s travel behavior, travel brands will have to shift to this custom-made mode to attract and accommodate savvy travelers.

Full-Circle Booking: Hotel-only booking sites are soon to become a thing of the past. New services offering online itinerary building in addition to hotel booking, such as activity and tour reservations, car rentals and travel insurance options, are becoming the standard in new booking platforms.

Bleisure Travel: Bleisure travel, the newly coined term for the rising trend business and leisure travel, is here to stay. Expect to see a rise in high-tech and other trendy amenities in what were previously considered business-only hotels.

Musafir Namah Bureau

 

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