Do Trends in the Travel Sector Holds Clues for Entertainment?

27 September, 2010 at 12:42 pm 1 comment

History shows that the travel sector, more than most others, is at the mercy of the global economic tide, growing slightly faster than the economy in boom periods, falling slightly more than the economy during the downturns.” I wonder if entertainment responds similarly?

Traditional cabin classes to be replaced by “virtual classes” as individual traveller preferences create a personalised experience. The future of the aircraft cabin is set to go through significant changes as customers are able to share their preferences with airlines and airlines will be expected to meet their individual needs leading to the decline of traditional cabin classes.” Looks like another example of simple segmentation not cutting the mustard, let alone ‘one size fits all’. More one to one marketing is likely to be demanded and that is increasingly technically feasible with information enabled relationship marketing.

64% of people believe it is very likely that they will be booking the bulk of their travel online by 2015 (Fast Future 2009).” The rates of adoption we are seeing with online ticketing for entertainment would suggest that the majority of entertainment will be booked online in the very near future.

Agents are likely to reinvent their role as bespoke travel advisors and as a trusted source of information.”  Similarly, entertainment ticketing agents must become advisors and trusted sources of information moving beyond the current purely transactional focus. If not, here is another reason why the ticket agent is a dinosaur that has outlived its purpose.

Agents to focus on industry niches and expert advice in the future. Their customer offer will focus on ensuring that their clients are assisted across the entirety of the travel experience.

In discussing some of the possibilities to generate more revenue, ancillary revenues are mooted: “À la carte Ancillary Services, products and services which were previously included in the ticket price such as checked baggage/ sports equipment, seat assignment, priority boarding, in-flight meals, snacks, beverages and pillows. This also covers totally new added value services such as “elite security” lanes or guaranteed exit row seats.” I find this interesting as it suggests offering and being charged for extra services i.e. augmenting the basic service offered. Maybe entertainment could learn from this. However an important distinction is that this is charging for extra services, not just charging extra fees for “convenience” or “print at home tickets”! If entertainment could learn one thing from travel let’s hope it is getting rid of additional and annoying fees.

It is likely that successful agents will exploit their traditional role as information aggregators – saving time and money for their clients. However, this is dependent on their willingness to embrace and work with new technologies rather than against them.

Thanks to Roger Tomlinson for putting me on to this report.

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Tim Roberts  |  28 September, 2010 at 3:13 pm

    Report tells agents how to avoid extinction

    Travel agents of the future should become lifestyle managers, sell more ancillary products, or help give customers a more seamless travel experience.

    These are some of the recommendations made to agents in the latest industry report by Amadeus, carried out in conjunction with Oxford Economics.

    Call The Travel Goldrush 2020, the 42-page report explores the future for airlines and agents, based on in-depth interviews with key industry figures.

    It concluded that agents potentially face even greater challenges than airlines in managing their future business.

    But it said face to face agents should benefit from a series of trends, including:

    - fragmentation of the travel market
    - the growth of less familiar destinations
    - time poverty
    - an ageing population with specialised needs
    - the growing recognition that support is needed when things go wrong.

    The report suggests that agents may become ‘lifestyle managers’, providing higher-margin, tailored services to consumers, like health and fitness, in their home countries and abroad.

    Alternatively, it said through technology such as smartphones, agents could provide customers with specific, real time, interactive information on plane and local train/bus timetables, hotels and key sites of interest near a traveller’s location.

    “Location-specific software packages could be sold through, or developed by, agents, for a traveller’s upcoming trip,” said the report.

    Agents could also develop their businesses so they act as experience centres, providing customers with essential details and specialised information on destinations and saving them the time of doing it themselves.

    “Likewise, there is a feeling that agents will be there for you in the event of difficulties – as exemplified by the
    disruptions caused to European flights following the volcanic eruption in April 2010,” says the report.

    “For agents, the future is likely to be about focusing on market niches and specialisation. The fragmentation of the market means that a very large number of niches could emerge.”

    It said agents should specialise in experiences or destinations.

    “As one interviewee pointed out, face to face agents have transformed the physical look of their shopfronts, and have taken on an appearance closer to that of lifestyle goods, re-emphasising their role as specialists and suppliers of luxury goods.

    “Specialised areas may prove to be high yield ones, particularly for those agents that are first movers, take the initiative and provide a what’s next offer.”

    The report also suggested that agents might need to turn to online models to survive, earning their revenues through pay-per-click or advertising-based models.

    “Some 60% of travel sales are already managed online in some regions such as Scandinavia. From this point of view the future would see people paying for a service that accesses other people’s research about a destination, making face to face contact less relevant,” it said.

    By Bev Fearis

    Reply

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