What should travel companies ask from their tech service providers?
ET Travelworld summarized the most important aspects of Mr. George Dumitru’s recent session at World Travel Market on the Travel Forward virtual stage.
Asking travel tech providers to be prepared to maintain the growth when travel swings back, George Dumitru, CEO, wbe.travel, talks about how technology can be leveraged to move forward to make travel more accessible.
An article published by: Peden Doma Bhutia ET TravelWorld.com
While it may be difficult for George Dumitru, CEO, wbe.travel, to hazard a guess about the timeframe for a complete recovery of the travel and tourism industry, but he sure is confident that technology will be essential for all stakeholders and the right technology will allow them to manage their content better.
Figuring out whether Covid-19 has exposed the industry and understanding the current pain-points and the need to remove them, Dumitru talked about making travel more accessible on Day 2 of WTM Virtual.
While the forecasts about recovery extend up to 2023 and 2024, Dumitru says there is a need to think ahead and plan for the future. With demand for domestic and regional travel signalling a positive step ahead, he says travel bubbles have also helped increase travel demand.
Scalable travel technology
Urging stakeholders to change their focus to make sure that they get some sales out of this current situation, Dumitru says, “With the right technology, travel companies will be able to categorise their content better and create specific booking engines around specific services. They can then focus on selling their strong directly-managed products, for instance, to segment the content for specific destinations. Also, we’ve noticed that a ‘safe for travel’ label is essential to be displayed in booking engines. So that has to be added and the technology needs to support this as part of the offering on the account.” He goes on to explain that companies that offer safe experiences, or alternative accommodations for remote locations, or family vacations in villas or apartments, can then create different selling points for each of these categories and market them differently. But for that, travel companies need to make sure that their travel tech providers are able to provide them with the necessary tools to support this.
Be prepared for the comeback
Dumitru opines that today, technology needs to be approached differently because while some companies may be oriented towards increasing sales, some would be more focused on making operations efficient, thereby helping to cut costs. “If companies want to manage costs better, of course technology will be the way to go. On the other hand, if one has reached a point where they cannot cut costs any more, because they need to keep the core team, then maybe a sales-oriented technology will help them to try to get as much as possible from this current demand,” he says. Confident about travel bouncing back, a positive Dumitru says that this down time should be used to prepare for the future. Talking about the rebound of travel, he remarks, “The question isn’t if it will happen, it’s when it will happen. Travel stakeholders should now think about what they should be doing now to improve their technology, to prepare for the future. They need to evaluate their technology options and start investing in it a bit. I know that the budgets are no longer there like before, but they need to find solutions with their tech providers.”
Ask for Flexibility from your tech partner
Dumitru dubs flexibility as the most important aspect of a travel company’s relationship with their technology provider. “Tech service providers need to be able to help companies by upscaling and also downscaling their offers and their platforms. While companies may not be witnessing a lot of sales at the moment, but there would be demand in a couple of months or maybe in a year, so technology should be able to support these demands when they come. At the moment, the technology provider needs to be able to help companies to downscale their platform to meet the existing demand, but they may have to scale it up overnight when the time comes.” This, Dumitru says can happen through different schemes implemented in different ways and should be a combination of a cloud service and a subscription model.
Read the whole piece from ET TravelWorld HERE.
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