With a new travel season reaching its peak, USTOA President Terry Dale shared some insights in a short interview with Global Corporate Payments by American Express®. Below are key takeaways to help guide your business.
Travel industry is steadily recovering from the recession, seeing growth in 2013 and poised to see growth in double digit numbers in 2014 reports. Growth in customers is also a good predictor of long-term growth - customers get hooked on the amazing value proposition and generate repeat business.
Many businesses worry about attracting new generations but research that USTOA did with Cornell’s MBA program on demographics in the travel industry suggest that businesses should instead focus on carrying to specific experiences or traveler types. Instead of grouping customers into age groups, focus on customer behaviour, preferences, and "style" of traveling - this will guarantee satisfaction, repeat business and referrals. It is also important to remember that Millennials are now catching up to Baby Boomers generation and they expect a more tech-savvy and connected experiences:
They want online transactions they want websites where they can ask questions, and generate product information, and they want to interact with companies via mobile apps. This is a place where we as an industry really need to raise our game and respond to customer demands.
In order to "service these customers in the future," travel businesses need sophisticated technology to help them be efficient and accessible:
If our members get the right systems in place, it will make them more profitable because it will take fewer team members to execute transactions.
Just like in any other industry, businesses must continuously reinvent themselves, their products, services, and how they connect with their customers.
Read the full interview “Maximizing Success in an Evolving Travel Industry”