Travel consultants of tomorrow

To emerge stronger from Covid-19, travel agencies will need to reskill their workforce in four critical areas

Brought to you by Amadeus

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More than 50 per cent of business leaders within the travel industry have attributed people to their organisation’s success even as technology offers new frontiers, uncovers Amadeus’ new report, The Travel Consultant of Tomorrow.

However, the Covid-19 crisis has accelerated the need to enhance workforce skills, as new technologies and ways of working were disrupting jobs and the skills employees needed to do them. Even newly acquired skills may quickly become obsolete, as seen in ILO Global Commission on the Future of Work.

In the travel agency workforce, more than one third of business leaders said that competencies, recruiting and retaining the right talent were their biggest concerns. Many travel agencies said they struggle to find people with the right technical skills to build, implement and manage new technology, alongside human abilities such as creative thinking and problem solving. AI and automation will see the role of the travel agent become more dynamic, as the World Economic Forum describes, ‚ÄúPersonal travel assistants who are partially data scientists, partially lifestyle gurus.‚ÄĚ

Moving forward with delivering better journeys, industry leaders have identified four areas where the travel agency workforce will need reskilling:

1. Evolve from being travel bookers to travel consultants

The rapid adoption of AI and smart technology will see travel agents evolve from being travel bookers to well-rounded travel consultants. In Amadeus’ report, 46 per cent of business leaders will invest in automation over the next five years, followed by dynamic pricing (35 per cent) and mobile strategy (35 per cent). These technologies will free up time on simple tasks such as office administration and booking flights.

Industry stakeholders have also observed, these travel consultants of the future will need to be versed in navigating technology, as well as being apt in providing personalised services in supporting travellers and businesses.

2. Master the fundamentals of travel and digital technology

When we consider the role technology has played ‚Äď particularly during the pandemic ‚Äď one example that comes to mind is how real-time data and travel technology tools have assisted travel agents in dealing with massive reschedules and ticket cancellations

As technical skills become highly valued to travel agency businesses, travel consultants will need to have greater understanding of coding for their website and apps, analysing traveller data for risk management and planning, and digital marketing to connect with online consumers. Social media skills training should be conducted for all customer-facing teams, not just the marketing department.

3. Build adaptability and resilience to manage disruptions effectively

The pandemic has shown us how critical it is to plan and prepare for disruptions. Travel consultants will be expected to have access to the latest border control guidelines, safety protocols at the destination and onsite cleanliness updates for the hotels and services they’re arranging.

Travel employers should consider how to motivate and upskill a workforce that may need to manage disruptions for travelers and corporation remotely. Partnerships with technology companies who can alleviate crisis impact and offer relief measure solutions; agility and adaptability skills in the hiring process; creating multi-disciplinary and diverse teams; and being responsive by means of offering different channels of contact are a few options.

4. Strengthen emotional skills to foster stronger customer relationships

In these challenging times, a differentiator for travel agencies is the ability to connect with customers on an emotional level, commented Ali Hussain, chief innovation & technology officer, ATPI Singapore. For travel consultants, this means honing in on interpersonal skills to listen and connect with what matters most to travellers.

About Insights for the New World of Travel

Amadeus has prepared a series of reports that looks at ‚ÄėInsights for the New World of Travel‚Äô, highlighting strategic areas for travel sellers to focus on. In the latest report, we highlight how consultants are the heart and soul of the travel agencies and empowering them with next-generation technology tools can help deliver better traveller journeys.

For more insights from our report, download the study on travel consultants of tomorrow here.

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