By working faster, travel agents can save time and money, Amadeus says, urging agent to use technology tools to boost their client service capabilities. Offering 10 tips on how to increase productivity and profitability, Amadeus shows how it believes agents can use and integrate technology into their total agency performance and planning.
Amadeus advice applies to full service storefront agents as well as home-based businesses and hosts, underscoring the impact of new technologies on agency marketing, management and client service quality.
"By automating much of their workload, smart travel professionals can eliminate human error, serve more clients, better, and focus their energy on developing new skills and boosting their business," Amadeus says.
So the million dollar question is: how does a travel agency save more time? Here are Amadeus’ top 10 productivity tips from its October Prospectus:
1. Automate customer communications. Sure, your customers need to stay notified of itinerary changes, but do you personally need to send these messages? Programs are available to take these tasks off your hands. Amadeus' checkmytrip.com is a free web portal (available to all Amadeus agencies) where travelers can gain 24/7, real-time trip details and updates. Both agent and traveler can rely on Amadeus Flight Alerts to send (based on your preference) trip reminders, gate assignments, flight status updates and more.
2. Automate marketing. Marketing is crucial in any business. How else are you going to let clients know you’re their best resource for discount cruises or that you’re an expert on eco-friendly tours? But you don’t have to lick envelopes or compose mass e-mails—you can take advantage of Vacation.com’s “Engagement” program, which does the work for you. Gain $2,500 marketing credit as part of a special joint Amadeus/Vacation.com offer.
3. Get social, the smart way. “Social media” is the new buzz word, and many travel businesses are finding Twitter and Facebook marketing to be quite lucrative. Free web tools including HootSuite.com will automatically schedule Twitter and Facebook posts so you don’t have to worry about daily updates. Amadeus also offers consulting services on how your travel company can best leverage social media.
4. Work from home. If you own a travel business, nix the commute and stop paying rent by taking your agency in-house—and allow your employees to do the same. You’ll maximize your workday—and no one will know if you’re working in your pajamas. You’ll need the right technology tools to close up your bricks-and-mortar location, but more and more of your colleagues are finding these to be worthwhile investments.
5. Take fulfillment, ticketing and accounting off your to-do list. One of the biggest travel agency time drains is all that back-office “stuff” that takes your focus off marketing, customer service and other opportunities to enhance revenue. Consider outsourcing these procedures with a host agency.
6. Speed up exchanges and refunds. In this age of automation, there’s no need to waste time managing agency debit memos, making phone calls to carriers, or exchanging airline tickets. Hook up with a solution to easily exchange and refund airline tickets, such as Amadeus Ticket Changer, which processes your refunds and exchanges in four quick clicks.
7. Practice what you profile. Asking “do you prefer an aisle seat or a window?” might not sound time consuming—but add up how many times you inquire a day, and you can see why it pays to store customer profiles. Amadeus Selling Platform and Amadeus e-Travel Management have profiling capabilities. The company's partner TravCom also offers Amadeus customers a discounted version of ClientMajic, a great customer relationship management (CRM) tool, which also helps with client profiling.
8. Nothin’ but ‘net. Save time by moving your business online. Whether you want to supplement your on-site travel agency with a Web presence or move to a 100 percent online venue, with the right online solutions, you can take advantage of all the Internet has to offer—even if you’re not exactly “tech-savvy.”
9. Go roboto. Use quality-control computerized scripts to check your work to make sure you’re adhering to company policies and following agency rules—so you’ll spend less time double-checking your work and have more time to focus on generating more revenue. Offer accurate, consistent reservations every single time you book business travel with Amadeus Quality Control.
10. Get help faster. When you have a business or technology issue, downtime costs money and dealing with inadequate customer service doesn’t help. With the in-house Amadeus Customer Service Center, you’ll gain support from an Americas-based staff of true professionals who really know your business. For even faster service, the online Amadeus e-Support Center gives you the answers you need 24/7.
Last but not least Amadeus offers suggestions on what travel agents can do with the extra time they gain from applying Amadeus’ tips
Amadeus’ three suggestions:
1. Supercharge your business plan. See what kinds of travel you’re booking the most and add high-commission products to the offering. If you’re caught in the whirlwind of everyday travel transactions, you could be missing out on more profitable packages, tours and activities.
2. Razzle-dazzle your clients with amazing customer service. Take the time to call them after their most recent journey to solicit feedback.
3. Carve a niche—and market it. With more time to reflect on revenue analysis, you can figure out if there’s an opportunity for marketing and selling niche travel.
Travel agents interested in Amadeus approach can get more information by visiting www.Amadeus.com.