Road Trips: New Route to Revenue

Just in time for the Labor Day holiday, Amadeus is offering agents insights into the sometimes elusive but potentially lucrative drive market.

"Hop into the driver’s seat and put your business on the fast track to success by marketing to leisure travelers who prefer the roadway to the runway," Amadeus says, noting the importance of the interface between marketing and technology to meet client needs.

"Hands on the wheel, feeling the rumble of the highway as the countryside unfurls in a transcendent rush—for many vacation travelers, nothing beats the romance, discovery and convenience of the road trip." Amadeus says, noting that the car represents freedom and mobility to many.

In 2010, 129 million travelers hit the road in cars, RVs and on motorcycles, Amadeus says. In fact, road trippers make up 85 percent of leisure travelers and spend $170 billion annually during their journeys, reports Project 85, a recent study by Mandala Research and Solutionz cited by Amadeus.

"While travel professionals have traditionally focused on those who fly to their vacation destinations, travelers who want to hit the road present valuable—and virtually untapped—potential to travel agencies," Amadeus says. 

Consider this: 78 percent of those surveyed by Project 85 said they would drive even if other forms of transportation were available—and 26 percent rent a vehicle for their one-of-a-kind adventures. 

“With the continued accumulation of ancillary airline fees, tighter seat configurations, baggage restrictions and airport security delays, it’s not surprising that Americans are asserting more control over their travel plans by opting to drive themselves,” says Chicke Fitzgerald, Solutionz founder and CEO.

Road-tripping by the numbers

Of the Project 85 survey respondents:

* 92 percent traveling for leisure chose driving over flying to relax and relieve stress

* 60 percent stayed overnight at hotels, motels, resorts and bed & breakfasts

* 38 percent took a scenic drive

Amadeus' advice and examples of how Amadeus technology can help include:

*Map your strategy- 
While road trippers are motivated by a desire for independence, they still have the same needs as vacationers who fly. These include advice and information only trusted professionals can provide.

“Going on the road for a relaxing vacation will be even easier and more rewarding for your clients when you find them the perfect rental car and book a hotel at the best price,” advises Betty Balli, travel agency marketing director for Amadeus North America.

*Get them a fast car—fast! 
To steer your business toward greater profits, utilize the intuitive booking flow and cutting-edge graphical user interface (GUI) of Amadeus Cars Plus, included in Amadeus Selling Platform.

You can search three ways with Amadeus Cars Plus:

* Listing view displays a contingent of providers with available cars that meet your client’s unique criteria. Perhaps your client has always dreamed of a leisurely open-air drive along the Pacific Coast—maybe in a red Mustang convertible. You can make it happen.
* Category view allows you to quickly identify the least expensive car in each category. Everybody likes getting a great deal.
* Map view allows you to choose a car rental location from a map (available for geo-coded cities only). Whether the starting point for the client’s trip is from his home city or another location, you can search by address or landmark to find the nearest car rental agency.

*Rooms on the road- 
When they want to hit the hay after hitting the road, find them exactly what they need, where they need it—and within their budget.

Also part of Amadeus Selling Platform, Amadeus Hotels Plus offers the same type of GUI and search options as Amadeus Cars Plus and, with 86,000-plus hotels, you can comparison shop like never before as well as see real-time availability of hotels and up-to-the-minute rates.

Another option is Amadeus Hotel Shopper, available as part of Amadeus Vacation Link, a free suite of leisure booking tools.

“Amadeus Hotel Shopper also lets agents search for hotels with enhanced commissions and negotiated rates not available online. Both functions are money makers for agents,” Balli says.