Automated technology with personalisation key to competing with OTAs

For traditional travel agents and tour operators, providing travellers with premium, personalised service remains the best way to compete with big online enterprises. Tin Aung, CEO of Sugati Travel believes exceptional service alone is no longer enough but into digital transformation.

According to STR’s 2019 Traveller Panel survey the top reasons travellers choose to book through an OTA instead of through a traditional travel agent or tour operator, are convenience, access to discounts and promotions, and the ability to compare deals. OTAs growing foothold over the market is in large part due to the increase in mobile bookings. Mobile bookings made up 39% of OTA sales, compared with only 10% for other suppliers and agents, while 80% of all last-minute bookings are made from a mobile.

However, excellent customer service experiences and word of mouth recommendations are where smaller competitors can win the war.

How can travel agencies and tour operators compete with such large scale online companies? According to Tin Aung, the answer lies in online technologies.

Accessible anywhere, anytime, a secure cloud based solution can add value, give better insights into business, and help gain efficiencies. The right technology can not only help travel businesses compete with big players, but also win the loyalty of their customers, build their brand, and grow their revenue. The key to a successful digital transformation is automation. This requires a sleek, holistic technology solution that reduces the need for multiple systems. An end to end solution is the best way to simplify your processes and cut out unnecessary actions. Technology should help generate and assign leads, respond to enquiries, quickly build itineraries, handle customer bookings, manage your suppliers and inventory, organise your payments, and report back to your team on everything.

The real time-saving efficiencies for travel agents and tour operators using systems like Sugati, lie then in the creation of branded, personalised itineraries.

Photo: Tin Aung during a presentation to tour operators