I’m a believer in lifelong learning. Mahatma Gandhi once said: “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” So if I get through a day without having learnt anything, I feel somewhat disappointed. Fortunately, that rarely happens because the world is our biggest classroom and I meet lots of fascinating people and experience new situations on a daily basis.
That’s why I’m an advocate of looking beyond what we know, looking outside our usual terms of reference, whether that is corporate travel management or online leisure travel (and everything in between). Notwithstanding the passion, experience and business acumen that abounds in our industry, I’m keen to broaden my horizons and discover and learn from outside the travel industry – aren’t you?
When I spoke at the Guild of Travel Management Company’s domestic conference in 2015 on distribution, I made a choice to refer only to non-travel brands such as Apple, Dell and Metro Bank. That speech resonated with those in the audience and it is gratifying to see how it has led to further discussions on the topic throughout 2016. In fact, the positive feedback that I have received has spurred me on to discover new opportunities for learning.
Tapping into the secrets of retailing success
To that end, we have engaged with retailing experts to find out what travel companies can learn from successful retailers. This is a topic that bridges the divide between leisure and business travel because ultimately, we are all consumers; we just have different motivations depending on the type of travel we are engaged in.
There is no doubting that consumer expectations are on the rise. Consumer experience in day to day living hugely influences how they evaluate the travel industry. So what are the top trends in retailing today? What strategies are being operationalised for business success and which retailers are getting it right? To me, this isn’t just an academic exercise. Those who adapt to the new retailing landscape will be rewarded with a greater share of wallet from an increasingly fickle and demanding clientele.
From Agent to Retailer
Starting with the premise that successful travel companies are on a journey, this research entitled “From Agent to Retailer” is designed to help travel companies map their current position on the journey, and stimulate discussion on how to achieve retailing excellence by delivering in the following three areas:
- Meeting customer’s functional needs
- Creating elements of surprise and delight
- Delivering the human touch – even without any face-to-face business being conducted.
Many travel companies are consistently delivering in one or two of those key areas, but when you understand all that each area encompasses, it is clearly a challenge. Get it right and you hit the intersection of all three areas where you’ll find the sweet spot. That sweet spot takes your value proposition to a whole new level. It is what retailers call: super serving.
|“Companies that super serve are more likely to retain and develop existing business as well as attract new business. This level of engagement transforms customers into enthusiastic fans and brand advocates.”
As the battle for your customers’ hearts, minds and money heats up, whether that is from traditional competition, or emerging competition such as the sharing economy, or from direct sell approaches by suppliers, there has never been a greater need to understand what consumers are looking for and how businesses can employ best practice retailing to meet those evolving needs.
If you would like to understand more about what retail can teach us, take a look at the infographic here.
To further make sense of the trends, challenges and significant opportunities for those who get travel retailing right, I’m pleased to announce that we will be publishing a series of blog posts on this subject commencing in January.
For now, I would like to sign off by wishing you a very enjoyable holiday season in the company of those who matter most in your life. Have a happy Christmas and a prosperous 2017 from all the team at Amadeus UK & Ireland.