Online travel agencies should embrace merchandising as well as reinvent the retail flow in order to make sure future growth, as per Amadeus.
There is an increasing growth in the online travel industry. Though the travel markets of Asia Pacific have varied challenges and opportunities, they aren’t isolated ecosystems any longer. There is a rise in consolidation, with big travel agencies becoming ultra-brands and acquiring small agencies to boost their customer base and product offerings. Meanwhile, the local travel brands are beating the larger brands via innovative solutions which aim at niche services or products that offer special travel experience.
Competition to grab attention of a travel is increasing. Besides, travellers today demand for same amount of personalized service, consistency and choice in all devices and channels so as to compare and make their choice. This shall cause a shift in terms of flight retailing in which the online travel companies will have to reanalyse their booking and search flows for the consumers to get the right product.
Amidst such a change, Amadeus has three pieces of advice for the online travel agencies to make sure future growth.
According to Sebastien Gibergues, Vice President of Amadeus’ Asia Pacific online travel unit, merchandising forms the core of any fundamental change happening in worldwide airline distribution scenario. The dissociation of the ancillary products as well as services of airlines like baggage fees, airport transfers and pre-assigned seats has played a key role for the airlines to beat the pleasing cheap fares, he further said. As such, the online travel agencies should get to know new merchandising methods to differentiate and improve user shopping experience, he added.
- Reinventing retail inflow:
The online travel firms should reinvent their own retail flow in order to meet the demand of search & compare of the customers, says Gibergues. This represents a combination of all the functionalities, allowing online travel agencies to know the difference and deliver the customers a truly exclusive experience. This not just means displaying cheapest fares but also providing choices like seat selection, baggage, etc in an easy booking flow, he added.
- Developing mutually advantageous partnerships in the industry:
Travel suppliers now are seeking more control on how their services and products get displayed as well as sold across the various channels, says Gibergues. This in turn, brings challenges as well as opportunities for the online travel agencies and so makes it important for them to develop strategic partnerships across the industry, he added. Such partnerships will help the online travel firms to get the widest content choice for offering their customers best travel experiences, Gibergues further said.