Bookings are quick and easy – all thanks to technology. It’s not surprising that the traditional travel channel is being eroded. But used effectively, technology can help DMCs set themselves apart. Tessa Reed reports.

With swathes of content available online, travel professionals need to distinguish themselves by speaking directly to clients’ travel desires.

“There’s so much content online with generic, one-size-fits-all messaging,” says Tracey Jeffery, Wetu Content Strategist, adding that operators need to customise the content they serve. “Tailoring content to their personal preferences is key because it speaks directly to the audience and saves them from spending hours on research.

She says an online itinerary builder like Wetu is one tool to do this. For example, she says it provides clients with interactive content that they can choose to engage with if it interests them. From these, clients can build digital itineraries giving them convenient access to detailed info, flight details, recommendations, relevant options and alternatives, even in their preferred language.

“In a nutshell, tech provides a range of touch points in the client journey that feels very personal and justify why travellers are turning to the experts to make travel easier for them,” she says.

Dieter Holle, Chief Information Officer at Tourvest Destination Management, points out that technology can also be used to access large amounts of historic data to gain insights into market-specific trends and then use these to generate automated offers.

“In the presence of volumes of historic data, one can establish trends automatically, i.e. what services consistently appeal to a certain market, age group or time of year, thereby moving closer to generating offers automatically that are more likely to meet expectations.

“In the past, human travel consultants have fulfilled this successfully, however, to remain competitive and to achieve instant self-service proposal generation, it becomes necessary to automate these functions by looking at trends within existing data,” he says.

TOs need to be in a position to buy and sell commodity services that require no consulting effort in an automated fashion, thereby reducing transaction costs, says Holle.

However, he points out, there is still a place for traditional consulting, especially where complicated services are involved, for example to remote areas, or for unique experiences that cannot be booked online.