Agents valued but failing on mobile, finds Travelport study

Technology-savvy holidaymakers are becoming increasingly confused with amounts of online information and are more likely to go to a travel agent for complex trips, a new study shows.

While agents are often actively involved in the run up to a leisure client’s journey, only one in two continue involvement after a traveller boards their flight.

Yet the Travelport survey revealed growing interest from mobile users in receiving more promotional offers on hotels, dining offers, airport information and recommendations while they were away.

More than 40% of travellers indicated they wanted to receive more relevant offers.

Travelport conducted parallel studies with more than 2,500 leisure travellers and 1,000 travel agencies in eight countries – the UK, US, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, India and UAE.

The study highlighted opinions and preferences of so-called ‘digital natives,’ (those under 35) and ‘digital immigrants,’ (those 36-45).

It found a need to stay connected and a heavy dependence on smartphones. A total of 87% of those aged 35 and under, and 80% of those 36-45, own or plan to purchase a smartphone in the next six months.

This increased access to the internet anytime, anywhere, is changing the expectations, demands and behaviours of leisure travellers.

Higher levels of interest in accessing travel and destination information before a trip was revealed as consumers treat the smartphone as a ‘personal assistant.’

More than half (60%) of ‘digital natives’ consider a smartphone to be their ‘personal travel assistant or companion’ enabling interaction to take place at any time.

Both groups prefer to access pre-travel information via mobile technology, rather than through traditional devices.

This indicates the importance of travel itineraries that can be integrated with other apps, and formats that are easily read on mobile devices, according to Travelport.

The company estimates that the market for global intermediary leisure travel is expected to be worth $672 bilion by 2015.

Chief marketing officer Bryan Conway said: “This survey clearly highlights the importance of efficient technology solutions, more business intelligence and richness of functionality and content to ensure travel agents are fully supported in the sales process.

“By delivering this we will empower travel agents to engage even more with their customers, especially those who have a good grasp on how to use new technology.

“It very much endorses our thinking and product strategy in these areas and we remain committed to developing innovative technology, such as the Travelport ViewTrip mobile application the Travelport Universal Desktop, that serves our customers well in this rapidly changing leisure travel landscape.”

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