Guest Post: The perfect blend, integrating technology with personalisation

Guest Post: The perfect blend, integrating technology with personalisation

ATPI’s chief executive Ian Sinderson discusses how high-tech and high-touch relationships can ensure a TMC’s service remains fit for purpose

ATPI’s chief executive Ian Sinderson discusses how high-tech and high-touch relationships can ensure a TMC’s service remains fit for purpose.

In recent months, the business travel industry has seen a complete shakeup within the TMC market. There’ve been mergers and acquisitions, as well as new entrants – particularly from within the technology space.

While new software tools and innovative ideas can disrupt the industry and improve travel and user experiences, the industry is rapidly realising that there is no replacement for individualised customer experiences.

TMCs are tirelessly working to deliver service that is more hands-on than ever before, as travel elements such as Covid-19 restrictions and guidelines change constantly.

In this highly complex way of working, having the right technology to ensure that travel can be delivered is vital. While new software can help to maximise value and return on business travel, customer-centric approaches and high-touch transactions remain the number one priority.

To succeed, TMCs must have strong digital platforms, be at the forefront of innovation and understand the changing needs of their customers, while being able to move quickly to meet them.

With this in mind, there are certain areas where technology can be integrated to ensure a service is fit for purpose.

Integrated content systems

Following what was a very fragmented online content situation, the greater integration of digital platforms will be a lasting legacy of the pandemic response.

When it comes to researching fares and providing quotes, travel consultants rely on a complex network of different tools, ranging from the GDS and direct connects with different airlines, to dedicated flight aggregators.

Multiple content streams are the norm and TMCs need to ensure that their own technology platforms can easily accommodate multiple – and ever-changing – sources of information and serve them up in a simple way, via the communication channel of choice for the client.

Enhancing the online booking experience

Remarkable in-roads in revolutionising the online booking experience have been made over the last year.

New disruptors have entered the market, changing the way bookings are made online – providing corporates with seamless booking tools that help to both control costs and ensure policy compliance.

These developments support the creation of a tailored experience, right from the beginning of the booking process, all the way through the entirety of the trip, its reporting and beyond.

Self-service platforms

Online booking tools have previously been developed to sell technology into large corporate businesses that are moving high volumes of people, with varying degrees of success.

There is great opportunity for new software to cater specifically for the SME market, with a self-fulfillment platform that gives travellers the ability to make their own bookings where relevant.

As part of ATPI’s innovation investment, new technology is expected to be ready later this year that will diversify the current offering and give SMEs access to the digital solutions that are currently only practical for larger businesses.

By utilising the best-in-market tools and new, innovative technologies, TMCs can work in a way that delivers exceptional service ensuring their clients get the most out of their travel.

While digital platforms are great enablers, the personalisation and level of service experienced when undertaking a high-touch transaction with a highly experienced travel consultant cannot be replaced by a robotic chatbot.