Travel agents need to explore new alliances and sales channels to stay ahead, says Amadeus
Bangkok, Thailand (Asia Pacific), 15 July 2009: Win-win partnerships and new selling strategies are key to sustaining businesses and achieving success through the current downturn, according to Peter Smith, Vice President of Amadeus Asia Pacific’s Business Solution Group
The travel agency channel remains an efficient and profitable channel and an essential sector of the industry, with many opportunities for growth, said Smith.
“Amadeus is committed to helping travel agencies improve their bottom line, particularly during the current downturn.”
Smith suggested four key areas where travel agencies should focus their attention:
1. Cost and efficiency awareness
“In today’s economy, cost awareness is crucial,” said Smith. “Many travel agencies in Asia are recognising that Amadeus’s technology can help to improve efficiency and cut costs, through our Quality Control and Applications Server Based solutions. At the same time, agents must consider offering more value-based travel options for travellers who are now very budget-conscious.
2. Airline alliances
Low Cost Carrier (LCC) travel is increasingly becoming the first choice for many travellers around the world today. In Asia Pacific alone, over 30 low cost airlines have emerged during the past decade and are growing at an unprecedented pace. “In addition to their partnerships with national and major full-service carriers, travel agents can work with LCCs and secondary carriers to package a destination and offer value deals to more regional destinations,” said Smith
3. Competing with the online channel
Airlines are driving more business to their websites in an effort to cut costs, and consumers are looking for lower prices by booking direct on the Internet. So far in 2009, Amadeus has seen online travel agency bookings in Asia Pacific grow by 21% compared to the same period last year. Many travel agencies are concerned about this trend, seeing it as a significant business hurdle for 2009.
However, there are actions that travel agencies can take to combat this threat, primarily by establishing their own online presence.
Ida Mapua, General Manager of Philippine-base agency, St. Raphael Travel & Tours, says, “The increasing popularity of the online channel is creating a shift in booking trends, but travel agents can use the Internet as an effective distribution platform to complement their businesses.”
“Most recently, we installed the Amadeus Agency Internet Engine, a cost-effective and customised solution that helped us to expand our operations, not just in the Philippines but across the region. It is not only an effective marketing tool, but it’s also a way to empower customers-giving them the option to make travel bookings themselves, wherever and whenever they want.”
Smith said, “Amadeus is helping many travel agencies of all different sizes to build their online business with the Amadeus Agency Internet Engine. This solution enables travel agencies to develop an effective website that will allow customers to search and book flights, hotels and more.”
4. Industry cooperation
Airline consolidation is increasingly common in Europe and the USA as carriers recognise that “going it alone” may not be the right strategy for survival. Smit recommends that travel agencies should also seek partnerships that will benefit their business and the industry as a whole. “If travel agencies work together with tourism bodies, industry associations and government organisations, they can create attractive joint-promotions and packages that will boost travel volumes and create more business for all.”
Smith said that for its part, Amadeus will continue to provide travel agencies with technology that becomes an asset to their business and helps them stay relevant in the evolving travel landscape.
Amadeus is the chosen technology partner for providers, sellers, and buyers of travel. The company provides distribution, IT and point-of-sale solutions to help its customers adapt, grow and succeed in the fast changing travel industry. Customer groups include travel providers (airlines, hotels, car rental companies, railway companies, ferry lines, cruise lines, insurance companies and tour operators), travel sellers (travel agencies) and travel buyers (corporations and travellers). Solutions are grouped in four solution categories: Distribution & Content, Sales & e-Commerce, Business Management and Services & Consulting.
Amadeus has central sites in Madrid (corporate headquarters & marketing), Nice (development) and Erding (Operations-data processing centre) and regional offices in Miami, Buenos Aires and Bangkok. At market level, Amadeus maintains customer operations through 69 local Amadeus Commercial Organisations covering 217 markets.
The company is majority owned by WAM Acquisition, whose shareholders are BC Partners, Cinven, Air France, Iberia and Lufthansa. Amadeus employs over 8,500 employees worldwide, representing 105 nationalities.
More information about Amadeus is available at: http://www.amadeus.com
Joanie Koh / Zixin Chai
Tel: +65 6534 7250