Traditional agents have nothing to fear from tech, the 2014 Advantage conference was told via Traditional agents have nothing to fear from tech, Advantage conference told.
Wow – what a headline! Never before has technology disrupted an industry like technology has disrupted the travel industry. Has it stopped this innovation and progress? Just take a look at the Skift Blog on what is going on in travel start ups and you’d think it worth packing your bags and becoming a traveller instead rather than trying to sell it.
But hold on for a moment, is it that bad? Telephone calls centres disrupted the Insurance selling industry and sure – there are some big players with the likes of Comparethemarket.com and others, but has it wiped out ALL insurance sellers? No. Are there fewer – Yes.
So the headline at Advantages Conference should rather have been – ‘Great Agents have nothing to fear from tech’. The travel industry is all about a human connection and choosing and booking a holiday is sometimes just too complicated to be automated online. Sure – if its a commodity like a flight seat or villa rental it’s easy to see how a website can book these effectively. Add in a couple of questions ( and who doesn’t have a question when it comes to spending £3,000 +) and hey – who do I ask?
So what is the future for great agents? Well it certainly involves technology as that is how consumers will find you and that is also how you will engage with consumers. If you don’t invest time in understanding what technology to use and spend money investing in the right technology then you will get left behind. Your past business model does not work anymore, you will lose bookings to online players, unless you can prove to your clients why you are in the game and what value you bring to their travel purchase proposition.