Keeping a competitive edge in an industry saturated with online booking options can cause anxiety amongst the most seasoned travel agent or tour operator.

In addition, discussions about the online behavior of Generation Y and its impact on the travel industry have run rampant.

These tech-savvy Millennials live and breathe online, but what may be a surprising turn of events is that there has been an uptick in the number of Generation Y travelers turning to the experts to put their well-researched travel plans into an actionable vacation package.

As travel agents and tour operators gain more ground with this new generation of travelers, the challenge for many will be how to get and keep the lions-share of this new opportunity.

The obvious answer is through creative web-design and social media campaigns. This will drive traffic to the travel agents’ and tour operators’ websites where they can help plan a reservation for their trip, but the buck doesn’t stop there. Implementing new automated air travel technology solutions that allows them to complete components of their reservation will ultimately prove to be the recipe for success.

Here’s how:

Meeting Travel Behavior
Millennials are not looking for your typical “relax by the beach” vacation. They are more adventurous, choosing obscure locations and want to submerge themselves in local culture. With the right automated air-booking tool in place, your agents will spend less time looking for the right fare and more time orchestrating the “experience” that this new generation craves. This provides a one-stop shopping experience for the traveler, translating into closed sales for the travel planner.

Customer Satisfaction
While they may be looking for travel agents and tour operators to take the lead in booking their vacations, that’s not to say Millennials are willing to hand over their smartphones just yet. Choosing an air booking engine with a slick interface, that can integrate easily with your current host systems, will meet their need to be a part of the booking process, allowing them to choose their preferred flight options.

Value
How many times have you booked into up-sells because lower fares are not available at the time of the booking, or you just don’t have the manpower needed to search for lower fares? Typically 20% of PNRs are booked in a higher fare than necessary, which is why an automated air booking engine becomes a critical part of your air department processes. Having the capability of finding and recovering lower private fares on the same itinerary will not only allow you to keep a competitive edge when it comes to value, but will have a huge impact on your overall air department operational costs.

By having the right automated air booking solution in place you will ultimately meet your customers’ needs, provide the biggest bang for their buck and improve overall customer satisfaction. They are a generation of reviewers; they Tweet, share photos on Instagram and post on Facebook for all to see; with the right balance of technology and expertise in place, they may just become your new niche market.

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