What 2018 Holds for Tour Operators

We say it at the end of every year…but 2017 really has been an enormous year! From the unprecedented ‘Trump Slump’ through to record breaking weather events and temperatures, tour operators really have had their fair share of hurdles over the past 12 months. Naturally, you’ve overcome those hurdles and here you are, ready to take on 2018!

So, while you’re taking time out to make your plan of attack for the next 12 months, take a moment to have a look through our predictions for what 2018 has instore for the travel industry.

Surprise, surprise…growth

travel agent software

We’re sure you’re not surprised when we say: Growth! As an industry, travel has been growing pretty consistently and for the 6th year running the industry’s growth has outpaced the growth of the global economy.

For you, this means things aren’t slowing down anytime soon. Globally, consumer confidence is sitting reasonably steady, and in places like the US it’s currently trending up, meaning the economy is primed for travel and other leisure activities (yay for you!!). Taking time out between seasons should be spent rejuvenating and preparing for growth. It’s becoming more important than ever to ensure you’re using technology and processes that will allow you and your team to be as agile as possible.

Fragmentation

travel agent softwareAs the travel industry becomes more established and the global reach increases the phenomenon known as ‘Fragmentation’ will start to take hold. Essentially, Fragmentation is “The use of different suppliers and component manufacturers in the production of a good.” In the context of the travel industry Fragmentation means more businesses and travelers are looking to offshore sources for their travel needs.

It sounds scary, but the most important part of this is understanding what it is, how it will affect you, and how to work either with it or around it. We’ve written a deep-dive article on the phenomenon including some helpful insight on the outlook for tour operators going forward. You can get clued up on Fragmentation here.

DIY travel tools are getting smarter

travel agent software

Machine learning is getting smarter by the day, meaning online DIY travel booking tools like Expedia, Kayak, and Egencia are getting better at suggesting and creating itineraries for the everyday traveler.

In 2018 tour operators and travel agents will need to spend more time and resource differentiating themselves and developing their value propositions. The more tailored your messaging is, the more likely your marketing efforts are going to resonate with the right people: your future customers.

Optimising your quotes and sprucing up your itineraries are all nice ways to build up your brand and position your offering above and beyond the competition.

Time to market yourself

Fending off competitors and securing your spot in the market has always been important, but as marketing technology continues to advance and become more accessible 2018 is going to be all about making sure you’re using your resources to their fullest.

Taking time out to understand how to get your website ranking above your competitors, and upping your email marketing game are all activities that will see you well in your journey through 2018.

 

Here’s a few resources that we think you might find useful to start you off:

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