Travel Tech gives  tourism professionals the edge 

In an increasingly competitive travel landscape, the role of the modern tourism professional, from the tour operator to the DMC and even the property owner, has transformed dramatically. The workload has grown exponentially as an increasing number of travellers are taking to the road and the skies again. At the same time, the tourism industry continues to grapple with a crippling skills shortage created by COVID-19 – and the subsequent resurgence in the use of travel agents.

In the digital era, tourism professionals find themselves dealing with the double-edged sword of vast online information and discerning customers. These customers, equipped with the same access to information, seek quick, efficient, and honest service – much like what they would expect from online booking platforms.

However, while online platforms are a useful tool for quick information, they often miss out on the personal touch. It’s this missing element that customers are increasingly seeking, and they’re finding it in the form of personalised advice, support, and flexibility offered by tourism professionals. Qualities that simply can’t be replicated by algorithms.

Consequently, the challenge is on for the tourism industry. They not only have to meet the needs of their job but also match the efficiency of online booking platforms.

But for Craig Byren, Managing Director of ViaData, who has been designing and developing end-to-end business systems for the Travel and Tourism Industry (including DMCs, tour operators and travel agents) for over 15 years, it’s an exciting space to be.

“The tourism industry is evolving continuously, with traditional methods being replaced by innovative blends of human expertise and advanced technology. As tourism professionals grapple with increased workload, they find themselves in a race against time and efficiency. This can be challenging, especially for smaller organisations,” says Byren. “However, the good news is that the race can be won through the clever use of technology.”

According to Byren, technology should empower tourism professionals rather than replace them. It should simplify their tasks, streamline their operations, and provide them with valuable insights, all while ensuring they retain the crucial human touch that sets them apart from automated booking platforms. A good example? ViaData’s software solution, Travelyst.

“Travelyst’s technology is designed to seamlessly integrate with the tourism company’s existing operations,” explains Byren. “From the customer relationship management to itinerary building, everything is interconnected. This allows tourism consultants to manage their workload efficiently and provide a tailored service to their clients.” This technological integration does not merely apply to the back-end operations. It also enhances the client-facing aspects of the business. A comprehensive view of client enquiries, the ability to record conversations, and direct email integration all contribute to a faster, more professional communication process.

“By implementing integrated technology solutions, consultants can respond more promptly to client queries and track leads more effectively. It’s all about reducing the time spent on administrative tasks and freeing up more time for consultants to focus on what they do best– crafting unique travel experiences,” says Byren.

It’s not just operational efficiency that stands to gain from technological advancement. With the inclusion of comprehensive reporting and dashboard capabilities, tourism professionals can gain valuable insights into their business activity. These tools, Byren emphasises, are critical for making informed decisions that align with the tourism business’ growth strategy.

“The key is to make the technology work for you, not the other way around,” he says. “By harnessing the right tools, tourism professionals can not only keep up with the pace of change but also provide a service that combines the efficiency of an online booking tool with the personalised touch of a hospitality professional.”

In this age of digital transformation, embracing technology is more of a necessity than a choice in the tourism industry. However, it’s also an opportunity to enhance service delivery, improve operations, and ultimately provide a superior experience for clients. As the tourism industry continues to evolve, it’s clear that those who adeptly navigate this digital terrain will be the ones leading the pack. “In the end, it’s about embracing change, being adaptable, and making the most out of the tools we have at our disposal,” says Byren.


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