Join Me in Atlantic City!
By Mark Murphy
October 03, 2012 11:45 PM
Later this month I’ll be a keynote speaker at the Home Based Travel Agent Forum in Atlantic City. Home-based travel agents from around the region, as well as across the country, will come together at the new Revel Resort to network and learn over three days, Oct. 22-24
I’ll be speaking on the “Future of Travel Distribution: Driving the Hybrid Model” when I take to the stage. This will be a familiar topic to anyone who has been reading my columns, seeing my TV appearances or hearing me at other speaking engagements. It’s familiar because it’s a reality in a world where travel agents have consistently delivered on the high touch aspect of selling travel, but have been limited in the high tech area. That’s all changing with the introduction of Agent Studio and the tools to connect and get business from existing and potential new customers.
In my talk in Atlantic City, I’ll share insights into where the market is headed and how travel agents of all shapes and sizes can make sure they are prepared to capture their share. Indeed, over the past several years many agents have watched the shift from the online travel agencies (OTAs) back to their businesses from customers who see the value in travel agents, mostly because of the shortcomings of the OTAs and the frustrations consumers often get when booking their own travel.
What’s been missing is the access and ease of booking a simple hotel, or other transaction, when it comes to physical travel agents. That’s because most travel agents have been stuck in legacy technology solutions, powered by legacy groups or providers that don’t make sense in today’s market. Over $100 billion is booked into hotels in North America every year. How many of those hotel bookings don’t go through travel agents because their websites, and their access, is limited to working hours?
It’s really quite simple: if you make it harder to do business with a travel agent than to do it yourself, self booking will win out. So far agents have won out in the more complicated areas of travel, but that could change if they don’t adapt their business models to the hybrid.
In fact, you can best understand how to take advantage of the new hybrid travel model by attending my session later this month in Atlantic City. I’ll lay out how you can capture a far greater share of your client’s travel spend throughout the year, and to do it with a greater emphasis on access and technology.
You’ll understand that it doesn’t take a lot of money, or any technical know-how, just the desire to put yourself in the driver’s seat of where the travel distribution business is heading. It’s called the hybrid model and you’ll get a test drive of that model when you join me in Atlantic City!
Mark Murphy is president and CEO of travAlliancemedia, parent of TravelPulse.com, Agent@Home magazine, Vacation Agent magazine, Travel Agent Academy, Virtual Travel Events and Agent Studio.