PHOTO: Travel agent types are needed in the corporate world. (photo via Flickr/Matthias Ripp)
There isn’t much that separates the personal and corporate world when it comes to travel considerations.
That’s the sentiment behind a Harvard Business Review article from Nicholas Toman, Brent Adamson and Cristina Gomez, officials from CEB—“a best practice insight and technology company.”
The article encourages those who work closely with corporate buyers to work far more like travel agents than they had before. The reason is a simple one, and it’s whittled down to the experience we all have the moment we decide to book a trip.
Ubiquitous websites, OTAs and travel advice columns offer the modern traveler a tremendous boost but also a remarkable bane. There is, as the article suggests, an overabundance of knowledge with which to sift. In the business sector, things play out in a similar manner. Buyers are doing their homework and doing it well before negotiating the next great corporate event.
Via HBR: “By 2012, our research shows, nearly 60% of a typical B2B purchasing decision—researching solutions, ranking options, benchmarking pricing, and so on—was happening before the buyer even had a conversation with a supplier.”
Obvious problems arise such as booking regret and process abandonment as buyers pore over a seemingly endless trove of minutiae.
The trio offers three examples of how corporate superstars are staving off the heartache that comes with the modern business booking process.
Instead of joining the pitching foray, an employee wellness benefits provider, for example, sent potential clients information on purchasing practices, making the process as smooth as possible by offering tools for what can sometimes be a maelstrom of marketing information.
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The lesson here is simple, be the “travel agent” that is otherwise lacking throughout the B2B purchasing process.
If you can cater to a buyer’s needs and walk them through the entire procedure, then you will have proved value with a concept some think, unwisely, is outdated. With so much information bandied about the Internet, it’s now more important than ever to have a leader holding your figurative hand.
The article explains doing so can be highly lucrative: “They’re easing customers’ burdens by guiding them through difficult decisions and choices, and improving win rates for high-end solution sales by as much as 60 percent.”
The travel agent is more than an advisor but your one-stop guide through what has become a daunting set of circumstances. And this is as true for the corporate world as it is for your leisure travel.