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Every travel agent I speak to thinks they need a booking engine on their website. Cruise booking engines are at the top of the list. This shouldn't be a surprise, since many travel agents generate the largest share of their revenues from booking cruises, a number that's in the neighborhood of 30 to 40 percent of their total mix.
Many agents have gone to the trouble and expense of having these engines included in their website, but when pressed, admit that they get zero bookings from them. Why's that? The answer is quite simple. The more complicated the product, the less likely the consumer will actually book the product online. Cruises are a fairly complicated product, for the most part.
But go beyond the sheer fact that the task is a little more involved than most people like, and drill down into the surrounding website. What do you see? If it's not an Agent Studio powered website the look is far from professional. And that's the conundrum for today's travel agent. No booking engine will work on a site if the surrounding information is both lacking and unprofessional. That's how I would describe most travel agent websites today.
Some agents shrug it off and emphasize how they want consumers to speak to them and don't put any effort or even due diligence into what website solution they are utilizing. What they are missing in that analysis is the fact that any consumer who visits their website will probably not take the next step to actually speak to them.
Simple transactions have made Expedia the success it is today… not cruise bookings. Indeed, the main driver of more than 80 percent of Expedia's profits come from selling hotels. Why do consumers book hotels on Expedia, but nothing on the many travel agent sites? Most travel agent sites don't have the same technology as Expedia, or the same inventory, and therefore don't get those bookings. If they are lucky they might get the "looking" just before "leaving" to book somewhere else.
What's the impact of that lost revenue? Missed hotel bookings by agents add up to more than the entire travel agency channel annual revenue, across every single category of travel.
If agents want a piece of the more than $100 billion in hotel bookings they should take a look at Agent Studio's website solution. Instead of looking, the client is actually booking on over 1,200 websites and counting. Why? It's really quite simple. Since the same hotels that are on Expedia, at the same price, appear on their sites… with the same technology to boot.
The smart travel agents are educating their customers on their new capability, and their new website's booking tools, while others are still talking about their "looking engines" and wondering why they don't get any actual bookings. Get smart about your business and visit Agent Studio today.
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