With the arrival of summer, it is almost impossible not to think about holidays. When I talk about holidays, I mean amazing beaches, spectacular scenery and unique locations around the world... every destination we dream to visit someday. In my case, I feel attracted to destinations outside of Spain and locations where I can dive into a completely different environment from the one I'm used to. Therefore, pricing is my main break when traveling, and it also becomes the factor more influential when choosing a final destination.
Upon reading that almost 30% of the trips are booked using offline channels, I wondered, what should an offline agency offer me to book my holidays with them?
We, the millennials, are increasingly shopping, making reservations and placing orders through internet and it has become our main source of information. After giving it some thought, despite the seemingly ridiculousness of the question for a Millennial, I came up with some conditions that if fulfilling, would make me willing to plan my trip with an offline travel agency.
6 Factors Offline Travel Agency should consider
1. Rotation deals
One of the main features of the online environment is the nonstop renewal of products and services. The goal for agencies must be to find the most attractive combination for me, based on my interests. So increasing number of deals, and going ahead with this idea, will also increase the chance of fitting my expectations based either on destination, budget or type of accommodation.
2. Personal assistance and counseling - Customization
The chat communication tools, are good ways to get personal assistance but it can be perceived a bit cold and less fluid than the offline way. One of the key values of an offline travel agency is that we often seek for advice or doubt resolution in a more direct and personalized way.
3. Price: Offline vs. Online
In most eCommerce, prices are usually more competitive than those in an offline store. It is also one of the main decision factors for young people like me, and crucial when differences between both, online and offline, are noticeable.
There should not be price differences: none of them, neither online or offline, have storage costs: planning a trip is a service that should be kept at the same pricing level in both agency versions.
4. Trip tracking - Shifting expectations
Internet allows us to be more autonomous in obtaining more customizable services and products. Therefore, if I make a reservation with an offline travel agency, I would expect them to manage my entire trip, ie, scheduling, payment of tickets, check in, reminders of flights, etc.
5. Improving destination experience - Destination Intelligence
As mentioned previously, the internet is my main source for getting information. So when I am beginning to organize a trip, I browse several web pages to get relevant information about destinations, recommendations from other travellers, highlights, etc. So again, from my perspective, this factor should be widely covered by the offline agency if they want me to make a reservation with them. Recommendations, tips and reviews on what to do at destination, including guides and advices, would be key.
In the short term, if a random offline agency puts some effort into it and begins to offer services that can compete with personalization and low prices, they will surely succeed getting a wider market share.
Therefore, the question I ask myself is whether offline agencies will find the key for surviving by finding some success or will they end up closing down business due to the online competition.
6. Possibility of paying between some people
Whenever I can, I travel with friends or with a partner and the same thing always happens: we need to sort out who paid for accommodation, transportation or destination activities and, as expected, it usually becomes chaotic. In this sense, if I organize a trip through an offline agency it would be great to stop worrying about that, using an app that was a kind of money pool, so it could divide the money expenses for each of us at the end of the trip.