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Bespoke services ‘more important than digital for leisure travellers’

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Highly personalized service is becoming a key differentiator for travel advisors, according to a new report from world-leading hotel group Accor, which examines the strategies, technologies and trends shaping the recovery in leisure travel.

The report, titled “A Tailored Touch or Digital Efficiency?” said that while ongoing digital transformation of operations is critical, it is even more important to develop services and foster partnerships that help them delight customers and engage with customers. Clients are connected to a degree beyond what other intermediary models can achieve.

Focusing on the European market, the report outlines how the pandemic has accelerated the transformation of the leisure travel intermediary market, the widespread adoption of digital technologies, and the paradigm shift of many key players to become platform businesses or B2B technology providers.

It supports the notion that, when used correctly, technology from messaging platforms to payments and artificial intelligence can be a travel advisor’s best friend, helping them optimize their ability to optimize inventory of all kinds; access powerful digital distribution channels; better Understand customers, market yourself and provide better and more efficient service.

However, it believes that, as travel planners evolve, more critical to their success is the ability to get close to customers, delivering the high-touch, personalized service that travelers now expect.

Saskia Gentil, Accor’s Senior Vice President of Sales Europe and North Africa, explains: “Consumers increasingly value the ability of travel advisors to take the stress out of travel, customize a trip to their liking, have the flexibility to plan every detail and become a travel advisor. A reassuring presence , to fix problems as they arise.

“The ability to provide this level of customized service is a competitive advantage over pure digital platform competitors and should be maximized. It enables travel advisors to exceed expectations, delight customers and create emotional connections that no one else can. Of course, digital “Technology can play an important role in this experience, but if travel advisors are to truly stand out, technology must support the ability to provide a human touch. This is the cornerstone of how Accor is building technology transformation – it’s technology with the heart, it’s the technology that empowers the team. technologies that enable and enhance the guest experience.”

In order to provide this high level of service, it is critical that travel planners understand the changing needs of leisure travelers, the report argues. From popular destinations of the moment to long-term emerging trends like slow travel, wellness and the desire for sustainable travel, advisors must not only understand these factors, but also have the inventory, partners and local expertise to offer their advice. Provide customers with relevant choices and insights.

This insight and expertise can come in part, but never exclusively, from digital means. Local partners can share their local knowledge and expertise, as well as language proficiency, which is crucial in a culturally and linguistically diverse continent like Europe, and the size and variety of inventory can provide consultants with options as trends evolve. .

The report also covers futuristic factors such as artificial intelligence, cryptocurrencies and virtual universes, as well as some popular destinations for 2023 and beyond. This is the first in a series of three reports Accor plans to release in the coming months, the second and third focusing on business travel and MICE respectively. – trade arab news agency

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