Part 1: How do you compete in what is probably the most collegiate industry in the world?

Why travel agencies can’t keep relying on outdated single-use systems to attract and retain customers.

The 10-second resume

The travel industry is unlike most. It is rare to meet a business owner that doesn’t also view competing agencies as colleagues. But that does not mean that you can sit back and enjoy the ride. To remain competitive, you need to plan for the future and take measures to follow or even lead the development to meet your customer demands today and in the future. So why is it that travel agencies so often rely on outdated technology?

Ask yourself this:

Would you ever use your 20-year-old Ford Focus to compete in a race with brand-new models built for the roads and traffic of today?

Probably not. After all, there is hardly any reason to set yourself up for failure.

The question is, why do most travel agencies rely on 20-year-old legacy systems to compete in a rapidly changing market?

In a world where digitalization is key, travel agencies struggle with fragmented, outdated travel tech stacks.

Here is the issue:

While today’s travelers and corporate buyers are different from their two-decade-old counterparts, those 20-year-old legacy systems are common. Unsurprisingly, this leads to quite a few issues. Bad data, lack of innovation, time-consuming processes, and manual workarounds are just a few examples.

Historically, front-end processing and UX (user experience) have been vastly prioritized. It has been all about appearances. If you open the hood and look at what’s underneath, the engine often requires attention for the travel machine to stay tuned.

Keeping pace with the modern traveler 

The fact is, what was efficient and a great back-end solution 20 years ago, is rarely the right choice today.

A lot has changed since the most common travel legacy systems were introduced. The business, suppliers, distribution, and not least the traveler. Tech and our online behavior are largely to blame for the challenges… or thank for the new opportunities. It depends on your outlook.

In fact, it can be both. What’s a challenge today can be an opportunity tomorrow – if you let it.

Today your challenge is a legacy system that limits your ability to optimize your workflows and meet the modern traveler’s demands. Your travelers wish to be self-serving; they want to book their travel fast, online, and preferably on their smartphone. Your legacy tech stack just isn’t built for that kind of behavior, and without the right workflows, you will end up with faulty data and corrupted reporting.

Travelers and corporate buyers are tech-savvy. What would happen if your company were to?

What if you went all-in on preparing for the future and left legacy systems behind? If you took a close look at the engine and gave your back office the attention it deserves?

Give it a thought. It is a genuine opportunity. One that would give you a competitive advantage, enable you to live up to the modern traveler’s expectations and make your travel business more profitable.

So, what’s the point?

You might have learned nothing new from this article.

You already know that legacy systems do not allow you to optimize sufficiently and take your business to the next level. You might also be aware that your customers expect experiences that you’re not able to deliver. You might even know that it’s a matter of having the right technology if you wish to meet these expectations.

In that case, this article is a reminder.

The thing is, few travel agencies have done anything with this knowledge. Most think it’s a game only large corporations can play. That they can’t afford the transition, that it is too complex, too time-consuming, that it requires manpower they don’t have… The list goes on.

Guess what? None of that is true.

Read the second part of this article if you want to know how even small travel agencies can build a business for the future with modern cloud technology.

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