Best-in-class service at all stages of the trip is essential for travellers. As an extension of the carrier’s sales force, travel agents offer a unique experience for travellers. From the pre-booking shopping experience to locking in additional services, to the post-booking experience, travel agents are there throughout the traveller journey. It’s through these services that agents deliver significant value to LCC partners in retaining customers and growing booking volumes.
Travel agents not only deliver customer service excellence, but they do it cost effectively. For instance, 10% of itineraries are subject to changes which can be costly and complex for an LCC to manage. Travel agents, on the other hand, have the technology at their fingertips to service passenger bookings. This includes quick modifications and cancellations at the stroke of a few keys that are reflected automatically in the passenger name record. Agency management of traveller bookings means less hassle and strain on airline call centres and more profitable bookings.
And we’ve seen exactly this when working with carriers like T’way Airlines. T’way is a relatively new and small Korean LCC that has seen their bookings in Japan grow 10 fold in 2016 by working with Amadeus agents.
What’s the secret to success? We worked closely with T’way staff and Amadeus travel agents in the local Japanese market on an adoption programme that was tailored specifically to their needs.
The programme focused on the carrier’s Osaka to Guam route, which concerns mainly package tours and group bookings. To start, group bookings that were traditionally handled manually were converted to automated processing using Amadeus technology. Joint seminars were also held, and through targeted training, T’way staff learned how to use Amadeus commands and agents how to handle T’way group bookings.
The results speak for themselves: 10 times more bookings compared to 2015. In Japan, agents now know that T’way offers easy handling and booking – a win-win for all players!
So what’s the bottom line? Extending an LCC’s sales force to agents means higher profitability through more bookings, efficiency gains and satisfied travellers.
Our previous LCC Best Practices post explored the importance of offering the best content for the best results. Stay tuned for our next post where we’ll be talking about connecting LCCs to agents in the most efficient way. The full LCC best practices study is available here.