Travel agents must embrace social networking.
Travel agents must embrace the internet and social networking or their businesses will fail, Dennis said.
Dennis, president of the Time Communications Group, said that by next year one third of world travel bookings would be online while the value of online reservations has increased by 22% since 2010.
He told delegates at the ITP – International Travel Partnership Global Conference near Vevey, Switzerland there had been a fundamental shift in communications caused by the internet and social networking. ‘If you don’t have more than 10% of your business on the internet, you have a problem. Your company is sick,’ he told more than 75 delegates from 30 countries.
The partnership was celebrating the 25th anniversary of its founding in 1986 and a record number of delegates were present for the three day event.
He warned that social networking was not a fad but ‘something powerful happening in the industry’ in a conference session on the social network and a mobile future.
More than a third of British travellers (36%) now take advice from sites like Trip Advisor before making a reservation. Trip Advisor had the ‘most awesome travel content’ while You Tube was now the second largest search engine in the world after Google, Dennis said.
‘Do you know what people are saying about your brand on these sites? If they are saying bad things, your business will decline and you will not know about it. If you do not have someone in your business who looks after social networking, you will be left behind.’
‘You need to employ young people who do nothing else to give your company an edge. You need to start making videos and uploading them onto You Tube to get your brand in front of people,’ he said.
Dennis said the consequences of not moving with the new technology would be that people would see you had no conversation, no openness and therefore no trust. ‘If they don’t see you on these sites, they will start to believe you are hiding something,’ he said.
ITP-International Travel Partnership is one of the world’s fastest growing networked alliances of independent travel management companies with a strong portfolio of multinational corporate clients. ITP is a consortium in which each travel management company is locally owned and managed and is usually a market leader. Each ITP partner is able to combine the care and attentive service required on a local basis with a full travel management service for multinational clients.
For more information please contact:
ITP – International Travel Partnership Ltd.Virginia Palla