Despite the advance of tech, by keeping travel homeworking personal I believe that travel homeworkers have a great future ahead of them.
A recent opinion column I wrote for TTG talked about being wowed by a new robotic restaurant in Boston.
Whilst the point of the piece was to challenge travel to be more inventive and ambitious in our use of tech, there can be little doubt how much technology already has and continues to change our industry.
Virtual reality, artificial intelligence, robots can all now be found in retail travel, call-centres and airports enhancing the customer experience via inspiration and improved efficiency.
Nevertheless, to suggest that the future of travel lies solely in the hands of technology is foolhardy. Travel itself is all about personal experience. From looking to booking, to travelling, returning, and sharing each moment across every social channel along the way, the whole journey is “mine”.
Which is why people will always have the opportunity to play an integral part in the booking process turning holiday dreams into reality. However, the only people that will be able to grasp and profit from that opportunity will be those that bring more to the customer than a computer can.
That means truly outstanding personal service and knowledge from the very first interaction a travel sales person has with a customer, through the sales process to pre and post departure and beyond.
If you as a prospective homeworker are not prepared or equipped to bring more to your customer than a computer…..walk away now, travel homeworking is not for you!
The success of Holidaysplease over the last 15 years has been founded on the principle of the old and the new. Old school travel agent knowledge, service and sales skills married to new technology, new ways of doing things, smarter, faster, and always customer-centric. Everything we do starts and ends with the customer in mind.
The robotic restaurant is a reality. Can I envisage a robotic travel agency built around artificial intelligence, 100% I can! It will succeed because it will be quick and cheap due to efficiency savings and of course no staff salaries.
At the same time the “human” travel agent that continues to evolve by embracing the new and enhancing the old will also thrive. And in my mind travel homeworkers are in a unique position to be the ones that fill that space.
Focus effort and energy on keeping travel homeworking personal by being innovative when building relationships and always providing more to customers than a computer can, and you may just end up with a highly successful travel homeworking business!