Article | July 18, 2023
As COVID-19 wreaks havoc across the globe, tourism-dependent regions are suffering exponentially. The continent of Africa is one glaring example, with South Africa propelled into the global top 10 for coronavirus infections, reportedly now surpassing the United Kingdom in cases. For its part, the tourism and industrial sectors in North Africa will likely be hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the African Development Bank’s 2020 edition North Africa Economic Outlook report.
Even as Africa contends with pandemic concerns, there are still throngs of travelers who are keen to visit the region in the near future. Many are doing diligence to discern if, when and how to go about scheduling a trip to this tourism hotspot.
To help spotlight some top-line issues, I turned to entrepreneur and philanthropist Jay Cameron, Executive Director of Maximum Impact Travel. As one of the leading global experts on Africa travel and commerce, Cameron’s insights are invaluable as travelers deal with this tumultuous situation, helping ensure they plan smartly in the post-pandemic era.
MK: What are the key do’s and don’ts when traveling to Africa amid COVID-19?
JC: Surprisingly, some African countries have escaped the devastating impacts COVID-19 has caused globally. While other countries around the world have experienced often overwhelming consequences as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, much of Africa appears to have been spared. Even so, the statistics do not suggest the citizens of the countries of Africa have not felt its impact. The fact is, many countries in Africa are seeing regular increases in the numbers of those infected by the novel coronavirus, while much of the world is experiencing a decline in infections.
Around the world, experts warn outbreaks of COVID-19 in Africa may continue, resulting in a higher rate of deaths due to the limited local health services available. With coronavirus worries come fears of potential famine due to the virus threat, in combination with existing drought conditions and ongoing conflicts.
With this in mind, should you intend to travel to the continent now, or post-COVID-19, you should be prepared. Some good preparedness ideas include researching virus statistics in the country you wish to visit that, for one, you can review at AfricaNews.com. It is also advisable to learn if said country has any travel restrictions, which is information that is accessible online via at CDC.gov. Of course, maintaining a healthy lifestyle to boost immunity before and during your visit is also key.
MK: Should travelers be ready to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test result, either before departing or upon arrival?
JC: African countries are now opening for foreign travelers, but this does not indicate the belief that they have won the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. Most African countries are still battling with COVID-19 outbreaks, as the number of infected cases continues to rise daily in nearly every African country. To this end, stringent efforts are in place to ensure individuals arriving on the continent and entering various countries are free of the virus.
With this in mind, you should be prepared to present proof of negative COVID-19 status before entering the country to which you are traveling. This measure is being implemented around the globe and the countries of Africa are no exception.
In the same vein, departing any African country will require the same proof of negative COVID-19 status. Both mandates are in place to protect your fellow travelers on the flight as well as the residents of the country to which you are traveling. As things ebb and flow, you can check the status of this mandate online at AfricaTravelInc.com.
MK: What would you suggest about localized regulations?
JC: Travelers must research the localized regulations and requirements with respect to hotel and resorts, airports, ground transportation, public spaces and such for both their own country and their destination.. It is necessary that you understand departure rules from your country of origin, and even more important that you understand your destination country’s prevailing laws for foreign travelers regarding COVID-19. Some African countries like Tanzania and Zambia, for example, have mandated the use of face masks in public places with punishment for the contravention of such laws. Some hotels and resorts also have taken stringent measures and issued their own strict requirements for travelers arriving from foreign countries. For example, at this time, hotel bars in Rwanda are closed but the hotels themselves remain open.
Researching and understanding these laws before traveling enables you to stay safe during your visit and steer clear of legal issues with the local authorities. A helpful resource for staying up-to-date on laws that might affect travel to Africa can be found at Travel.State.gov.
MK: What about the airlines, specifically?
JC: Investigate the requirements for your airline as each carrier has varied responses to COVID-19. As a result of the pandemic, most airlines have adopted measures to keep their passengers and their staff safe. While some airlines like Delta require proof of a negative COVID-19 test before boarding your flight, others provide testing before your flight and attach the result to your ticket. Therefore, to ensure you are able to fly when scheduled, it is your responsibility to know the requirements of your airline before the flight to avoid any issues. A good resource for this is Go2Africa.com.
MK: Should tourists be prepared for temperature screenings and COVID-19 tests upon arrival and departure?
JC: As pointed out earlier, many African countries are still battling the pandemic, so to keep the residents of their countries safe post-COVID-19, airports have been mandated to request test results or test passengers on-site. Therefore, when traveling, you should be prepared for a coronavirus test upon arrival or departure from any African country. If you refuse to allow this, you will not be able to fly.
MK: What about a potential 14-day quarantine upon arrival—is that only for travelers who show signs of COVID-19?
JC: Apart from testing, be prepared for a 14-day quarantine if you show signs of the virus or test positive during a test given at the airport. African countries are determined to ensure the pandemic is eliminated completely from their countries. If you show symptoms of the virus upon your arrival in any country in Africa, you will likely be quarantined for 14 days. This can even entail having to stay in the country instead of returning to the U.S.
MK: Would you say that travel insurance is an imperative?
JC: Make sure your travel insurance company offers COVID-19 coverage and arrange for COVID-19 travel insurance requirements from airlines. You will want to be insured by your travel insurance company for COVID-19 coverage before traveling to any African country. Check with your travel insurance company to ensure COVID-19 is covered under their insurance policy, in the event you need to change your travel plans due to the pandemic. Such coverage policy can protect you by covering expenses related to unexpected changes and/or medical care in the event of illness.
MK: With any trip, but especially now, there can be unforeseen circumstances. Any insights on that front?
JC: DO NOT travel without extra funds and the ability to extend your trip in the event of a quarantine. With the points mentioned above, there is a great likelihood you will be required to spend more time and money in the country to which you are traveling if your COVID-19 test is positive. As a result, it is advisable to travel only if you are prepared with time and financial contingency plans. However, African countries are not barring U.S. travelers at the same rate as other countries, meaning you can potentially realize your dream safari vacation or other adventure across the continent’s beaches, jungles and deserts.
As the world contends with COVID-19 issues, African countries will endeavor to stay open for tourism, business and much more. Preparing for, and abiding by, the region’s travel requirements will make your journey and overall stay in the country more enjoyable and safer for all.
Article | June 20, 2023
Technological advancements and the paradigm shift in the travel industry post COVID have altered the way we travel. Businesses have elevated their operations to a whole new level due to technological advances. The digital age has facilitated the travel industry's rapid recovery from the COVID crisis. Additionally, travel firms are embracing automation to save time and reallocate resources.
Business travel is resuming as restrictions ease. Companies spend a huge amount of money on travel. According to the York Journal, business travel has increased year after year and is expected to grow to be worth $1.7 trillion in 2022. It further states that businesses allocate around 10% of their revenue on business travel expenditure. So, now is the time for businesses to deploy travel software applications to automate some tasks.
According to the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) corporate travel costs is expected to climb by 26% in 2021 and 34% in 2022, despite the slow recovery.
The Nelson Research suggests that travel industry experts anticipate that the global digital travel market will grow at a 3.8% annual rate to reach $11.4 trillion. With these rising numbers in mind, travel agencies must step up their efforts to make the most of the situation.
Travel agencies often require different types of travel agency software, each serving a unique purpose supporting efficient and seamless operation. However, businesses must strategically incorporate automation into your travel system.
B2B Travel System - Automate Intelligently
A holistic travel agency software solution includes a travel system that automates real-time operations and streamlines the travel process in less than an hour.
Consider the nature of your firm while deciding on a software package and determining which business procedures should or should not be automated. Automated travel industry software, for example, accelerates sales, increases staff productivity, centralizes information, improves accuracy, streamlines booking systems, and coordinates and explores customer data.
An automated travel software is mobile and tablet friendly, allowing travel agencies to book hotels, tours, transfers, and other related activities through mobile devices and websites. It improves efficiency and enables the agency to save money and time.
Businesses Now Prefer Adoption of Technology Drivers for Smoother Customer Experience (CX)
The travel industry is highly dependent on customer experience. Therefore, enhanced customer experience is the new loyalty currency for the travel and hospitality industry.
Travel agents and tour operators utilize travel agency software to automate their regular processes. Many predict that emerging technologies, ranging from AI-driven personal assistants to connected devices, will increase opportunities to serve travelers better.
33% of tourists use a virtual travel assistant to plan their trips, says hotelMize.
In a survey conducted by DMA, about 59% of participants stated that they choose a travel company based on its value for money, and 58% prefer a travel company based on customer service.
Software for travel agencies simplifies the process of online booking, inventory management, package customization, back-office administration, itinerary design, facilitating business leads, and accounting to assist travel agencies in increasing bookings and lowering costs.
Consumers demand a seamless experience that is personalized to their specific travel requirements. With cutting-edge technology in place, travel and hotel businesses can significantly enhances customer experience (CX) and foster loyalty that inspires future visits and recommendations. In addition, the travel experience will be driven forward by technology, as customers will rely on AI and other customer experience technologies to assist them in managing the obstacles associated with modern travel.
List of Travel Agency Software That Can Transform Your Travel Business
Travel agent software enables travel agencies and associated organizations to boost revenue and simplify reporting. Choose travel agency software that can be customized to meet your specific requirements. Here are some travel agency software options that can be considered.
“When I promote my services to my clients, Travefy itineraries are one of my selling points.”
Lene Minyard, Owner - Perfectly Planned Journeys
Travefy lets travel consultants, tour operators, and other travel professionals save time, provide good deals to consumers, and increase sales by utilizing simple tools. This software generates visually appealing client itineraries or proposals.
Over 100 supplier integrations over 625 city guides
Live flight database
ClientBase is a travel agent-specific customer relationship management (CRM) program. Its advanced and enriching features make it a standout in tour and travel operator software, providing solutions for enterprises and travel agencies. A marketing database, a travel planner, and a contact manager are all rolled into one. ClientBase also integrates with remote information systems and booking engines.
The core ClientBase features are listed below:
Travenza is a cloud-based travel booking software for travel companies, tour operators, agents, and consultants. The suite includes reservation administration, quota management, payment processing, and marketing functionality.
Rezdy is a cloud-based business-to-business technology that enables tour operators to sell their products online and through different distribution channels. The open platform enables customers to connect their internal systems and online apps to a supplied booking engine. In addition, it assists distribution channels such as online travel agencies, marketplaces, and hotel chains locate and acquiring additional clients' items.
According to Zippia, the business travel sector is expected to experience a CAGR of 13.2% between 2021 and 2028.Therefore, travel companies must integrate new and immersive technology to expedite the process and provide a seamless travel experience for tech-savvy travelers. Technology has the ability to act as a generational catalyst for customer loyalty.
What are the benefits of automation in the travel industry?
Data and documents can be centralized in an organization
Increases customer satisfaction and loyalty
What is B2B travel software?
B2B travel software streamlines various travel operations. It helps travel agents and agencies access real-time data.
What system do travel agents use?
Travel agencies use airline inventory from multiple GDS (Global Distribution Systems) to find seat fares and book tickets.
Article | July 24, 2023
Embrace the power of technology and revolutionize your hospitality business! Discover the latest trends in hospitality management software for enhanced efficiency and unforgettable guest experiences.
Staying ahead of the competition requires embracing innovative technologies in the rapidly evolving hospitality industry. Hospitality management software is crucial in streamlining operations, enhancing guest experiences, and boosting efficiency. This article will explore seven trending hospitality management software solutions that are revolutionizing the industry. From property management systems to guest experience platforms, these cutting-edge tools offer a wide range of features and capabilities.
1. TravelNet Solutions
TravelNet Solutions offers exceptional hospitality property management software, Track, which is designed to streamline operations and elevate guest experiences. At the heart of Track is its flagship property management system (PMS), a robust solution that efficiently handles all the back-office requirements, including trust accounting, automation, and housekeeping. What sets Track apart is its best-in-class hospitality customer relationship management (CRM) module. Its integrated system enables guest-related activity to link seamlessly with their record, eliminating the need for module switching or legacy record-keeping methods. Everything is securely stored in the cloud which ensures smooth functionality and accessibility. Additionally, TravelNet Solutions provides Track Pulse Contact Center Software by further enhancing customer interactions.
AmTrav provides cutting-edge software for the hospitality industry by revolutionizing traditional business travel solutions. Unlike clunky and frustrating systems, AmTrav is a seamless software and service platform designed to cater to the needs of modern businesses. By focusing on solving current challenges such as meetings and group travel, it offers a comprehensive suite of features. Its connected platform ensures a unified experience through streamlining business travel management. Tailored specifically for hospitality management systems, it optimizes productivity and efficiency, making travel business a breeze. With its commitment to assisting business travelers, AmTrav goes beyond being a mere software SaaS platform.
3. Operto Guest Technologies
Operto'sadvanced travel and hospitality management software enables seamless oversight of operations by consolidating PMS, access, and guest experience solutions into a user-friendly platform. With its innovative technology, one can effortlessly automate housekeeping scheduling and task management operations. By implementing simple and complex scheduling rules, the platform eliminates guesswork and assigns tasks to appropriate personnel. Operto Connect is a comprehensive hospitality operating system that integrates property management tools into a unified platform. From importing and managing guest reservations to controlling intelligent locks, thermostats, and noise monitoring on a per-room basis, Operto streamlines operations. This hospitality management system combines IoT hardware solutions with intuitive software to enhance guest experiences and drive operational efficiencies for property owners and managers alike.
Spotnana, a hospitality software, revolutionizes travel management with its comprehensive features. The platform simplifies the complexities of travel management by highlighting global travel policies, traveler health and safety, and robust analytics. Powered by a modern infrastructure, it enables a new generation of travel experiences, providing travelers with a wide range of unbiased options through deep direct NDC integrations with major airlines worldwide. Spotnana's platform ensures unprecedented visibility and control on a global scale, empowering businesses to optimize their travel programs. With dynamic global policies and unrivaled search capabilities, Spotnana's hospitality management tools future-proof the travel program and streamline operations.
5. Deem, Inc.
Deem is a hospitality management system software that caters to the evolving needs of employees and companies alike. Designed to enhance productivity, problem-solving capabilities, and cost control, Deem provides travel managers with a customizable and user-friendly platform to service their travelers efficiently. With a mobile-first approach, its intuitive suite of travel booking and hospitality management tools, led by Etta, enables seamless hotel, air, and car accommodation bookings from any device. Etta's accessibility and user-friendly interface ensure effortless travel planning, updates, itinerary changes, and more, even while on the go. The hotel management software provider's corporate travel booking solution is adopted by global travel management companies and corporate customers due to its unrivaled searches, personalized support, and valuable program insights.
A fully integrated travel and expense management solution, ITILITE optimizes spending while ensuring the safety and satisfaction of employees. Founded by experienced corporate travelers who understood the challenges of balancing cost and employee experience, ITILITE identifies the inefficiencies and complexities surrounding business travel. Recognizing the disparity between personal and business travel processes, ITILITE aimed to bring technological advancements to the corporate travel landscape. With unified travel and expense features, the platform drives convenience, control, and savings, empowering organizations worldwide.
7. DIB Travel
DIB Travel simplifies booking and expense management with its travel management software. Say goodbye to endless searches and multiple open tabs. With DIB Travel, booking a hotel, flight, and additional transportation options is done in three minutes. Partnered with renowned platforms like Booking.com and Expedia, DIB Travel provides access to over 1.5 million hotels and a wide selection of flights from major and low-cost airlines. Enjoy the convenience of selecting the preferred options and securing any seat effortlessly. Streamline the payment process with DIB Travel's business travel management software, which consolidates all travel expenses into a single, concise invoice. Additionally, the software offers customizable policies, approval flows, and a personalized expense management service.
In a Nutshell
Integrating advanced hospitality management software holds immense potential to revolutionize the industry. Imagine a world where smart AI-powered systems seamlessly handle all aspects of property management, guest interactions, and operational processes. These futuristic software solutions utilize machine learning algorithms and predictive analytics to anticipate guest preferences, personalize experiences, and optimize resource allocation. Virtual and augmented reality technologies immerse guests in immersive environments, enhancing their stay and creating unforgettable memories.
Article | May 10, 2022
As the impact of COVID-19 subsides, the devasted travel industry appears to be resuming normalcy with increased travel volumes. In addition, emerging tourism trends and technology in the travel industry have offered new possibilities for business travel to redefine itself. The present opportunities available in the travel sector may benefit your firm. However, customer experience in the travel industry has a significant impact on growing long-term loyalty. Providing a positive client experience is a significant problem for many in the travel and tourism industry.
Customer Experience Is a Challenge to Recover
Customer experience is a critical component of the travel and tourism industry. As travel volumes have increased in the post-covid era, so have negative travel experiences. Business travelers who commute frequently have higher expectations. For a very long time, they have voiced their dissatisfaction, even before the leisure travelers complained. This imbalance has been exacerbated by COVID-19.
According to the American Customer Satisfaction Index, 38% of business passengers complained about the airline, double the percentage compared to leisure travelers. The actual question, though, is how to overcome this obstacle.
Some companies may go above and beyond to reassure travelers with honesty, openness, and unmatched customer service. You may improve the customer experience by implementing the following ideas.
Concentrate on the corporate culture
Give specific examples of consumer advocacy
Equip employees with the necessary tools
According to a survey conducted by Think with Google, superior customer service is the most compelling aspect for high-value travelers. Additionally, 60% of them agree that customer service is the most crucial factor when it comes to picking a brand to travel with.
CX Plays a Vital Role in Revenue Generation
Managing customer experience in travel can enhance the brand-customer relationship, ultimately leading to revenue growth. The adoption of technology for travel booking, ticketing, and expenditure management has improved the customer experience. Satisfied customers increase income and assist firms in calculating the return on their travel and cost expenditures.
Customer experience is a key differentiator that boosts customer happiness and loyalty, and both sells and establishes a competitive edge.
“CX is the difference between success or slump.”
— Chris Pescott, CEO of Perceptive.
Annual business travel expenditures will reach $1.7 trillion globally by 2022. According to Statista, nearly 500 million business travels will take place withing the United States each year by 2022.
Ways to Improve Customer Experience (CX)
Use Tech to Create Breakthrough Customer Experiences
Technology in the travel industry is regularly evolving. By putting technology at the center of each touchpoint, the industry is laying the groundwork for a successful customer experience in travel. Chatbots powered by AI and machine learning deliver client care 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Chatbots have been intelligently developed using cutting-edge technology and may be used in place of humans. AI is constantly evolving, making it more trustworthy and effective as a commercial solution.
Embrace an Omnichannel Mindset
With mobile devices accounting for more than 50% of online traffic, multi-device digital experiences have become the norm. In addition, today's customers interact with companies across various offline and online channels, frequently switching several times, and each stage of the journey must be seamlessly connected and consistent. As a result, adopting omnichannel is one of the most significant changes you will undertake.
Use Customer Journey Mapping
To create a customer journey, you must first understand your consumer. By comparing journey maps to core KPIs, you may gain a deeper insight into your customer experience and identify areas of concern and opportunity. You may use trip maps to enhance the customer experience and visualize the customer experience in the future. Alternatively, you may influence organizational transformation from the stage of inspiration to the planning and execution phases. Utilize all touchpoints and seek new possibilities for interaction.
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines
KLM's social care staff are well-known for their responsiveness and efficiency – the airline even shows a live countdown on its Twitter header picture to inform consumers when they may anticipate a response. However, what sets the organization apart is its ability to generate unique customer experiences.
Qatar Airways is elevating the business class travel experience. At a recent travel industry conference in Berlin, the airline unveiled its Business Class QSuite. This is the first time a business class cabin has been offered and sold with a real double bed. However, the organization goes a step further by providing value to consumers traveling for business. Additionally, the QSuite may be an open work and meeting room. Multiple configuration choices appeal to clients seeking privacy or personalization.
A score of 9.2 for audience insights indicates that the brand is in tune with its social audience well enough to cultivate an impressive number of committed followers.
The travel and tourism industry significantly benefits from nurturing an outstanding customer experience. Supremacy in customer experience can be offered with the help of sophisticated digital technology that can quantify effects and forecast behavior. In addition, as 'bleisure' travel continues to grow in popularity to blend business and leisure time, the customer experience in travel is increasing in relevance.
What are the benefits of a good customer experience?
A good customer experience increases sales and creates customer loyalty. Moreover, it reduces complaints.
How would you define excellent customer service?
Great customer service means responding promptly to a client's wants, being responsive to their concerns, and offering an enthusiastic level of care.
Do you value customer service or customer experience more?
Consumer service results in a positive customer experience. Both are critical to the business's success.