Training holds key for travel industry return
Up-to-date skills and product training will enable travel agents to hit the ground running as the industry opens up to a greater number of destinations.
OTT founder Julia Feuell discussed the role of training as a special guest on the TIRO (Travel Industry Recruitment Opportunities) podcast hosted by Danny Giles. With changes and new information moving rapidly, she said it was even more important for agents and those furloughed from the industry to keep up with the changes brought by the pandemic. You can listen to the podcast in full here.
Julia said suppliers had used different approaches and psychological strategies to handle the huge challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic. She said: “It’s also been interesting in the way in which some of the suppliers have moved through the pandemic. Some have been prolific in trying to push their product training, information and marketing and really been good at communicating with the trade. Others have sort of taken a bunker strategy and said, ‘we will come back when things are better.’”
Positioning your business to move forward
“Everyone’s wounded from what’s gone on, but at the same time, it is kind of a psychological strategy as to how you position your business to move forward. But the trade do need to know, is your hotel open? Is it not? Is the destination open? How is it open? What are the Covid protocols? What are you accepting? There is just so much information now that the consumers are asking the trade - they need to have that information at their fingertips.”
Julia added that some suppliers, such as Malaysia Airlines which won the Best Marketing Award at OTT’s POP Awards, were boosting confidence not only by focussing on their own product, but through highlighting Covid protocols across the entire customer journey. She highlighted a recent video by the airline which gave information, not only on cleaning protocols on board their own aircraft, but also through Heathrow Airport.
She said it was important, both for those in work and job seekers to ensure they remained up to date with their training. “Product learning is absolutely key and information is a moving feast,” she explained. “It will be probably for at least another year when hopefully it will start to settle down a bit but we just don’t know. There will always be new products, new updates on literally anything. It’s continuous learning.”
Keep the travel dream alive
Julia also explained that agents had said that the courses had kept the dream of travel alive during the pandemic. “It’s escapism as well. That they can escape into these lovely destinations if that’s what you like to look at, and dream of those. We all love travel and we’re all motivated by our love of travel and so when you see the dreamy destinations, you’re taken away, especially when you’re looking at the videos on our courses or the photos as well as learning what’s in the written text.”
During the podcast, Julia explained that OTT had been improving its international reach through developing its eight country sites in 17 languages, using local agencies and representatives including Australia, USA, Germany, Netherlands and Nordics.
Get ready for "biggest travel recovery known to man"
She said information sharing would be vital to get the travel industry moving again. “OTT is a supportive area for you to understand the most about the different brands and get tourism moving again through selling more confidently. The suppliers who are currently on the site are updating courses and getting ready with marketing and information for what’s probably going to be the biggest travel recovery ever known to man.”
Listen to all of the TIRO podcasts on Spotify