Despite the great uncertainties in the wake of the corona pandemic, there are high hopes that the tourism industry will pick up again this year. In the following overview, we have compiled the main points the travel agency chains are focusing on this year.
Dertour travel agencies
For the former travel agencies of the DER brand, 2022 was a very special start: they are now operating as Dertour travel agencies. This is intended to give greater emphasis to the company’s own lead tour operator, which has also been shaping the brand image of Meiers Weltreisen, Jahn Reisen and ITS since the end of 2021.
In marketing, the chain, which currently has 450 offices, wants to use its affiliation with the Rewe Group more than before. The prelude to this are voucher cards, which were available for the first time in the run-up to Christmas in Rewe, Penny and Hit stores as well as in post offices. With the new offer, the Dertour travel agency will become visible in a sales network with more than 12,000 branches, according to managing director Andreas Heimann. He promises himself “another way to win new customers”.
Another key issue is the search for junior staff. With the start of training in February 2022, the travel agency chain will be offering over 50 new apprenticeships across Germany with a shortened training period of two and a half years. Under the motto “DersuchtDich.de” further apprenticeships for tourism salespeople for private and business travel with a focus on travel agency are to be advertised for the autumn of this year.
Improved options for booking flights via the internal system “Derpart Air” are one of the top topics of the Derpart franchise chain for 2022. The technical basis for this are additional direct interfaces and additional booking options for ancillary services of the airlines.
In addition, the training concept is to be further expanded, including on the topics of video consultation, making appointments and service flat rates.
In addition, the head office hopes that other offices will join the overarching marketing platform “Reise-Specialisten.com”. It was launched as part of the DER Touristik Group and offers travel agencies the opportunity to draw even more targeted attention to their travel expertise and services on the Internet. The experiences at Derpart so far have been good: “The offices use this to reach customers who research online in a targeted manner and thus potential new customers,” says the head office.
After the I-Frame integration of tour operators such as Pro Fewo into the travel agency homepages and the launch of Tec-Off-Spider as a further mid-office system alongside My Jack last year, Holiday Land 2022 is technically primarily about the refresh and the optimization of individual travel agency websites.
In sales, the former Thomas Cook franchisees are to be supported with the help of the “Move by Holiday Land” program with e-colleges, sales competitions and sales promotion measures.
Other focal points and project topics are an employee academy, an online business camp, individual decoration offers, mailings, B2C newsletters, Facebook and Instagram offers as well as an inventory of sustainability in travel agencies.
In addition, the head office wants to offer start-up support for new founders and travel salespeople who are planning to become self-employed.
The recent upgrade for the business travel tool Voya was just one of many technical advancements that LCC 2021 has launched. Among other things, the focus was on a significantly expanded range of flights that can be booked in the NDC data standard. This is made possible by the self-developed software Bridge IT.
Another step forward: thanks to the connection to Numiga, travel expense accounting is also possible directly on the Voya platform.
In 2022, in addition to new technical possibilities, the focus will be on sustainability. The ambitious goal of the franchise association from Frankfurt: by 2030, both the head office and all connected travel agencies should work in a climate-neutral manner.
In addition, it is about the continuation of successful marketing concepts and the introduction of the LCC Travel Assistant app, which was launched at the end of 2021. The application for business travelers bundles all travel information and services in one place and should thus become the “essential companion for customers to organize their own trip”, reports Managing Director Markus Orth. A unique selling point compared to competitors and an advantage for users in daily use of the app is an interface to the Umbrella profile database, according to Frankfurt. The application was created in cooperation with the Innsbruck high-tech company Tourist Mobile.
Travel Center Alltours
The franchise and branch chain continues to rely on its own and partner sales. Both are “pillars that complement each other perfectly,” emphasizes Managing Director Reinhard Kotzaurek. They want to expand in both pillars, the pandemic offers “many good options and right now we will push ahead with the expansion of the channels,” says Kotzaurek.
The manager sees the chain’s existing technology at a “very good” level, and in 2021 a scheduling tool was successfully introduced, among other things.
A nationwide recruitment offensive was launched to attract new employees. The training measures for existing employees will be expanded in 2022. Also important to Kotzaurek is the “full use” of opening hours, availability seven days a week and efficiency in customer relationship management. Reisecenter Alltours has set up a “task force” specifically for this purpose.
TUI continues to work both in the branch and in the franchise area with the brands TUI Reisecenter and First Reisebüro on the dovetailing of the online and offline channels – “in the interests of customers and travel agencies”, according to Hanover.
One topic is the greater use of online appointment requests from customers in travel agencies. These are to be advertised more to customers, for example using QR codes in the shop windows. There are also plans to further optimize the technology on the website. TUI is convinced that making appointments directly on TUI.com is “the ideal way to bring customers to the travel agency and to win new customers”.
In addition, the branch and franchise chain is working on the further development of customer advice in the mid-office. The aim is an improved presentation of offers and an optimized dispatch of offers. Various website options have already been launched for franchise partners and omnichannel features have been further developed. These have been gradually implemented in the offices since the end of 2021.
For the owner-managed partner offices, the support concept was also revised and realigned as part of the new franchise agreements. The result is a mix of personal and digital support from a regional manager team.
Top topics of the TVG chain with the brands Sonnenklar TV Reisebüro and Flugbörse in 2022 include the quality barometer and the central control of social media channels via social pals. The aim is to become even more active in these channels and to relieve the partners, reports Managing Director Birgit Aust.
In order to extend the opening hours, a test phase with the FTI call center was started at the end of 2021 with selected offices. In response to the shortage of skilled workers, the chain is testing a new form of recruitment in order to possibly revive its own career changer program with this experience.
An important goal this year is to make better use of the USP and thus the power of the Sonnenklar TV brand and, accordingly, to place more emphasis on the offers via the station. “Especially for booking inquiries in the longer term, this will become increasingly relevant,” says Aust with conviction.
In our report from the beginning of January you can read which topics are the focus of travel agency cooperations in the current year.