Opinion: Creating a more profitable business

Tony Hopwood
Hopwood TMC Consulting

WITH the ever-changing travel industry landscape, the need for your business to keep up with the pace of change is essential to future profitability.

As your customers get savvier, it is key that your staff have access to the right tools that allow them to “sell” their expertise to “win” new business (and in many cases retain your existing business).  This principle applies equally to both retail and corporate travel agencies. Obviously, the more equipped your staff are, the more advantage you have to increase your sales and revenue opportunities.

However, revenue is not the only element in driving a profitable business.  It is also essential that you understand your key cost drivers and develop business plans, or project initiatives, to continue to reduce, or at a minimum do more with the same level of cost.  It is important for you to identify each of your key cost drivers, and develop a plan that will deliver either cost reduction or productivity improvements to drive cost savings. These plans should be reviewed and refined, at a minimum, every year.

As an example, how often do you review the booking process of your staff?  Do you work with your technology partner to leverage their desktop and mid-office products?  By automating processes and removing duplication, storing data that is “re-usable” for the next booking, and integrating third party content within the desktop, you will drive efficiencies, promote time savings for basic booking processes and deliver enhanced content. Ultimately, this enables your staff to focus more on the customer experience and selling opportunities.

It is a fact that some of the initiatives you will consider may require some level of investment, either as a one-off project or potentially as an ongoing cost.  However, each initiative can be carefully examined to ensure it delivers a return on investment.  This could be in terms of “hard” dollar costs savings, or by improving the level of staff productivity and enabling you to produce higher sales volumes with the same cost base.

One simple option is to work closer with your technology partner. Leverage the tools and products already in place and evaluate other investment initiatives that deliver cost savings, with the goal to driving a more profitable business. For instance, have you considered the new wave of graphical user interface powered solutions or thought about building basic booking scripts within your existing desktop? In many cases, travel agencies are not fully utilising the features and benefits available to them within their existing desktop products. One simple change can bring about a world of new opportunities.

Hopwood is an independent consultant, specialising in productivity initiatives for the travel industry. He is the headline speaker at Travelport’s upcoming industry roadshows across Asia from May 7-11. For more information, visit tiny.cc/travelportroadshow

By Tony Hopwood, director, Hopwood TMC Consulting

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