Friday, 19 January 2018

GUEST BLOG: Why Airport Concierge Services Will Take Off



Wasted airport time is an accepted part of business trips. Travellers often plan to arrive at least two hours before departure, if not three, before international departures. When arriving internationally, they budget time for customs and immigration processes. Connecting flights also require buffer time, especially when they incur security queues.

But what if corporate travel managers could save travellers tens of thousands of airport hours per year?

Airport concierge services solve this. These include lounge access to during down time, plus traveller meet-and-greet:

·       Curb-side, then escorting them through fast-track security and accompanying them to their gate.
·       From the arrival gate to the departure gate, including fast-track customs, immigration and security.
·       Gate-side, then accompanying them to the curb with expedited customs and immigration.

Airport concierge services are no secret to corporate travel managers. The services are more than 25 years old, and exist at hundreds of airports around the world.

Some airlines upsell them to first- and business-class passengers as part of the airline's brand. Other airlines own a separate service. In other cases, airports sell their own luxury service.

Most providers, though, are local or regional companies. The question is, with the options and decades of success, why do so few companies use them?

First is the cost. Few travel managers can justify spending hundreds or thousands of extra pounds per trip. Luxury versions of this service easily cost four figures. While they are the exception, they help set an industry perception of luxury service at a luxury price.

Services can be as affordable as £100 per person, or lower for groups. A cost-benefit analysis using travellers’ hourly wages will often justify these rates. For upper management, even moreso.

The biggest hurdle to adoption at these rates is the ease of booking. Today, services are fragmented by airport or region. This makes it difficult to compare value, benefits, procedures, terms and conditions.

Chauffeur services faced the same challenges years ago. Local, independent providers were fragmented with their own websites and policies. This left travellers and corporate travel managers to sort out the best providers. Global professional driver services like Blacklane have overcome this fragmentation. The results are lower costs and a consistent high online and physical experience.

Airport concierge services are undergoing a similar evolution. Global companies serve airports around the world with a simple booking process and clear policies. Providers also work with multi-national companies to serve certain levels of employees and/or particular airports.

They are creating door-to-door trips by combining airport concierge services with chauffeured rides. By covering travellers' first and last miles and the steps in between, they lower stress, reduce transit time, and increase productivity.

This blog was posted by Sascha Meskendahl, Chief Revenue Officer of Blacklane. The company is exhibiting its professional driver and airport concierge services at the Business Travel Show 2018. Please register for your free visitor pass at www.businesstravelshow.com



Monday, 15 January 2018

GUEST BLOG: Five Things Travellers Look For In A Travel Agent


Many travellers dread the idea of planning their trip, especially air travel, because of the uncertainty it involves. Enter travel agents, who can add value by helping alleviate the stress that the air travel brings with it.

Are you a travel agent wondering how to appease your customers? Here’s what most travellers look for in a travel agent:

Expertise
When a traveller is booking with you, they’re not just purchasing a ticket; they’re purchasing your services as well. Ticket selling can easily be accomplished by machines, but offering not just service, but quality service is the differentiator that can set you apart from the multitude of travel agents out there.

Sell expertise, not deals.

Specialisation in Service
Travellers have access to a variety of information at their fingertips, so much so that they themselves have become generalist travel agents. When they knock for help, they’re seeking an expert.

Focus on a few destinations or types of trips and be an expert on those, rather than striving to be the ‘jack of all trades and master of none’.

Personalised Services
The best travel agents are all about the relationships they maintain with their travellers. Being available to clients, even if on phone, makes them feel reassured.
In the travel business, you will always be measured by the happiness you bring to your customers. Sell happiness.

Engaging With Clients
It is crucial for travel agents to build a digital media presence. Engaging your clients with insights and tips will boost your brand value. Regular travel blogs, updates and latest news will portray you as an active social identity to your online audience.
Make your customers your brand ambassadors!

Reputation
Developing a trusted reputation can give you credibility in the market. Get your clients to endorse your services. Build your reputation with testimonials and traveller reviews.
Creating a compelling brand should be your goal, everything else will follow. 

In these demanding times, quick adaptation to new ways of travel and technology will suit the changing nature of modern travellers. Following these simple yet effective tips will help you establish a space of your own in this competitive market, enabling you to cater to your target audience more profitably.


This post was written by Sijo M Varghese of 
Mystifly who are exhibiting at Business Travel Show in February - register for your free ticket now at www.businesstravelshow.com/register  You can read the full blog here - https://blog.mystifly.com/5-things-that-travellers-look-for-in-a-travel-agent.