More than ever, South Africans will be seeking value-for-money holidays and to deal with suppliers they can trust with their hard-earned savings this year. By Teresa Richardson.
The economic climate, various global travel trends, and continuing shifts in traveller behaviour will undoubtedly impact our businesses. The Travel Corporation (TTC) believes we can work together and not only survive but thrive this decade. Here’s how:
There is no doubt that the economic climate is having a significant impact on outbound international travel. The exchange rate and accessibility will continue to drive South Africans’ booking decisions.
South African customers demand good value and prefer to deal with reliable and credible suppliers for a hassle-free holiday. TTC’s European programme is packed with value adds and shows good signs of growth. It is early days, but, we predict that Trafalgar and Costsaver are going to be the most popular TTC brands in this market in 2020.
New international airline services to South Africa are also important. A direct flight is a significant selling point, and, we know, can be a deciding factor when it comes to securing a sale.
Predicting traveller needs
The economic situation may lead to more longer-stay international holidays. Given flight and visa costs from South Africa, it makes sense to opt for one longer trip than regular shorter ones. Savvy travel agents can suggest this to clients who would usually book seven nights. There is a good chance they will extend.
Yes, the rand is not looking too rosy but at least with TTC’s rand price guarantee, once your client has paid their deposit the quoted price will not change, whatever the rand is doing.
It’s likely local travel could become more expensive, so don’t allow customers to give up their dream of an overseas trip without a comparative quote.
Leverage our collective strengths
It’s imperative to highlight the value of any product you sell and to compare apples with apples. Consult thoroughly, ensure that you understand your customer’s needs and the ins and outs the product you are matching them to. Don’t risk losing a sale by providing insufficient detail. Travellers expect expert product knowledge from their travel agent.
TTC also has fantastic early payment discounts for all guests and loyalty savings for repeat customers across all The Travel Corporation brands. Take advantage of this and know how to leverage our flexible payment terms to seal the deal. For example, TTC’s rand price guarantee is a major bonus. Clients only need to settle the balance of their trip after paying a deposit 45 days before departure – a huge drawcard.
Testimonials are another effective sales tool. To TTC, they’re more important than ever. Our Feefo rating systems allow agents and potential travellers to see genuine reviews and feedback before committing to a booking.
It’s apparent that more alternative destinations, which are not overrun with tourists, are thriving. However, TTC expects to see good demand for our traditional top-sellers and mainstream destinations during the off-peak seasons.
Aware of these and other sustainable tourism trends, Trafalgar is promoting ‘new’ destinations. We’re also emphasising off-peak travel to help customers save on costs and combat over-tourism which does our industry no favours.
Portugal, Turkey, Eastern Europe and Ireland are a few of the hotspots we see trending. However, agents can expect some destinations, such as Iceland, could be less popular due to the overall cost and over-tourism concerns.
Travellers have grown increasingly conscious of who they book and travel with. Let’s use that to our advantage in 2020.
About the author: Teresa Richardson is the Managing Director at The Travel Corporation in South Africa. For more information visit https://ttc.com/