ROSEMONT, IL--(Marketwire - Jan 23, 2013) - ABC Global Services, an industry-leading travel services provider for consultants and travel agencies worldwide, today shared its predictions for the key trends that will shape the travel services industry in 2013. The year ahead, which offers growth opportunities for travel advisors, will include increased focus on value-added hotel amenities, niche travel options, online tools, social media and other trends that will continue to change the travel industry landscape in 2013 and beyond.
"We're expecting a promising year for travel advisors in 2013," said Beverlee Patterson, president, ABC Global Services. "In today's highly competitive marketplace, corporate and leisure travelers want a specialized experience, hotel amenities and value-added services, and the personalized support that only professional travel advisors can provide. Today's travel advisors have powerful booking engines with comprehensive resources at their fingertips so they can not only meet, but exceed, all of their travelers' expectations."
Based on its insights from its more than 30 years servicing travel professionals, ABC Global Services identified the following trends shaping travel services this year:
- A focus on value-added services: As the travel industry increasingly becomes more competitive, hotels are working harder to differentiate themselves and gain market share, and travelers are benefiting. A key trend that is growing in 2013 is the inclusion of complimentary, value-added benefits, such as free breakfast, airport transportation, guaranteed upgrades and free Internet access. These amenities are giving innovative hotels an edge, and adding to the overall value that travel agents are providing for clients.
- Growing niche specialties: The focus on servicing niche markets is a trend that's continuing to grow. Travel professionals with specific expertise in luxury travel, eco travel or safaris, for example, are increasing in number and growing their businesses. By specializing in certain markets, these professionals are developing specific relationships and expertise, and providing unmatched value, amenities and unique offers that their counterparts with a broader focus may not be able to match. According to a study from travel research firm, PhoCusWright, three in four leisure travel storefront consultants and more than nine in ten home-based consultants have some type of professional specialization, such as cruise, group travel or weddings and honeymoons1.
- Growth of online tools and technology: To keep up with the growing demand for the travel experience that travelers want, travel advisors will increasingly turn to advanced technologies. A powerful booking engine that provides a comprehensive resource of multiple rate options in one tool, for example, enables these professionals to continue delighting their clients with the best value and fit for their needs.
- Social media is on the rise: Social media will play an increasing role as travel advisors reach out to broader audiences to grow their businesses. Expect to see more marketing activity, such as e-newsletters, blogs, and Facebook campaigns as travel professionals engage customers and prospects in a two-way dialogue and offer up-to-the-minute travel information, personalized messages or ideas for one-of-a-kind destination spots.
- Relationships are king: Relationships are more important than ever in the travel industry. Expect to see increased focus on relationship building and loyalty programs that reward frequent travelers or those who refer a friend, with exclusive offers for cost savings or extra amenities.
ABC Global Services
With more than three decades of travel industry leadership, ABC Global Services offers comprehensive hotel solutions in thousands of cities and unmatched personalized service and support to travel consultants worldwide. The company leverages its established relationships and buying power with hotels and related suppliers around the world to provide travel professionals with preferred access to superior services, inventory, and rates, which are available through innovative solutions, such as ezBook by ABC, the industry's most complete hotel booking engine. ABC's customer base includes more than 7,000 agency locations throughout 76 countries worldwide and spans traditional mid-sized agencies, agency groups, independent agents, and corporate travel departments -- in both corporate and leisure markets. The company books more than six-million room nights annually, providing hotel revenues close to one billion dollars (USD). ABC's dedicated team of professionals is not only committed to helping travel advisors successfully grow their businesses, but it also serves as a trusted partner and distribution channel for hoteliers and other travel-related suppliers worldwide. More information can be found at www.abcglobal.travel.
(1) The Once and Future Agent: PhoCusWright's Travel Agency Distribution Landscape 2009-2013, March 2012