As a travel consultant, fully meeting the needs of your customers is paramount to your success. And rapidly changing options and programs in the travel industry can make it challenging.
As airlines attempt to create product options that meet customer needs and generate profit, the number of available options continues to take off. The subtle differences in all these new options, however, can leave business flyers paying for services they may not need — or left at the gate without a seat.
Understanding how a client thinks versus the pricing plans airlines offer will provide travel management companies (TMCs) a way to stand out. Your ability to embrace and manage this travel complexity can set you apart in the eyes of your customer.
Business model evolution
The airline industry has evolved into two distinct models: bundled and unbundled fares and services.
First, they bundle services together as packages that businesses can select to get the features that are important to them. Does the traveler frequently change their original booking prior to actually departing? Then a bundled fare that does not charge change fees might be the right option. Is the traveler likely to check luggage? Finding the fare bundle for this traveler that includes checked bags is the way to go.
To add a service to the bundle, the customer will likely need to pay for anything that isn’t included, just like adding a sun roof when ordering a car if it isn’t included in a package.
On the other hand, ancillary pricing adds more complexity to the equation. Essentially, a traveler can pick and choose the experience they want à la carte. But that creates a challenge making sure each person within an organization flies the way they prefer at a price the business is willing to pay.
Clients don’t care about the subtle differences in these pricing plans. Their needs haven’t changed much over the years, even as these plans grow in complexity.
Solve these 3 needs
Focus on solving these needs with the right information by understanding the pricing options. That way, you can serve your clients well.
#1 -> I want what I want, when I want it
When customers turn to a TMC, they expect to get exactly what they want. Personalize their experience to match them with the flight that lands them when they need it with all the amenities they prefer. It’s up to the TMC to find the flight model that also works for the budget.
#2 -> I want to understand the costs
With all these different pricing options, the final bill could make some flyers jump in shock. By understanding how the different pricing models work, you can provide the flyer with a clear, detailed explanation of the bottom line. It’s value the consultant can provide in hard numbers.
#3 -> I want it fast
Clients’ time is strapped. They don’t care about how the process works to get them their perfect flight. They just want it in their hands without waiting. Knowledgeable TMCs can provide the service faster, letting clients go on with their day.
While your job may be more complicated with airlines’ sophisticated pricing models, the customers’ needs have remained the same. Providing them with what they want ensures they can take to the air, then return to you the next time they book a flight.