Supplier of specialised web-based software for DMCs, Nextour, is to launch free online Master Classes and webinars for travel consultants, enabling them to convert their destination experience into sales and e-Tourism and/or digital travel marketing.
“Nextour’s vision is to share its knowledge (technological and business) by offering several sales workshop offerings to travel consultants. This is a powerful and impactful way to become a better salesperson or product manager,” said Frédéric Fronteddu, Co-Founder and CEO of Nextour.
He pointed out that technology in the travel industry had never been more important to tourism businesses since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. “We have noticed that the most resilient and optimistic teams are taking full advantage of this time available to them to prepare and structurally rebuild themselves.”
Fronteddu said that during the pandemic the tourism industry had come to fully realise that you couldn’t put a price on travel agents’ service. An agent works several days on a file, creates, (re)quotes and changes the dates few times to finally reimburse the traveller in full.
“It is unsatisfactory to see that, across the supply chain, industry experts have worked for nothing and no value is attached to their expertise and all these hours of hard labour,” he said.
Over the past four months Nextour has recorded an increase of 63% in requests from tourism professionals seeking solutions to optimise by refocusing to utilise know-how to add value for travellers.
“In other words, get rid of the recurring time-consuming duties and focus on having their valuable time to converted into turnover,” explained Fronteddu.
Long recovery ahead
But he is mindful that, aside from marginal FITs – who will start earlier – the inbound industry will have to adjust to the idea that it will have to wait to around Q3/Q4 2021 before receiving a semblance of volume (such as groups, tour series and MICE events).
“The airlines – whose projections are that it will take about five years to get back to figures close to those in 2019 – tally with the results of our surveys conducted with customers, tech partners and suppliers on three different continents.”
In the meantime, companies will no longer be able to continue burn unnecessary fuel. This is even true for Europe, where companies can access state-subsidised loans at zero-interest rates and benefit from aid to cover most of the salaries. Regrettably for some, the only way out will be to file for bankruptcy.
Fronteddu is on the same page with many in the industry where he believes government should guarantee that the borders will not close as this could be the first step to reassure freedom of movement to people.
“Travellers are more anxious about being stuck in a foreign country or losing their booking deposits than of the virus itself, as none of the European travel insurance companies will refund them in the case of border closure or imposed quarantine,” he said.
However, the Nextour team is still positive on the inbound travel outlook for the next few years as well as for the future of travel tech and is therefore extending free premium membership of Nextour until the end of December. Free membership was first introduced in March this year.
“This situation led us to the conclusion that, unfortunately, the cost of human resources corresponding to the skills of the destination is too high. And in the technology sector in which I have been invested for years, we are seeing a strong demand for task automation so that human resources can focus mainly on product and sales,” said Fronteddu.
Nextour will announce soon where candidates will be able to apply for the free online training courses.