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Travel agencies to explore dynamics of ‘new normal’

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Bernard Bankole

Travel agencies in the country have been advised to leverage more on fresh opportunities of the COVID-19 era to survive the business downturn.

Group Managing Director of Finchglow Group, Bankole Bernard, at a virtual trade partners’ forum in Lagos, highlighted some trends that people in the travel market should expect. He also identified ways to position trade partners for better business in 2021.

Bernard said 2020 was indeed a turbulent year for the travel industry due to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

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“One way or the other, our businesses have felt the impact of the pandemic but we must not lose hope, rather, we must keep hope alive and open up to opportunities around us,” Bernard said.

He said one of the emerging trends is in ancillary services. He noted that travel agencies need to step up their game both in the use of technology, in creating new experiences and ideas.

“We need to begin to look inward by focusing on ancillary services during and post COVID-19 era. We need to begin to sell beyond tickets. The COVID test is something we should sell and encourage travellers to take because it is now a mandatory travel requirement for most countries. More than ever before, this is the time we need to encourage travellers to buy travel insurance,” Bernard said.

Group Chief Operating Officer (GCOO) of Finchglow Group, Ezekiel Ikotun, added that travel during and beyond the COVID-19 would focus more on the process, people and technology.

Ikotun noted that the mode of travel had changed drastically, “some airlines have cut down on in-flight catering, while some have blocked the middle seats in order to ensure the safety of passengers.”

He said embedded in the trends were fresh opportunities for travel partners to explore.

Abiola Omosinmi of Amadeus encouraged trade partners to embrace the New Distribution Capability (NDC), which is essentially an XML standard created by the International Air Transportation Association (IATA) to allow airline service providers to deliver rich content and ancillaries to their customers.

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