SINGAPORE, 7 October 2020: Forecasting the shape and
recovery of the travel industry is almost impossible, but a new report, The
Travel Consultant of Tomorrow, shows that 50% of business leaders in the travel
industry regard people as the most critical success factor.

Amadeus released details of its latest study this week
arguing that while technology is offering new frontiers, people continue to be
at the heart of customer experience.

However, the Covid-19 crisis has accelerated the need to
enhance workforce skills. Even before the current crisis, new technologies and
ways of working were disrupting jobs and the skills employees needed to do

In 2019, the ILO Global Commission on the Future of Work
stated, “Today’s skills will not match the jobs of tomorrow, and newly
acquired skills may quickly become obsolete.”

In the travel agency workforce, more than one-third of
business leaders (35%) said that competencies, recruiting and retaining the
right talent were their biggest concern.

Many travel agencies said they struggle to find people with
the right technical skills to build, implement and manage new technology,
alongside uniquely human abilities such as creative thinking and

In a travel era defined by rapid change and ongoing
disruption, travel agencies will need to ensure their workforce has the right
skills and technology to compete and deliver better journeys. AI and automation
will see the role of the travel agent become more dynamic, as the World
Economic Forum describes, “Personal travel assistants who are partially data
scientists, partially lifestyle gurus.”

The Amadeus study touches on four critical areas where the
travel workforce will need to reskill.

Evolve from being travel bookers to travel consultants

The rapid adoption of AI and smart technology will see
travel agents evolve from being travel bookers to well-rounded travel
consultants. In Amadeus’ report, 46% of business leaders will invest in
automation over the next five years, followed by dynamic pricing (35%) and
mobile strategy (35%).

These technologies will free up travel consultants to spend
less time on simple tasks such as office administration and booking flights and
offer more personalized support to travellers or businesses. The travel
consultant of the future will need to provide expert, specialist advice, be
able to navigate technology, and develop a regular rapport with clients.

Master the fundamentals of travel and digital technology

Having the right blend of technology skills throughout the
travel agency workforce will be crucial, particularly when we consider the role
technology has played during the pandemic. Through real-time data and travel
technology tools, travel agents have been able to deal with massive reschedules
and cancellations of tickets, while providing immediate and personalized
customer service.

As technical skills become highly valued to travel agency
businesses, travel consultants will need to have a greater understanding of
coding for their website and apps, analyzing traveller data for risk management
and planning, and digital marketing to connect with online consumers. Social
media skills training should be conducted for all customer-facing teams, not
just the marketing department.

Build adaptability and resilience to manage disruptions

The Covid-19 pandemic has shown how critical it is to plan
and prepare for disruptions. Travel consultants will be expected to have access
to the latest border control guidelines, safety protocols at the destination
and onsite cleanliness updates for the hotels and services they’re arranging.

Strengthen emotional skills to foster stronger customer relationships

In these challenging times, a differentiator for travel
agencies is the ability to connect with customers on an emotional level. For
travel consultants, this means being seen as more than a “travel-booker”, by
honing in on interpersonal skills to listen and connect with what matters most
to travellers.

About Insights for the New World of Travel

To navigate the new era of travel, Amadeus has prepared a
series of reports that looks at ‘Insights for the New World of Travel’,
highlighting strategic areas for travel sellers to consider. In the latest
report, it highlights how consultants are the heart and soul of the travel agencies
and empowering them with next-generation technology tools can help deliver
better traveller journeys.

For more insights from our report, download the study on travel consultants of tomorrow here.

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