During her keynote speech to G20 tourism ministers, Gloria Guevara said that action is needed to save millions of jobs
Gloria Guevara, president and CEO of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) gave an opening keynote speech at the G20 tourism ministers’ meeting, as they gathered to discuss the G20 Rome Guidelines for the Future of Tourism.
WTTC said the unprecedented Covid-19 crisis has had a devastating impact on travel and tourism and that clear rules and a protocol to restart international mobility will be crucial to its long-term sustainable recovery.
It urged that action was needed now to save millions of jobs throughout the sector, which depend upon the immediate resumption of international travel, but that there would not be a sustainable and resilient future, unless there was recovery from the crisis.
Gloria Guevara said: “The guidelines address the importance of sustainability, safe mobility and how we collectively manage future crises while maintaining our resilience and focusing on the digital transition to enable a more seamless travel experience. These priorities are aligned with those of the private sector.
“However, we must not lose sight of the fact that we are not out of the crisis yet, and urgent action is needed now to save the 62 million jobs lost globally last year, with many millions more still at risk.
“During this important meeting, WTTC highlighted the devasting impact Covid-19 has had on our sector, with its contribution to global GDP dropping a staggering 49.1 per cent last year, compared to the overall global economy which dropped by just 3.7 per cent. Furthermore, this incredibly important sector suffered a loss of almost US$4.5 trillion.
“We need clear rules and agreements among countries to safely restore international mobility, which will in turn enable the return of safe international travel and bring back millions of jobs. It will also protect a sector which will be instrumental in powering the global economic recovery.
“The private sector remains committed to working with the public sector to ensure a swift recovery, which has been significantly boosted by the vaccine rollout. However, there is still much work to be done with many parts of the world still suffering from the pandemic.
“WTTC’s recent Global Summit in Cancun has proven that international travel can safely resume with a combination of vaccines, comprehensive and cost-effective testing, enhanced health and hygiene measures and mandatory mask wearing.”
WTTC thanked Italy, G20 Chair, for their leadership and for including the private sector in this important platform, as well as acknowledging Saudi Arabia, who held the G20 Presidency in 2020, and recognised the importance of working with the tourism private sector in the declaration.
WTTC also recognised the Ministers of Argentina, France, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Singapore, Spain, the UK, the US and the EU for their strong partnership with the private sector and particularly with WTTC.
Simon Powell, CEO of Inspiretec, on how technology can help the industry bounce back
Travel has been in my blood for as long as I can remember as my family owned a chain of high street travel agencies and a call centre in Wales. I love everything about travel and the opportunities it offers, but this pandemic has challenged us all beyond belief.
As an industry we’ve dealt with many crises over the years that have hit bookings hard, but no one could have imagined the sheer scale of the impact the last 12 months has had on travel. However agents, operators and other travel businesses both big and small have shown their resilience. We’ve stood together and, while there are still so many questions to be answered, the roadmap is in place and I do believe better days are ahead.
With domestic travel now opening up and the hope that non-essential international travel will resume soon, I am certain that the industry will be even more competitive than in previous years. As we look to the future, the need to drive efficiencies will be key as agents look to make their businesses as cost-effective as possible to maximise their bottom line.
Therefore, it is crucial for agents to consider how to engage with and retain new and existing customers. I know from experience that many businesses tend to plan interactions in a way that suits them, rather than personalising their communications to best suit the customer’s needs. It’s a small change to the way we interact, but it can make a real difference.
A customer relationship management (CRM) system is designed to give retail agents a single view of their customers in one place, so they know what they are searching and enquiring about, what they are booking and when, across all channels. There are many options for agents to choose from in the market, including our own TheTravelCRM, which we have designed specifically to meet the needs of the travel industry, rather than taking multi-sector approach.
For agents, having information about their customers such as demographics, previous holidays and typical spend all in one place can create a really strong overview to help them refine their sales strategy and make that all important booking. In short, these insights ensure agents are as efficient as possible when communicating with their customers.
Having a strong understanding of your customer and their previous search and booking history is an incredibly powerful tool to have when pitching the right products and prices to match their requirements.
Another benefit of a CRM system is its time saving capabilities. Often the administration tasks behind a booking – such as pre-departure emails and welcome home surveys – can be very time consuming for staff members. Having these jobs automated by software allows agents to become more efficient and gives them more time to focus on selling and generating income.
As the industry bounces back, many travel agents’ budgets will be tighter than ever before. Operating efficiently, managing staff workflows and using a CRM system to their advantage will be vital for businesses to succeed.
No one wishes to live through another year like 2020, but I truly believe we are on the right road out of the pandemic. After such an unsettling year, the reassurance and service that agents provide will be more important than ever. I am confident they will flourish if equipped with the right tools to add value to every customer’s experience.
Inspiretec is offering ABTA travel agent members the chance to sign up for a FREE, no obligation four-month trial of its travel specific CRM system. Agents should visit https://www.thetravelcrm.com and be sure to include ‘ABTA’ in the offer code field.