The travel industry is constantly evolving, and a trend that has emerged in recent years is the demand for flexible package tours.
Flexible packaging in the travel industry is becoming increasingly important; today’s travellers are looking for the ability to customise their trips according to their own specific needs and preferences.
Tour operators are turning to flexible packaging tools in order to meet this demand and to create more personalised travel experiences for their customers.
But what is flexible packaging, how can tour operators use it, and what are the best dynamic packaging tools on the market?
We briefly talked with Meredith Thomas, Nezasa’s Sales Director for UK and Ireland, to get her insights on what exactly the market is demanding of technology providers.
From her talks with partners, customers and prospects, it is clear that flexible packaging is the way to the future. Read on to find out more.
The demand for increased flexibility in the Travel Industry
Since the pandemic, flexibility has become one of the top priorities for travellers, and this trend is only set to continue.
Today’s travellers are looking for experiences rather than a one-size-fits-all package, as well as the ability to mix and match different aspects of their trip in order to create a custom itinerary that better fits their needs.
Despite many travellers opting to book their trips independently, according to Skift, travel agencies have become more important than ever over the past few years, with huge industry disruptions such as the Covid-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine, and staff shortages causing havoc on travel plans. Travel agencies offer customers peace of mind and remove the hassle of planning complex itineraries.
“Travel companies want to offer the best shopping experience to their clients. But travel advisors are stretched. So giving travellers the ability to interact with the advisors and make some choices themselves is crucial”, says Meredith.
Travel companies must adapt their packages to fit with the new era of travel and to meet the level of flexibility and personalisation that travellers are looking for. While at the same time speeding up their own booking processes.
“While engaging with the market, it is clear that there are a number of ways to increase flexibility in the industry. One obvious trend and one of the most requested of us as a technology provider is the ability to implement dynamic tour packages into the offerings. It is a perfect chance to free time from teams working on creating tours while giving power to the end consumer. So it serves every player involved”.
“Pick and Mix” travel packages
Pick and mix travel packages, or flexible packages, allow travel agents to create custom tour packages for their customers by combining various travel elements from different suppliers such as flights, accommodation, activities and experiences.
These types of tour packages may be in the form of pre-designed itineraries that can be modified or created from scratch, allowing travellers to choose the level of flexibility and personalisation they desire.
“This means putting the right tools in the hands of the traveller, who’s benefiting from experts’ recommendations while adjusting the trip to their specific priorities.”
Pick and mix tour packages have an array of benefits for both tour operators and their customers, including increased opportunities for revenue, growth and increased customer satisfaction. Mainly on this last point, Meredith highlights the importance of integrating the traveller into the process:
“We are speeding up the design process, offering the ideal trip and getting customers engaged in the process. After all, their choices are what matters the most here. And by serving them with their exact wishes, companies are closer to sell”.
Differences between flexible packaging and static packaging
Static tour packages are itineraries that are created with a fixed price, components and suppliers, whereas flexible package tours may have variable components that can be modified according to a customer’s needs or preferences.
By offering only static or fixed tour packages, tour operators are missing out on a huge opportunity. It is clear that offering more flexibility is no longer an option for travel brands, and those who adapt their products and services now are the ones who will get ahead.
On this point, Meredith adds that there is not one right way to position yourself in the market. But having the right tools on your side to serve multiple use cases is helping companies increase revenue and close the gap with their competitors.
“It’s not that one offering choice is better than the other at this point. But we’re clearly seeing that the industry is moulding into having multiple silos of the market under one umbrella. To achieve this, most companies still lack the right technology and technical support. Our job here is to present our ideal customers with the solution we already have: one tool to achieve all of this”.
What are the best dynamic packaging tools for Travel Agencies and Tour Operators?
Dynamic packaging technology offers an automated solution that allows companies to easily create flexible tour packages, saving time and money and allowing travel brands to better meet their customers’ needs.
There are a number of dynamic packaging tools for travel agencies on the market. Some of them include:
Nezasa’s TripBuilder software is the most efficient and user-friendly dynamic packaging tool on the market.
“Part of our mission in the Sales team is to get these valuable insights from the market and report back to our Product teams. We talk to prospects every day, meet these companies at events and tradeshows. They are telling us exactly what they are looking for.”
And exactly what is the market telling us about the Nezasa case?
“That the effort we continuously put into improving our flexible packaging capabilities is time well spent. It is more than a request from the industry, it is the way to grow”.
The demand for increased flexibility in package tours will continue to increase. Tour operators that embrace dynamic packaging tools will be better prepared to meet the evolving needs and preferences of today’s travellers while also increasing their revenue and profit margins.
You can learn more about how Nezasa is achieving this right here.