Travel agents need to adopt technology in order to succeed in the trade and further boost the travel industry.
This came out in discussions during the 2019 KATA Convention where technology and changing trends were the main topics of discussion amongst the industry players.
Annual Convention saw a host of speakers, both local and international, talk about the changes and trends taking over the industry. They all concurred on the need for a travel agent to embrace the changes as a way of boosting the trade.
KATA Chairman Mr. Mohammed Wanyoike noted that digitization is one of the biggest disrupts in the travel industry. He urged travel agents to offer personalized services to their clients by use of the latest technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI), Immersive Visual Technology like Augmented Reality (AR) and Mixed Reality (MR) to capture the hearts of their travelers.
“This has been a major challenge for travel agents where some clients prefer to book their travel and accommodation for themselves. This has led to travel agents strategizing and coming up with ways of keeping their clients happy through a personalized approach. To date, almost 90% of travelers worldwide admit that the standard traveling process is not enough any longer,” he said.
Keynote speaker Mr. Yossi Fatael pointed out that travel agents face a lot of challenges in the course of their duties including safety and security issues, lack of proper infrastructure, government and regulatory restraints and climate change.
Other challenges affecting the delivery of growth include high taxes and supplier costs, control of data and digitization, airline inefficiencies and commoditization of airline products. Lack of skilled staff and customer experience issues were also listed as major challenges.
For future development of the industry, Mr. Yossi added, travel agents, need to, among other things adopt digital transformation, boost customer experience and embrace data management.
The convention was attended by over 200 delegates. Among them was Salome Wambua, a Mombasa travel agent who stated that she hopes to learn about the new changes in the industry and the future of the travel trade so as to remain abreast during the two-day event.
Also in attendance was Nakuru County Governor Lee Kinyanjui who assured travel agents of his support as he congratulated the association for attaining 40 years since inception. Others in attendance were Kenya Airways CEO Sebastian Mikosz and Raphael Kuuchi, the IATA Special Envoy on Aero-political affairs, Bernard Bankole, President of the National Association of Nigerian Travel Agents (NANTA) among others.
The KATA Convention is an annual forum that brings together travel professionals from the travel ecosystem which include travel agents, airlines, travel technology companies, regulators, financial institutions, insurance companies, training institutions among others to caucus on matters related to the industry and share knowledge and experiences. It offers participants a great platform for socializing and networking with colleagues in the industry. The theme for this year’s event is “Travel in Transition: Re-imagining the future of Kenya’s travel industry.”