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Why airlines need travel agents in times of disruption

May Inkersole

Senior Manager, Airline Distribution Marketing, Amadeus IT Group

Travel disruption is costly and puts tremendous strain on airline resources in both the front line and behind the scenes. But for travellers it’s more than that – it’s personal. It’s a missed business meeting or another night away from home at the end of a long business trip.  Ultimately, customers don’t care who solves the problem, they just want it solved regardless of its origin.

For airlines, airports and travel agencies, collaboration during times of disruption is a win-win-win: every party can benefit from a swift and effective resolution that keeps their customers happy.

So how exactly can travel agencies support airlines specifically in times of disruption? Arlene Coyle, Director of Managed Travel at Amadeus, talks in this video about the unique sharing of information between airlines and travel agencies and how this proactive and end-to-end approach is particularly key in the corporate travel segment.

 
 

Times of disruption are emotionally hyper-charged – they are key moments of truth for airline-traveller relationships. At no other time is the airline under more pressure and customer loyalty more challenged. And we can see in other consumer-industries that nearly 40% of the customers that don’t get the attention they need, are likely never to return.

It’s precisely at these times that the travel agency can be a natural and an invaluable extension of an airline’s own customer services team. As part of the chain reaction that occurs with disruption, by working on behalf of the airline to provide a solution before the customer even needs to get to the queue at the airport ticket desk, travel agencies are critical.

In times of disruption, all customer-facing parties must work seamlessly so travellers are more likely to be better informed and more confident that their needs are being taken into consideration and that a solution is on the horizon.

 
There are moments of truth that can be pivotal in a customer/business relationship. These are highly emotional interactions that endure in the customer's memory over time and directly affect loyalty.”
           McKinsey & Co, “The Moment of Truth in Customer Service”

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