“New online services challenge intermediaries in every sector – that’s a fact. They grow large customer bases, they have international reach and they tend to be very convenient. It happened to travel too, often in a disruptive way. We began to see the first signals around 2008, when, for example, our suppliers became competitors by directly reaching out to our customers too.”
This is Marc Lambert talking. Owner of travel boutique tour operator Antipodes Voyages, a medium-sized leisure travel specialist based in Brussels with a specialisation in arranging trips to the other side of the world.
“It was surprising, since our new competitors weren’t all traditional travel or tourism players.”
We’re 2016 now. Antipodes Voyages is standing strong. And Mr. Lambert is so kind to share his insights into how he adapted by teaming up with us. At the heart of the cooperation is the myANTIPODES travel app which delivers personal travel info to customers and prospects at every stage of their journey.
“Looking at the number of people who have downloaded our app, we’re off for a strong start”, says Marc.
But how did Antipodes Voyages get there? A trip in 5 key insights.
Insight 1: guard your reputation
“The first thing we did was protect our name, our brand. We had worked very hard to build a solid reputation as a true specialist in our niche, and we did not want to give that away. So Antipodes Voyages® is now protected as a European trademark. It stands for our knowledge of our destinations and the quality of our service. And its ours now.”
Insight 2: do what you do best, but do it digitally too
“What we have always done is share our expertise with our customers to create unique voyages, really matching with what our traveller is looking for. Personalisation and service are crucial. That has not changed fundamentally.”
“Only, we have translated our approach into a digital version. The myANTIPODES app is there for travellers at every stage of their journey: from research and inspiration to taking your flight and enjoying your holiday.”
“Based on your preferences you get a matching page with custom information in different languages. This level of personalisation is crucial in capturing a traveller’s attention and keeping it – it makes you relevant as travel service provider and you get the chance to show your expertise and make a difference.”
“That’s how we can turn someone looking for information into a customer who books with us. And once he or she’s with us, we can start upselling.”
Insight 3: be where your travellers are
“If travellers are looking for online services, we should be there too. This includes mobile, obviously. That’s why our services are available on mobile devices – on any device, really. People can now book how and where they want.”
“With our app, we’re there for customers during their journey with relevant information and booking options. We take their stress away, let them book what they want, provide extra service ànd we get to push the quality services we prefer along the way, like hotels, events or restaurants.”
“This means we’re not limited to our physical location anymore. Just like our online competitors, we can now reach out to anyone – anywhere – who’s interested in going to the places we know so well.”
Insight 4: do what you do best and stick to it
“For a travel specialist like ours with 12 employees, implementing technology at this level is quite an investment. But it pays off, because we can focus on doing what we do best. We leave maintenance to Amadeus. We don’t have to worry about whether our app works on this or that kind of phone, or whether the data are up-to-date – that’s been taken care of by our partner.”
“This goes for data too. Amadeus will provide us with a detailed analysis of the data we’re gathering. Then it’s up to us again to use that info and take action”.
Insight 5: make it future-proof
“This is a big step for us, but that does not mean we’re there yet. We’re already seeing new opportunities for the near future. The app’s now suited for inspiration and bookings – but we’re aiming to be there for travellers along the entire journey, including the moment they board their plane, for example. We’re not there yet, but we know the choices we have made today will make this possible later on. It’s built in.”
The myANTIPODES travel app
Travel IT in practice
Experiences from other Amadeus Benelux customers?
How can we make travel IT work for your agency?
portrait picture Marc Lambert by Gerrit Op de Beeck
Care to link up?Find Marc Lambert on LinkedIn here.