Travel insights from Luke Gibson, director of VAX VacationAccess

Technology in the Spotlight in 2018

The importance of technology in the everyday lives of travel professionals cannot be overstated, and this past quarter at Travel Weekly’s CruiseWorld, technology took center stage with Trisept Solutions as a presenting sponsor. Today, agents must not only keep up with but stay ahead of the technology that their current and potential customers are leveraging across the vacation planning experience.

VAX VacationAccess is now nearing 20 years old, and as many of you know, we recently went through a bit of a metamorphosis and completed our third redesign this past spring. We like to think of ourselves as a 20-year-old startup, and when you think about what was happening 20 years ago to around the year 2000, you start to see how far we have come in such a short time, and how far ahead Trisept was at the point of launch.

In 2000, home entertainment systems were video tape based and dial-up internet was high-tech. MySpace was the leading social platform and would debut that year, and perhaps most surprising, the first generation iPod (not iPhone…iPod) wouldn’t debut for nearly two years.

Embracing technology was definitely a major theme from the biggest CruiseWorld event yet, but we see that as a trend across every touch point for travel agents and the travel agency model, including both media as well as events.

The Mobile Migration has been a real game changer in the travel space. How consumers engage with brands is also driven in large part to the ease of using technology, and how customers do business with agents is no different. If it’s tough to book, it’s a no for many customers.

So what does that mean for you? How can you simplify the booking process for YOUR customers? As we move into 2019, you should be asking yourself a few simple questions.

  • Is your business ready to keep up with the technological demands of your customer?
  • How do you keep up with technology, and with advancements in technology?
  • Is your agency business ready to evolve alongside technology with you as the master and technology as the servant?
  • Have you made a commitment to be a leader in technology in this industry?
  • Most importantly, what value do you provide that is more important than any technology?

To thrive tomorrow, travel sellers need to go well beyond a customer’s travel preferences. They need to gain a better understanding of how people live their lives and how they interact with the world around them. They need to engage with customers on a personal level and feel the great emotional investment people make in their vacation, where so much reward is expected in return. After all, who but the travel professional can gain the insight that comes from knowing a customer’s fondest dream? Who but the travel professional can plan a truly complex vacation for tomorrow’s more sophisticated traveler?

At VAX we believe that 2019 will be an exciting year for agents, especially for those who stay up to speed on current technology trends. We encourage you to check back and navigate to The Compass to stay up-to-date on all trends, including technology, destinations, and very soon, additional contributors to help you navigate the many facets of our constantly evolving industry.

We hope you enjoy looking back on a few of our most-read articles focused on technology from 2018.

Happy New Year!

About the Author

Luke Gibson Headshot

With more than 18 years of business experience in brand marketing, media and sales development, Luke has tackled issues across multiple categories of business including travel, automotive, technology, luxury retail, media, e-Commerce and manufacturing. His breadth of experience across consumer direct, wholesale and e-Commerce distribution channels makes him an effective omni-channel thinker.  Luke currently serves as Managing Director of VAX VacationAccess.

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