Opportunities for Travel Companies, in spite of high costs due to Covid induced changes.
Rare chance that you would come across a travel company, of any size in any country, who has not suffered due to almost zero business, staff layoffs and yet to pay the high operating costs.
As Covid cases reduce or rather the severity goes down, many countries are opening up with caution, to allow tourism business recover the losses sustained over 2 years of lockdowns. Some countries like UK have removed all Covid related travel restrictions, and Mexico, Brazil, France, India, Turkey, UAE have reported better May 2022 Travel/Tourism business as compared to pre-Covid for the same month in 2019.
While globally, business travel returns, majority of travelers are still apprehensive about travel risks and frequent changes in Covid rules by many countries. China for example still remains out of bound for international arrivals. Hong Kong, another major tourist destination in Asia, has very limited flight connectivity and all arrivals must do with mandatory 7 nights quarantine. This quarantine has to be done in few governments designated hotels which are booked for months in advance and always in short supply.
The calls inflow to Emergency Travel Desk & Customer Support of travel firms has increased exponentially – the availability of limited and qualified manpower has hampered the efficiency and customer service levels of most of the travel firms. On top of that the amount of time per call being spent by qualified travel counselors in handling these client queries, does not allow the travel counselors to convert new queries into sales thus depriving the travel firm of the much-needed revenue.
As predicted by many research firms, even during pandemic, that Emergency Travel Desk or Customer Support Outsourcing will increase to countries like India due to capability of India to leverage its vast English speaking work force and pricing arbitrage that enables them to offer Travel BPO services.
Last minute flight cancellations of airlines by various governments on account of non-compliance by passengers on mask usage or the crew reporting Covid Positive at short notice has further enhanced the problems for travel firms on managing rescheduling, reissuance while they themselves are short staffed. Thus TMC Operations outsourcing to India seems like a viable option. Not only does it give a free hand to the travel firm management to focus on their core business of sales and client retainership, but also brings in verifiable savings on their operational costs.
24/7 After Hours Support for US travel company from India seems like a very workable and win-win options for both the parties. Especially we don’t yet know the long-term effects of people who have suffered Covid in any of the waves across various nations. One medical study estimates that around 9-10% of people may have long term effects from Covid infection.
So, its not only travel industry in US or UK or Europe that will have clients asking for special assistance or have long phone call conversations – this is going to happen across all industries. The calls related to long term Covid effects could be requests for Portable Oxygen generators in the cabin, or wheel chair requests will go up as people who are breathless may not be able to walk fairly long distances between the gate and immigration or customs formalities. Another situation that many airlines are facing, that a Covid negative passenger has turned Covid positive at the destination during random testing.
While all of above-mentioned situations are not under a Travel Company’s scope or control, yet the demand from passengers definitely comes to the travel company 24×7 Customer Support center whether in their home country or the 24/7 After Hours Support center in countries like India. From financial perspective, the travel company in US who is outsourcing its operational activities saves a lot on its operating costs while keeping customers happy.
As travel companies, all over, are waiting to get their hands on the business pie of huge pent-up travel demand – it is imperative for them to get their house in order as there are huge concern over customer service and after sales support as the Travel Industry ended up laying off huge numbers in order to survive the Covid lockdown, now finding qualified and experienced travel counselors is a challenge and many of these people do not want to return to the industry after having gone thru very stressful and challenging times. So the case for outsourcing assumes more significance as it enables the travel companies in US or Europe to increase/decrease the customer support or reservations agent based on the work flow and demand.
Customer Support or After Hours support Outsourcing to India and other nations is here to stay and TMC Operations outsourcing will see huge jump as Covid relaxes and travel picks up momentum.
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