The pandemic has given us all time to think about how we can do things better. Whether it’s balancing office and home working, picking up new hobbies or ditching some of our bad habits, we’ve all had space to reflect on how we can improve.
The same is true in business. The global pandemic is forcing businesses in all sectors to rethink their business models. In the post-COVID world, companies must find ways to increase efficiency while remembering what makes them special, reducing costs, while focusing on valuable tasks such as finding new business and building customer relationships. It’s a juggling act, so how do you get this balance right?
We believe that Outsourcing is part of the answer. In our experience, a capable Outsourcing provider can help businesses work smarter and refocus internal energies on growing.
The global travel industry has been hit particularly hard over the last year. It has been incredibly difficult for travel businesses to manage and allocate resources in such a rapidly changing environment. Travel businesses have been forced to re-imagine and restructure their businesses to survive in the short term, while planning for a return to growth in the future.
Over the last few weeks, we have seen positive signs of an upturn in enquiries and forward bookings. With vaccine programmes moving forward and restrictions beginning to lift in many parts of the world, we are seeing real signs of pent-up demand for leisure travel.
Discussions with our clients have highlighted how Outsourcing can help travel businesses manage through this uncertain period and prepare for the increase in demand. Outsourcing provides flexibility which customers can use to scale up in the near term without the long-term risk of taking on additional permanent headcount and infrastructure costs.
One such client is Destinology in the UK, recently purchased by Brooklyn Travel Holdings. Destinology has been working with Open Destinations for almost a decade. Our Travel Outsourcing team help load hotel contracts, manage stop sales and ensure that special offers are in place ready for sale. Our support team for Destinology has been scaled up in April 2021 to support the expected increases in enquires and bookings in 2021, providing cost effective flexible resources to manage the expected additional demand.
Jet2.com, another Outsourcing customer, has been praised by customers and the press for their rapid and efficient response to customer requests for refunds when the pandemic hit in 2020. Our Travel Outsourcing team, who have been working on Customer Service tasks for Jet2 for several years, were able to pivot from standard customer service tasks to support the refund process in the face of sudden, unexpected demand.
Another example is a leading UK tour operator with a large, dispersed network of agents working from home. They have been Travel Outsourcing customers for nearly seven years. With a team already in place to support contract loading and key flights related tasks, Travel Outsourcing has been part of the client’s business model, supporting the company’s growth for several years pre-pandemic. In 2021 we identified the opportunity to use Outsourcing to support finance administration tasks, freeing up the client’s finance resources to focus on other, more strategic priorities. Our team was able to provide cost effective, capable finance resources within a short period of time, addressing a short-term requirement and providing a building block to help scale the business in the future.
As business picks up in the US in 2021, we have witnessed an increase in demand from US based businesses considering the benefits of outsourcing. Our existing US customers in the tour operator and B2B segments are looking to use Travel Outsourcing to scale up in the face of recent surges in demand.
The pace of recovery across the global travel industry will vary depending on geography. While the recovery in the US and the UK has been driven by rapid vaccine rollout in early 2021, we expect other parts of the world to progress in the 2nd half of the year. Our Travel Outsourcing customers in Europe and Asia-Pacific remain cautious at the moment. However, we are working with them proactively to identify aspects of their business where we can help drive cost savings and efficiency gains in preparation for a return to growth later this year.
Our experience in the global travel sector has shown that Outsourcing can provide vital flexibility in the face of unprecedented volatility. For travel companies planning for the post-COVID world, Travel Outsourcing could be a key piece of the puzzle.