Contact Us
Contact Us

Industry trends, Traveler experience

Coping with the talent drought in the travel industry

May 26, 2022

Expert views on how embracing the digital transformation of travel is key to servicing growing numbers of travelers while coping with staffing shortages.

Nathan Greer

By Nathan Greer, Solution engineer, traveler services at Cirium

We have all read the headlines describing the great resignation. The travel industry is no exception. Many are choosing to leave the industry for jobs that are perceived to be more stable.  In many ways the talent drought for travel was building from before the great resignation due to an aging workforce and very few new employees coming into the industry.  This has become visible with the struggle many airlines have had to fill pilot roles.  The lack of new talent coupled with an industry highly affected by world events and political climates has created a perfect storm where the industry is struggling to fill vacancies from retirements and as individuals jump to new industries. 

All of this together brings up the question… How do we service a growing number of travelers effectively with a smaller workforce?  The answer to that question cannot be more complicated, but the use of data and technology can help. 

In years past most travelers turned to travel agents or called an airline to book their travel.  With the internet, trends changed. By 2018, 82% of all air travel bookings were booked online or via a mobile app. This shift helped with staffing challenges at the booking level; however, travel continues to grow, and the workforce continues to diminish.  To continually provide the services travelers expect, requires that we think differently and embrace the one thing that is the most difficult in this industry: change.

“After living through one of the largest disruptions of our time, it is reassuring to experience more normalcy and the return of business travel. But as travel returns, so do flight disruptions. For a global TMC focusing on best-in-market personal service by proactively assisting travelers when things don’t go as planned, having a technology partner that delivers real time data on delays and cancellations is indispensable. Cirium’s data not only allows JTB Business Travel to provide the worry-free experience for the traveler, but its technology also creates process efficiency so our Advisors can focus on what matters most, assisting the traveler when they need it most.”

– Geert de Boo, Vice President of Global Business Travel, JTB Business Travel

Some changes have already been implemented over time, such as the automated issuing of airline tickets and adding barcodes to boarding passes, making the processing of travelers more efficient. Automation has helped to build in more efficiencies, however, additional changes are needed to keep up with the record number of travelers each year.  Data is the key to opening avenues which allow travelers to self-service where it makes sense, such as with interactive voice response systems providing basic flight information or keeping a traveler notified of a gate change via a mobile app.  Actionable data also is key to keeping agents informed and allows them to step-up when and where they are most needed to keep the world in motion.

“In a post-Covid world, friction has been intersected into almost all components of the booking flow. In our view, the way to reduce those frictions, is to intersect data at the precise right moments and with the precise right context, providing our operational agents with the intelligence to exactly what agents do best; support our customers with best-in-class service. Connecting data, services and people is where we feel we can leverage the most powerful automation; replacing the friction created by manual tasks through much better-connected technology solutions.”

Rob Cope, Head of Client Services & Product, TakeTwo

COVID-19 has forever changed how we travel, which is not entirely a bad thing.  It has forced established leaders in the travel space to rethink how to do business; to question processes to look for new and better ways of managing business more efficiently and to maintain high levels of engagement with customers.  Making decisions and building processes with data is at the heart of what we need to do as an industry. No longer is, ‘this is how we have always done it’, going to be the right answer to the challenges before us and for those who have yet to discern the challenges. 

See the NEW! 2022 Corporate Travel Leaders’ Outlook report, complimentary download.

About JTB Business Travel: The JTB Business Travel brand is part of JTB, a worldwide leader in travel, with a network of more than 508 locations in 143 cities and 39 countries. JTB Business Travel is an industry forerunner, leading the way in business travel by embracing new technologies, offering innovative services and creating superior travel experiences for companies and their employees.

About TakeTwo: TakeTwo Travel Solutions is a dynamic and independent travel management company. Our organization delivers one of the few alternative solutions to a (now) Mega-TMC dominated sector, for international companies wanting a tailored and unbiased offline and digital solution.

Read more about Cirium’s aviation analytics and data solutions for travel services.

RELX logo