It is a well-known fact that the travel industry is fraught with inescapable peaks and troughs. Travel agents and operators do their best to iron some of those out, with special offers and deals out of season, however there will always be a rush of holidaymakers at those major times of year, mostly coinciding with when the schools are on holiday, although for some the motivation can of course be nice weather, or escaping the cold winters.
Naturally for the travel industry this inconsistency causes a number of challenges, with many travel companies bringing in extra staff to handle the peaks, and reducing that back down to a minimum once the troughs hit. These peaks and troughs do tend to occur at the same times every year, making them at least predictable. However, there are a number of challenges when it comes to employing temporary staff. Firstly, of course, you need to find the right people.
This can be a lengthy and costly process, especially if you need a large number of staff. Once found, those staff will need to be trained on your IT systems, contracts, and processes before they can be effective. Again, this process takes some time so needs to be completed before you hit the busy period. At the end of that peak, they leave and quite often it won’t be long before you need to begin that process again.
It is no surprise therefore that more and more travel companies are turning to outsourcing to handle the extra workloads at these busy periods. It does away with the need to handle recruitment and training in-house and makes the process much simpler and smoother.
However, the challenge remains that the travel industry is unique and processes and systems can be complicated for someone not familiar with the industry. Most contact centres will be general centres handling a whole range of different industries and activities, making it difficult to be sure your company is being reflected well and that your customers are receiving the right advice and information.
Travel-specific contact Centers
By using a travel-specific contact centre, you can be sure that the staff understand the industry and are able to represent you as if they were permanent staff. It also increases the amount of work you can potentially outsource.
For example, data contract loading, inbound/outbound calls and fulfillment of customer feedback all require staff who have a deep understanding of the sector in order to ensure accuracy inspire confidence for the consumers.
If your customers are based around the globe, getting the language coverage may also be a consideration. Many contact centres are based in locations where language is a barrier, which causes misunderstandings and miscommunication. Ultimately if your customer cannot understand what is being said, they will lose patience and go elsewhere.
Contact centres should ideally be located in those areas of Europe where there is strong local talent for languages. There are a few areas such as that where locals speak several languages to a native proficiency.
Round the Clock coverage
The other significant challenge is getting round the clock coverage, which is becoming increasingly important in a global marketplace. Being able to react to enquiries during working hours for customers on the other side of the world can be really important. Equally, if you are locating in a different place to the contact centre you use, knowing that they can be contacted at anytime of the day, will be extremely important.
StepAhead is a travel and cruise-specific contact centre based in Estonia, which boasts one of the best multi-cultural workforces, meaning excellent language proficiency which is why a number of major global travel companies, including Viking line, Norwegian airlines and Hurtigruten have established bases there. Estonia also offers a high technical workforce, meaning staff that can learn new systems and processes very quickly. StepAhead offers 24/7 reservations overflow and a strong focus on quality assurance to give customers piece of mind that their brand reputation is in good hands.