Marketing Strategies of Travel Agencies and New Technologies Used for the Marketing Strategy

Marketing Strategies of Travel Agencies and New Technologies Used for the Marketing Strategy

Çiğdem Unurlu (Trakya University, Turkey)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-8434-6.ch016

Abstract

In the 21st century, increasing technological opportunities and globalization has affected tourism mobility significantly. The purpose of this study is to point out the increasing importance of travel agencies and tour operators that have important functions in the distribution of touristic products and to evaluate the marketing strategies used by travel agencies in the world today where human mobility has gained momentum. In this respect, secondary data have been used, and a critical literature review has been conducted. The marketing strategies used by travel agencies and the technologies related to these strategies have been reviewed. From this point, among the marketing strategies used by travel agencies, market segmentation strategies, growth strategies, competitive strategies, market share strategies, and product life cycle strategies have been addressed. Then, new technologies such as central reservation systems, the WAP technology, and digital broadcasting, which are used in the marketing strategies of agencies, have been evaluated. Finally, the sales techniques that agencies use in their marketing strategies have been reviewed.
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Introduction

The tourism sector, which has been taking an increasingly bigger share from the world economy in the 21st century, is among the fastest developing sectors of the service sector. It also has an extremely important place in the economies of the developing countries. The technological opportunities increasing in the globalisation phenomenon have significantly affected consumption patterns and consumer preferences (Bahar& Kozak, 2008: 56). In this regard, the establishments in the sector must adapt to the changing market conditions faster and become more flexible. This situation shapes the production, pricing, distribution and promotion of touristic products and services and points out to the significance of the marketing of touristic activities. This rapid change in the information and communication technologies has fundamentally changed the way establishments work. In this regard, marketing strategies should be addressed again, updated and developed in the adaptation process of travel agencies and tour operators in the distribution system of the tourism sector to these technologies. Travel agencies must diverge and become different from their competitors in the competitive environment that has been increasing with global markets. From this standpoint, this study, which evaluates the contemporary marketing strategies used by travel agencies, is considered to shed light on this matter. From this point forth, firstly, travel agencies and tour operators have been evaluated, and afterwards, the marketing strategies of travel agencies have been addressed in this study. Market segmentation strategies, growth strategies, competitive strategies, market share strategies and product life cycle strategies have been studied regarding the marketing strategies of travel agencies. In the continuation of the study, new technologies used in the marketing strategies of travel agencies and their sales techniques have been evaluated. In the 21st century, the way establishments work has been fundamentally changed with the globalisation phenomenon and the Internet revolution. The tourism sector has taken more than its share from this change. Especially the Internet, which is a direct marketing instrument, has been perceived as a threat for tour operators and travel agencies. In this regard, it is an undeniable fact that the competition conditions of the 21st century have its own unique dynamics. Therefore, it is considered that this study in which the marketing strategies of travel agencies are evaluated will shed light on this problem. The topics addressed in the study and their page numbers are as follows:

Travel Agents and Tour Operators

In terms of tourism legislation, according to the Regulations of Travel Agencies Association no. 1618, travel agencies are defined as “business organisations which offer tourists with transportation, accommodation, sightseeing, sports and entertainment opportunities for profit; provide all the related services; and contribute to the tourism economy and generally to the balance of payments.” Moreover, travel agencies have functions such as (1) developing tourism, (2) introducing tourism and contributing to e-marketing activities, (3) finding new destinations and bringing them in tourism, (4) creating price discrimination in touristic products, (5) reducing the prices of touristic products, (6) providing tourists with consultancy services (Yalçın, 2017: 3). The tourism sector uses travel agencies to effectively reach the markets which have outspread into a geographically very wide area. It is estimated that there are over 100.000 travel agencies, 32.000 of which are in the USA, around the world. 70% of the customers of travel agencies include individuals travelling with business and leisure purposes (İçöz, 2001: 363). World Travel Organisation defines tour operators as “establishments which organise both mobile tours and tours with accommodation in a specific centre by combining transportation, accommodation and other tourism products before the travel and tourism demand is created, and provide these tours for a certain amount of price” (Emir, 2016: 78).Travel agencies and tour operators are indispensable elements of the tourism distribution system. The popularity of the Internet and information technologies has led to the functions of travel agencies and tour operators being questioned. However, mediation in travelling and creating products are areas which require exclusive knowledge. No matter how developed technology becomes, individuals still enjoy doing their business with other individuals. The fact that humans are social beings and need the services of others signals that travel management will live on in the future (İçöz, 2007: 81).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Tour Operator: A company/agent that makes arrangements for travel and places to stay, often selling these together as package holidays (travel and accommodation are booked for the tourist).

Sales Techniques: Sales techniques are the methods that sales professionals use to create revenue.

Marketing Strategy: A marketing strategy is a business's overall game plan for reaching people and turning them into customers of the product or service that the business provides.

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