Amadeus, a leading provider of solutions to the travel industry for the management of distribution and selling of travel services, recently held an event in Athens where results from research revealed the Internet and new technology hold many opportunities for Greek travel agencies. Hermes Management Consulting conducted the study on behalf of Amadeus.
Hermes Management Consulting (“Hermes”) is an Argentine management consulting firm specialized in strategy, organization, operations, valuation and e-consulting studies. With this research project, Amadeus aimed to better understand travel agency operational cost structure and to investigate how Amadeus solutions can add value to the travel agency in terms of time and money by identifying weaknesses and untapped potential.
Hermes analyzed operational procedures and profit of eight business travel agencies and four tour operators. The travel agencies that took part in the research were chosen with regard to size, location and level of automated services. The project included a market overview, and an activity-based costing (ABC) analysis. The ABC study reviewed the financial data and examined the business process performed by the participating travel agencies. This allowed the main cost drivers to be identified.
Consulting associate of Hermes, Santiago Bugallo, presented the results of the survey and the completed white paper. He presented one of the most significant indications of the survey, that is, the Internet represents an opportunity for Greek travel agents as Internet penetration grows rapidly. Mr. Bugallo explained, “The growing of Internet penetration in Greece, currently at 33.5 percent, could show a slow but progressive penetration of online booking tools with reporting capabilities and profile features which, in a price-sensitive environment, represent a unique opportunity for agencies to introduce online booking tools.”
The survey also illustrates that tour operators do not have distribution tools for their packages, so web applications should be developed and used to reduce costs. Hermes’ research indicated that Greek travel agencies incur high administrative costs, especially in back-office activities (invoicing, collection and payment preparation) that account for 18.1 percent of total costs for business agencies and 13.7 percent for tour operators. It also found that costs associated with core processes (that account for 41 percent for business agencies and 35 percent of total costs for tour operators) are among the lowest registered in the Activity Base Costing studies.
Overall, the survey claims, customer relationship management (CRM) systems are not utilized by Greek travel agencies to systematically track customer satisfaction and new customer wins. The white paper suggests, “The implementation of call center solutions can help Greek travel agencies to enhance the productivity of travel consultants by integrating the call center system with all points of sale activity.” This study is the first of its kind and has also been conducted in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Czech and Slovak Republics, Germany, Italy, Poland, Scandinavia, UK and Ireland.
General manager of Amadeus Hellas, Eva Karamanou, said: “Amadeus Hellas requested this research to help the Greek travel sector better understand how it can cut costs, operate more productively with new technology and become more profitable and we hope travel agencies will adopt this technology with the aim to secure a competitive edge and long-term success.”