‘The Travel File’ evolves

‘The File’ stores traveller information to understand requirements of the travellers. However, after the pandemic, this information has undergone a drastic change. The travel trade shares insights.

Asim Arshad, Group CEO, Orient Travel and Tourism Agency
The traveller file is important for TMCs and Travel Agencies, this document becomes the basis of our service delivery. It has personal details such as the traveller’s full name, contact information, passport or identification details, and frequent flyer or loyalty program information. The file would also contain information related to the traveller’s travel preferences, such as seat preferences, dietary restrictions, or special requests. On the corporate side, there are no major changes as the same information becomes important. Post-COVID, we have seen that collating such information for both retail and leisure business is beneficial. Additional information related to the traveller helps in ensuring a more personalised travel experience.

Aga Pytlik, General Manager, Pan World Travel
I believe that traveller profiles, commonly known as traveller files, play a pivotal role in empowering travel agents and other stakeholders within the tourism industry. They serve as the foundation for delivering personalized services and efficiently addressing customer inquiries. In today’s digital age, technological advancements have revolutionized the way these files are stored and updated online, greatly enhancing the convenience of the travel booking process for both travellers and agents. Post-COVID, traveller files have evolved significantly, becoming more dynamic. They now encompass vital health-related documents, embrace contactless check-ins, and facilitate digital payments. These adaptations place paramount importance on safety, convenience, and building trust among travellers. Looking ahead, the tourism industry is inherently dynamic, influenced by shifting market trends, unforeseen circumstances, and changing consumer behaviours. Yet, the traveller file stands as a beacon for the future, enabling travel agents to swiftly adapt to evolving travel norms and trends. It equips them with the tools needed to provide exceptional service within this ever-changing landscape.

Jamal Abdulnazar, CEO, Cozmo Travel
In the travel industry, the traveller file is essential for delivering personalized service. Pre-COVID, it housed basic details like personal information, travel itineraries, and preferences. Its role has only intensified post-COVID, with the inclusion of vaccination records, real-time health advisories, and updated quarantine guidelines. One key evolution is the standardization of Advance Passenger Information Systems (APIS). APIS has become a norm, making the file not just a convenience but a requirement for regulatory compliance. Digital elements like QR codes for touchless transactions have also been integrated, simplifying the travel experience while enhancing safety measures. In summary, a modern traveller file is a vital tool for both risk management and customer satisfaction. It aids travel agents in delivering a seamless, safe, and compliant travel experience. Now more than ever, the traveller file isn’t just about facilitating a single trip; it’s an instrument for building long-term, trustworthy relationships with travellers, guiding us toward a more resilient and customer-centric future.

Ayman Al Qudwa, General Manager, Falcon Travel
Travel documents or files are important because they allow you to enter a foreign country as well as return to your country of origin. It is also useful for flight arrangements, hotel accommodations, or car rentals. The pandemic has created a whole new checklist of what you should bring on your trip, with a Vaccination Certificate and a PCR test, required and mandatory for entry into any country before you can start arranging your itinerary. Therefore, travellers who roam around the world freely will once again find a unique experience in form and content that the pandemic played a major role in changing, such as wearing masks, social distancing, and promoting hygiene, which has become our greatest concern in our daily lives. With life gradually returning to the travel, tourism, and hospitality sector after more than three turbulent years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, traditional travel agents breathed a sigh of relief. This unique situation confirmed a very important fact. In the world of dynamic and electronic travel after the pandemic, the need for them has become urgent. Trust is required, as is a partial guarantee.

Meerah Ketait, Head of Retail and Leisure UAE, dnata Travel
Recording travel experiences, and overall tastes, preferences and requirements is an essential aspect of our customer service model. A more personalized approach is important to support the planning process for loyal customers who return to dnata Travel to book multiple holiday experiences each year. This element of relationship building enables our travel experts to tailor-make itineraries to suit a traveller’s specific interests, offer new experiences and products, and share invites to events and activations of interest. Gathering and maintaining customer data and feedback is a key part of enabling us to offer this unique, bespoke service to our customers. We are witnessing an increased demand for bookings within our travel stores, as UAE travellers seek to enhance the booking process with the insider knowledge and inspiration from our travel experts. At our outlets across the UAE, we can book all aspects of a customer’s journey in one, convenient place. We can tailor-make a journey to their needs and ensure they are up to date with our latest, exclusive offers and value adds across a range of incredible resorts, worldwide.

Suresh Ahuja, Managing Director, Lufthansa City Center – Trans Arabian
The traveller file, often referred to as the client file, is a fundamental tool for travel agents, facilitating efficient and personalized travel experiences. The client file is important as it serves as a comprehensive information required by airlines and travel agents to ensure a seamless journey for passengers. This file contains vital details, including passport information, seating preferences, meal choices, frequent flyer numbers, preferred cabin class, and contact addresses for services like limousine requests. The elements of the client file have remained unchanged post COVID since the elementary needs of the passenger, as well as the airline, have not changed and remained the same without any additional requirements from the airline. The only additional requirement from the airline was during the pandemic when almost all the countries would only allow the vaccinated passengers. The client file plays a pivotal role in the travel agent’s efficiency and ability to provide top-notch service. By maintaining a well-organised client file, travel agents can seamlessly transfer client preferences to booking files.

Sushant Pilankar, Manager Leisure, Uranus Travel
Pandemic, in a short period, generated enormous socio-cultural, political, and psychological impacts on various tourist actors, causing an unusual global crisis. This event has also hugely impacted every traveller’s file, which is an important element in our business. To elaborate more, in the pre-pandemic times, travellers were hugely trade dependent and buying decisions were made based on the recommendations coming from the consultants. Post-pandemic, travellers’ research to acquire knowledge not only about the destination but also about the hotels they wish to stay in, location, and tours to take, and gather reviews from their social circle who have already travelled to that destination earlier. Hence, they are well informed already. As we observe, some of the elements changed in the traveller’s file are: travel insurance with COVID cover is a must have, resulting in significant year on year growth, the prevailing trend is to have shorter holidays with just one or two destinations on a trip as compared to the pre-pandemic, hence lower value per file, and clients making their own flight arrangements.

Nasir Jamal Khan, CEO, Al Naboodah Travel
This digital document holds essential information about a traveller, including identification, passport details, visa status, and contact information. It plays a crucial role in ensuring a smooth journey, from check-in at the airport to border crossings and hotel check-ins. In case of emergencies or lost documents, having a digital backup can be a lifesaver. Moreover, it facilitates efficient communication with authorities and embassy services if needed. Therefore, maintaining an up-to-date and secure traveller file is paramount for hassle-free and safe international travel. Prior to COVID-19, a traveller’s file typically comprised essential elements such as a valid passport with visa stamps if necessary, flight itineraries, hotel reservations, travel insurance details, and a printed copy of the travel itinerary. Additionally, travellers might include local currency, credit cards, a travel guidebook, and emergency contact information. In the post-COVID era, traveller file elements have undergone significant changes. The traveller file now encompasses a more diverse range of information to ensure safe and smooth travel experiences.

Samir Mehta, Chief Operating Officer, Desert Adventures
The traveller file continues to be very important at Desert Adventures. As a customer centric organisation, this allows our teams across all touch points to be aware of our clients’ entire program and assist them with any additional requirements, not merely related to their pre-booked services but also with supplementary experiences. In addition to our team, our overseas trade partners who have booked the clients also have access to the file from our B2B system, allowing them to easily add services. Desert Adventures’ most popular program prior to the pandemic revolved primarily around a 3-4 night stopover stay in Dubai. Stays in five-star city hotels, airport transfers, the essential Dubai city tour, and the Desert Safari were the main components of these programs. For our luxury partners, the programs were customized and tailor-made to suit each client’s unique preferences. To facilitate the success of each tour program, we ensured our response rate to queries was one of the fastest in the region, we invested in technologies to make the transactional process easier, and stayed highly competitive.

Dinkar Dasaur, General Manager UAE, Satguru
Business or leisure travel is all about a journey with experiences, which can be managed better through a KYC of the customer, which is the file of a customer. It comprises vital elements in ensuring happy, smooth and safe travel experiences meeting the expectations by securing essential information and documents. A file may be maintained for a corporate customer as well as for a FIT traveller and may be maintained in a physical or digital form. Pre-COVID, the file comprised copies of passports and visas, itineraries and reservations, emergency contacts, health and travel insurance, local currency and payment methods. The pandemic reshaped the travel landscape, introducing new elements to the traveller’s file like vaccination records, COVID-19 test results and travel restrictions. A notable change that we experience today is health and safety measures where travel insurance has emerged as a mandate and digital tools and contactless experiences in travel, such as mobile check-ins, e-tickets, and virtual tours. A well-prepared traveller’s file continues to be an asset for a travel agent.

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