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TRAVEL AGENCY CASE STUDY

Description

Pure Sunshine Travel Agency (PSTA) is a family-owned retailer providing travel services to individuals and corporations since 1984 with a reliable affiliation with airlines, car rentals, cruise lines, hotels, railways, travel insurance, and package tours.

PSTA has passively relied on direction from customer to book transportation, accommodations, and other travel services, especially for corporate travelers to facilitate their business travel needs.

Problem

PSTA has experienced a drop in sales, mainly because of customers’ changed purchasing behavior. In the last decade, more people rely on the Internet for traveling needs bypassing the travel agency altogether. 

Solution

I collected valuable data using a qualitative approach with prior customers to investigate consumer behavior through interviews via telephone and e-mail.

The underlying theme from the information collected is that when booking simple travel arrangements (i.e., traveling home or visiting a friend), customers do not rely on PSTA mainly because of the additional fee. Most customers realize they can easily book their schedule needing no assistance.

When inquiring how prior clients planned specialized vacations, such as exotic adventures, single-tours, or charity opportunities to faraway countries, most interviewees reported working with a large-global travel agency. The reason for not contacting PSTA was the misguided perception that a smaller agency lacks the resources and expertise for such high-end specialty. 

Since PSTA had not advertised their ability to fulfill these functions, the customers were unaware, causing them to seek other agencies. 

PSTA was excited to get started on their new direction as a specialized travel agency that does more than just book flights. Through major campaigns involving newsletters, direct mail, and personal touch, customers are now seeing PSTA as not just a seller of services, but interestingly more as a consultant.

We also decreased the customer fee for simple scheduling activities, such as booking a flight, to a small handling charge, further increasing customer loyalty. 

Now the travel agency has become more of an information bank than just where someone goes to shop for travel. I expect their ongoing communication providing their unique knowledge and services to continue to grow their customer base.

Conclusion

PSTA now realizes the customer relationship is the most critical factor where personal service plays a significant role in long-term survival. By increasing their knowledge of niche travel and advertising their expertise through compelling stories and testimonials, their customer base will not only stabilize but also grow to make them a significant competitive force in the travel agency industry.