Friday, August 29, 2014

ABTA to drive improved Travel Agent and Airline partnerships in Angola

The African Business Travel Association (ABTA) will be encouraging Angolan business travel professionals to work together towards improving their relationships with potential Travel Agency, Airline and Hotel Partners.
ABTA's next event in Luanda on 11 September at The Talatona Convention Hotel will provide a platform for these industry sectors to come together to share their current challenges in developing strong partnerships, encouraging improved communication, and brainstorming solutions that will benefit Travel Agents, Airlines, Hotels, and the Clients they service.
Says Monique Swart, ABTA Founder "For the business travel industry in any region to thrive, strong relationships and partnerships are required between all industry sectors which will see mutually benefitical outcomes.  In Angola, we see that there is often an environment of competition between Travel Agents and Airlines (and sometimes hotels) who are all trying to win and 'own' the same clients.  This unfortunately leads to a lot mistrust and miscommunication in the industry, with the clients often being caught in the middle."
The ABTA Forum - which is open to all business travel industry professionals - will feature a panel of experts discussing the current competitive environment, addressing the reasons behind this, and potential solutions.  There will also be a session focusing on the value of Travel Agents and how they can better communicate this value to their clients so that they are not just seen as a travel booking channel, easily replaced by internet or direct bookings.  Finally, the event will end with an industry discussion where all delegates can participate in sharing their challenges and brainstorming workable solutions to improve partnerships.
Says Swart: "We are under no illusion that this challenge is one that will be easy to fix.  Airlines and hotels have very definite issues and goals when it comes to reaching volume targets and the requirement for Travel Agents to make a positive impact on these goals is of vital importance.  At the same time though, Travel Agents can't be ignored as a valuable distribution channel.  This event will serve to open the lines of communication between these sectors as a first step, so that sectors can better understand each others challenges, which will enable us as an industry to start seeking solutions for improving these vital partnerships."