The travel industry is constantly evolving, with technological advances constantly changing the way travel professionals do their jobs. Always ahead of the curve is Voyages A La Carte, whose new B2B platform, Agencia Global, is helping agents seamlessly search, book, add markup and support airline bookings at no extra cost. We sit down with Ryan Saroli, CEO of Agencia Global to discuss tech trends, and how agents stack up in today’s high-tech world.
1. Tell us about Voyages A La Carte, and how does it differ from other airline consolidators?
Voyages A La Carte is based in Montreal and began as a traditional travel agency in 1991. In 2012, it shifted its business model toward the air consolidation business it is today. In 2013, Voyages A La Carte USA was formed to offer content from POS USA. In 2014, Voyages A La Carte acquired Alio (a tour operator). In 2017, we launched our new B2B platform, Agencia Global.
Voyages a La Carte is different than other Canadian consolidators in several ways. Firstly, we’ve sold over $1.2 billion in airfare in 2017, so we’re substantially larger. Secondly, we consider ourselves a technology company, so we’re always looking at ways to improve our product from a user experience standpoint. Lastly, we can provide unmatched service to our airline partners as well as our travel agent customers.
2. What was the initial feedback from the agent community about Agencia Global?
Agencies love the product. We’ve noticed that once an agency makes one booking, they consistently return to book again. I think agencies are tired of the old model that existed. We deliver value in our product and prices with efficiency to provide the most cost effective airfare tool to agents. We went away from things like reward programs to drive business and feel strongly that money in an agents’ pocket is much more appealing than gift cards or movie passes. Agents also love the speed and simplicity of the website. Agents can begin using the tool immediately with no training required. This was huge in attracting people to switch over to Agencia Global.
3. What would you say are the top 3 benefits Agencia Global offers travel agents?
1. The lowest net fares on the market.
2. No registration fees, monthly fees or transactional fees.
3. An efficient, simple, beautiful and fast website.
4. Much has been said about how technology is changing the way agents do their job nowadays. What advice do you have for those who are still behind the curve?
I think the GDS and online consolidator tools were effective and necessary for a very long time, but a lot has changed. Travel seemed to lag behind when it came to technology. My advice would be to take advantage of tools like Agencia Global and eliminate one of the biggest barriers to entry in becoming a travel agent.
5. In the era of OTAs, critics say travel agents is a dying breed. As a technology company that services agents, what are your thoughts?
I think OTA’s have been effective and will always have a place in the market. I also believe that there is a huge opportunity right now for travel agents. Young people today have put more value in travel than any previous generation. Social media has driven an entire generation to go out, explore, and share your memories with everyone. This puts a lot of pressure on young people to ensure they get everything they want out of a vacation. Expertise in travel and really knowing what people want in a vacation has never been so important. I strongly believe travel agents will always have a place in this industry.
For more information go to agenciaglobal.com.