Overcoming Challenges of Moving Your Business From Offline to Online
‘Luxes Travels is a travel company with over 10 years of experience in the travel business. They enjoyed moderate success and decided they would like to move their business online to explore bigger avenues. They created a travel portal hoping for a rise in productivity and profit. But the transition was far from smooth, the staff, agents and the customers weren’t well prepared for the sudden move, there was confusion, errors and apprehension.’
Sounds familiar? Many travel companies have been through the awkward phase of transition from offline to online. Moving your business online is great for your business. It makes running business easier, faster, and more beneficial, it also opens new avenues. A major challenge for individuals and organizations is moving from offline to online environments. These challenges, if not addressed well may prove to be a roadblock.
As a travel company when you move from offline to online, you will not only experience a complete shift in priorities but also in the way you do your business. Challenges that you will face can become a hurdle if you don’t have a plan in place to resolve them. We have listed the potential issues you could come across and how to handle them.
Here are some ways to overcome these challenges:
Most people are wary of changes. Digitization brings in its own set of challenges. People are worried about adapting to new technology. They either fear not being able to use the technology correctly or being replaced by it. It’s important to understand what these concerns are.
- Agents may not always use the platform.
- They may have issues using the web portal.
- Customers may feel the lack of personal touch.
Most people are worried that any change in the way business is done will affect the costs. For your agents, it may be their commission and for your customer, it may be the additional cost incurred due to the shift. Ensure that your customers know that they will not suffer any monetary loss over this transition.
- Inform your customers of your pricing policies.
- Your agents should be made aware of opportunities they can have through online business moves. For example, applying mark-ups.
Agents might not be comfortable with the time needed to be dedicated to training. It will not be very time-consuming if your technology partner provides you with training and support.
- Choose a technology provider who offers training and support for you and your team.
- Use digital tools for training.
- Have incentives for training periods.
Change management is described as the processes and steps a company adopts while implementing changes that are integral to both internal and external processes. This includes educating and training employees, setting up change processes, and tracking pre- and post-change actions to ensure success.
Your team is used to making bookings offline, so transitioning to online booking may not be easy. It is not possible to stop offline bookings all of a sudden. So, the goal is to slow down the number of offline bookings and increase online bookings.
- Give them time to adjust to the new features.
- Slowly ease them to online bookings.
- Set a goal or a time limit after which offline bookings will not be entertained for example – In 2 months your agents must have 30 % online booking, in four months this number should double to 60%.
You will have to encourage your agents and customers to use online booking tools. Your agents and customers must become more comfortable with making their bookings online. They need to learn how to operate these tools and be aware of various features so that your organization can benefit from the use of digital tools.
- Provide them with adequate learning materials.
- Set a timeline for the learning period.
- Encourage the use of online tools for all aspects of the business.
The goals you set for your company need a tracker, you need to set milestones. Your milestones are a good indicator of where your business stands in your digitization journey.
- Set reasonable milestones for your team to achieve.
- Do a review of how far you many milestones you have achieved.
- Evaluate the changes you need to implement to make the shift easier.
Resolving any challenges, you face while moving from offline to online rests on your ability to communicate wisely and soothe any fears your agents, stakeholders and customers may have.
Your team is already trained in various aspects of your business; however, you will have to re-train them to use online tools. They will need to spend a good amount of time unlearning many things and just as much or more time in training on how to make the best of the digital way of doing business.
- Conduct multiple training sessions for your stakeholders, agents, and customers.
- Give your agents incentives for online bookings.
- Provide exciting incentives for your customers when they make their bookings online, for example 20% off their first booking online.
You need to communicate with your partners, customers, and agents regarding all the changes they can expect with the transition from offline to online.
- Inform your customers, partners, suppliers etc of your online move.
- Provide tutorials, blogs, and other mediums they can use to familiarize themselves with the technology.
- Keep open channels of communication to assuage their fears of online transition.
In the age of digitization, your growth and success as a travel company are determined by your business goals and technology. With OTRAMS your business can reach its full potential.
We offer dedicated customer support with dedicated key account managers providing 24/7 support to all of our clients. OTRAMS also has an integrated CMS for customer communication and transcends language barriers by offering multilingual support.
Let the world’s leading travel technology provider help your business user in a new era of productivity and profit while helping you transition from offline to online mode of business smoothly.