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The world has doubtlessly transformed due to the current pandemic, which has resulted in a shift in priorities along with a new consumer model returning from travel.


 

The COVID-19 crisis is increasing the speed with which consumers have changed a series of habits that had already been in evidence for some years. Parallel to the growth in internet users, the number of online shoppers has also increased, reaching 2.5 billion users by 2020, according to the association of communication, advertising and digital marketing, IAB

Not only has the number of online shoppers increased, so has their average purchase. Practicality, convenience, time saving and variety of choices are some of the motivator factors for this. In 2020, travel and accommodation were the fourth most popular category online, following entertainment and culture, technology and communication, and food.

In order to cater for the new needs of this increasingly online-shopping consumer, companies are being forced to redesign their business models within an increasingly digitalised paradigm. Bearing in mind that one in three consumers shop online, according to a study by the media and marketing agency Carat, it is not surprising that all efforts are focused on improving the efficiency of these services, seeking to ensure that the user has an impeccable shopping experience.

It is important to take into account that this process of speedy maturity of online shopping in the face of the return of leisure and travel. According to Neil Rogan, Head of Global External Communications at Amadeus, travelers’ “hunger” to see the world will drive the travel industry in 2021. This makes it essential for travel agencies to be prepared for a new consumer model that relies on technology, innovation, and online shopping.

If there is a time to implement digital solutions, today seems like the best time. It is important that companies can offer their products and services to the user in a simple and user-friendly way, taking care of trust at all times. Paying special attention to these elements is vital, especially when dealing with a complex product, such as cruises

It is necessary to find a balance between the implementation of self-service solutions for the consumer to solve their doubts thanks to elements with Artificial Intelligence, such as bots and call centres with human staff with whom consumers may  deal with more complex issues.

In this context, IST aims to improve the productivity of online cruise sales by offering technological solutions that connect to more than 95% of the global cruise market offer. These solutions are flexible and versatile, so that they adapt to the needs of each business, both B2B and B2C. Furthermore, we know that digitalisation is nothing new, which is why at IST we have been connecting more than 30 cruise lines with more than 22,500 itineraries for 20 years to stimulate the sale of cruises online. To do this, we have the largest network of technology experts and are constantly reinventing ourselves to adapt to these new consumer models.

Especially in this situation of maximum uncertainty, it is necessary to provide security and confidence to the user, optimizing the sales process, a task where travel agents and the technology offered by IST, a technological partner of reference in the distribution and sale of online cruises, take on special importance.

 

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