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Travel Agencies advised to focus on ancillary services


Mr. Bankole Bernard, GMD Finchglow Group.

An indigenous travel management company, Finchglow Travels a subsidiary of Finchglow Group recently held its annual trade partners forum in Lagos with the theme: ‘Beyond the Pause – Travel Post Covid-19.

The Group Managing Director, Finchglow Group, Mr. Bankole Bernard who delivered the keynote message during the virtual conference highlighted some trends that people in the travel market should expect. He also identified ways to position trade partners for better business in 2021.

“2020 was indeed a turbulent year for most of us in the travel industry due to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. One way or another our businesses have felt the impact of the pandemic but we must not lose hope, rather, we must keep hope alive and open up to the opportunities around us,” Mr Bernard noted.

While encouraging the trade partners, Mr Bernard mentioned the need to focus on ancillary services. He noted that travel agencies need to step up their game both in the use of technology, in creating new experiences and ideas.

“We need to begin to look inward by focusing on ancillary services during and post Covid-19. We need to begin to sell beyond tickets, the Covid test is something we should sell and encourage travellers to take because it is now a mandatory travel requirement for most countries. More than ever before, this is the time we need to encourage travellers to buy travel insurance,” he added.

Mr. Bernard also encouraged the Trade Partners to be on top of their games by developing their capacities in terms of technology, embracing the New Distribution capability which has been activated by Finchglow Travels in Nigeria.

The Group Chief Operating Officer (GCOO), Mr. Ezekiel Ikotun added that travel during and beyond the COVID-19 will focus more on the process, people and technology. This he explained by saying the mode of travel has changed drastically, some airlines have cut down on in-flight catering, some have blocked the middle seats in order to ensure the safety of the people on board. He added that to ensure smooth travel, airlines, airports and government authorities have started to use technology to ensure that passengers have a contactless trip.

In the course of the virtual conference, Abiola Omosinmi, Head BTA, Nigeria, CWA, Angola at Amadeus encouraged the Trade Partners to embrace the New Distribution Capability (NDC), which is essentially an XML standard created by the International Air Transportation Association (IATA) to allow airline service providers to deliver rich content and ancillaries to their customers. She also commended Finchglow Travels for being the first Travel Management Company in Nigeria to launch the NDC.

The trade partners forum was held in the presence of representatives from both domestic and international airlines who had first-hand information on the COVID-19 travel protocols. Also in attendance was Amadeus – a travel technology company; and other stakeholders in the Nigerian aviation industry and over 80 trade partners across Nigeria.