A hard-hit industry
Clear, blue plane-free skies, empty airports, planes parked on the tarmac – this is a picture of how hard the travel industry was hit at the height of the pandemic. To compound the catastrophic blow to their economies, after having laid off half of their workforce, many travel businesses are now experiencing staff shortages.
The World Travel and Tourism Council has calculated that in 2020, 62 million travel jobs were lost.
This is a reality that Peter Holmes from TravelOperations is familiar with. “After the first round of COVID-19, 50% of people in the travel industry were laid off and 50% of those have changed their line of business. So now they’re missing 25% of their workforce. In Sweden, figures are back to where they were in 2019, but they just don’t have enough employees. And that is driving digitalization.” Holm explains.
TravelOperations is a Microsoft ISV whose focus is on delivering business solutions to global travel agencies, airlines, and leisure-focused businesses, based on Microsoft D365 technology.
A shift to digital
The lack of personnel is a huge issue, but it’s also driving the need for change. The travel industry has been hit hard by recent events and is trying to reconfigure itself. Many brick-and-mortar shops have closed and been replaced by a network of affiliates with people working in separate locations. And this shift is driving the need to onboard new employees quickly and effectively.
In addition to the increased need for onboarding new staff, many travel businesses are running on old legacy systems, which typically are not integrated. Businesses are moving data around from one system to another, for example, booking air tickets in one, reconciliation in another, and finances in a third solution.
Feels like Vegas
“In many cases, customers are still running on +20-year-old legacy systems.,” says Holm. “It makes you feel like you are in Vegas – a shiny front but behind the scenes, they are doing it manually and old-fashioned.”
Although it’s clear that digitalization is the only way for travel businesses to survive these days, there is still a reluctance out there. According to Peter Holm, people don’t like change and this impacts people’s approach to new digital solutions.
“In terms of onboarding, we’ve pretty much tried everything – word documents, diagrams, pictograms, and textbooks of tools and tricks. And it just never works because it’s not easy, it’s not understandable, and it’s not on-demand,” explains Holm.
Without ClickLearn, it’s not scalable – we simply cannot double our business if don’t have this solution.
Peter Holm, CEO, TravelOperations
Before they started using ClickLearn, when implementing solutions, TravelOperations were just doing everything from scratch every time. And this was fine initially when they were just doing implementations in one country. But as they grow globally, the work increases exponentially with each country.
“As we added countries, we had to do the same stuff for each one – the design, all the documentation, all the structures, all the elements. That’s a lot of repeated stuff when you have 10 countries. And that’s without the ability for self-study. Whereas in ClickLearn you can do it once and then add the countries.”
This ability of one-to-many production is a concept that Peter Holm would like to use for support cases. For each one, they plan to do a ClickLearn video and then send it out. According to Holm, 80% of their tickets cover the same questions, so having a single recording that explains and solves the issue is scalable and enables TravelOperations to provide service to as many customers as possible with fewer resources.
A strong proposition for the future
Peter Holm particularly is impressed by the ability to produce different formats from a single recording. “I like that we can have a process in a document and then turn it into a test that users can click through on their own. Being able to offer the same information in different formats to support users in their different learning styles and situations is a really strong proposition.”
“The most difficult part about digitalization is the changing processes and understanding and grasping the new technology. We did 16 customers in the last 10 months. We’re going to double that in the next 12. This is not possible without a tool to create training, because our customers train themselves. Without ClickLearn it’s not scalable – we simply cannot double our business if we don’t have this solution,” concludes Holm.