Mass customization can be used by travel agents to customize the procedure of booking a holiday in a cost-effective way and to increase customer satisfaction by using their own database. If it is performed correctly it will save costs for travel agents because it will allow them to simplify the booking process and offer a variety of components to customize the holiday of their customers in a low-cost manner (Feitzinger and Lee 1997).
In today’s competitive market, consumers have more heterogeneous preferences compared to a few year ago. This means that their individuality is growing and they want an offer that is made to fit their needs. Additionally, they expect a higher quality for their money. It is inevitable that the popularity of fixed holiday packages is decreasing fast and customization is becoming more important to consumers. They value companies that understand and help them to tailor a trip according to their personal wishes, preferences and expectations. Travel agents should aim at differentiating themselves from their competitors in order to survive. Implementing toolkits could be the ideal solution to safe costs and to establish a meaningful relationship with the customer. (Scholl-Grissemann, 2016).
Using toolkits as an engagement point between a company and clients creates the possibility to listen and customize the holiday and build customer satisfaction. A toolkit for the travel agent industry should consist of the following components: flight tickets, accommodation reservation, rental cars, leisure activities, and entertainment tickets. There should be a range of options within each component. The hotels for example should have various classes and characteristics in order to cater to the needs of different individuals. The leisure activities could include a spa treatment, a hiking tour and many other possibilities (Al-Salim). This is beneficial for the customer experience because it will make them feel more unique and it brings more enjoyment to the booking process (Scholl-Grissemann, 2016).
To keep the toolkits cost efficient the association method should be used. This method finds a relationship among the various travel components in travel agents database and gives insight in components that are often sold together. It eliminates less popular options and enables travel agents to focus on promoting popular packages. This lowers the cost and makes it more time efficient (Al-Salim).
Mass customisation can give travel agents a competitive advantage because it can make the customer experience feel unique and safe money. It will also make the promotion of packages more time efficient due to the knowledge of which components are likely to be sold together. Unfortunately, using toolkits in the most effective way can be a challenge because it can only be cost effective if more tour operators offer tailor made packages.
Al-Salim, B. (n.d.). Mass customization of travel packages: data mining approach. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF FLEXIBLE MANUFACTURING SYSTEMS, 19(4), 612–624. https://doi-org.proxy1.dom1.nhtv.nl/10.1007/s10696-007-9030-8
Feitzinger E, Lee HL (1997) Mass customization and Hewlett-Packard: the power of postponement. Harvard Bus Rev January/February:116–121
Scholl-Grissemann, U., & Schnurr, B. (2016). Room with a view: how hedonic and utilitarian choice options of online travel agencies affect consumers’ booking intentions. International Journal of Culture, Tourism & Hospitality Research, 10(4), 361–376. https://doi-org.proxy1.dom1.nhtv.nl/10.1108/IJCTHR-06-2016-0062