BusinessDay

Travel business gains more traction at Touchdown Travels agent fair

On Tuesday March 29, 2022, the stakeholders across the Nigerian travel sector gathered in Lagos at a special forum that enabled them to interact, gain industry insight, hone their skills, and most importantly, forge ahead with their businesses.

The forum, Touchdown Travels Agent Fair 2022, which held at Legend Hotel Lagos Airport, Curio Collection by Hilton, was truly an impressive outing and part of industry project by Touchdown Travels Limited, a travel management company, to initiate change and innovation in the travel business, especially to the benefit of its agents.

The agent forum is riding on the successful launch of the company’s new and client-centric interactive website recently.

Speaking at the one-day fair, which attracted major international airlines, agents and sub agents of the travel company and the travel media, Olufunso Ekundayo, chief operating officer, Touchdown Travels Limited, noted that the fair was imperative in order to celebrate its customers and agents for their patronage, and most importantly, to showcase tools that will enable them to scale up their business.

Explaining further, he said that there is a need for the agent to evolve, move with modern travel trends, learn and embrace innovative travel business tools as the focus now is no longer working hard, but working smart.

“We showed tools that will enable them to scale up their business, we introduced the Touchdown booking tool, and the idea behind that is that times are changing, innovation is coming, not the same way you used to do things, we need to evolve, and that is what we are looking at”, he said.

Also, part of the objectives of the fair, according to the chief operating officer, is to empower the agents with knowledge, tools and capacity that will enable them to make reservations, and overcome all the complexities.

To ensure that, Touchdown introduced Easy Pay, a simple tool that allows people to just book easily and no commands.

“If you can use Instagram, you can use our booking tools and that is the feature of travel and the feature for our agents”, the COO explained at the fair.

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Beyond the easy-use booking tools, Touchdown Travels noted at the fair that it is looking at empowering its agents to be able to expand their businesses, decrying that event till now, there are so many barriers for the agents to be successful.

“We have checked a lot of them, some have been in the business for 10 to 12 years and have not been able to expand because they have been limited and what we are doing today is taking the lid off all of them.

“We are saying to them, you can empower everyone to do exactly what you are doing, you can start your own business, you can expand your business, you can increase your offerings and better still, by using our tools, and you will earn even more than what is available in the industry”, he said.

Offering more insight on the additional earnings, he explained that if the maximum commission available for a particular airline, for instance, is 7 percent, the agent can earn an extra 0.2 percent by using Touchdown tools. “So, it is easier and you are even earning more”, he said.

Yet, he assured that the new and client-centric interactive website, www.touchdowntravels.net, offers the best deals, cheapest fares for every route and for every airline. “Once you get to the website, you will have everything you are looking for.”

Touchdown, according to the COO, is running its Partners Acceleration Programme, which is aimed at helping five agents who have constraints in terms of finance, business, strategy and in identifying the right profit formula for their business.

“With the Partners Acceleration Programme, we will take the five agents on a journey for one year and that journey is a rapid accelerated cruise. We will hold the agent and the resources of Touchdown Travels will be available to the agents, of course, there will be Terms and Conditions”, he said.

While the initiatives are changing the narratives in the Nigerian travel industry, Touchdown is insisting that it is not in competition with anybody but with itself.

“We look at ourselves as enablers of travel, never before have we heard that a travel company is enabling others to come online; we empower them to go online. That is technology and the internet is huge, there is a limit to the number of people I can reach at my own end, with my own efforts. But the idea is they come onboard, they use our tools, we power them, we issue their tickets for them, then we also make their dreams come true.

“The problem we are solving in the industry is so big by telling the agents that they don’t need to think about funding, rates and others, different tools are there, travel box among others”, he said.

For the enthusiastic COO, it will go down in the history of the Nigerian travel industry that Touchdown disrupted the industry, and has offered everyone the opportunity to excel and fulfill the enterprise dreams.

The necessary disruption is possible because Touchdown leverages technology.

“At Touchdown, we leverage a lot of technology and well-trained staff to get things done. Right now, anybody, anywhere can become an agent, at least can start the initial booking and experience comes in as you keep growing, and the good thing is that you can start and you have access to inventory across all the three GDSs immediately”, the COO said.

Beyond the Agent Fair, the COO promised that Touchdown will continue in keeping itself in business by solving problems, focusing on the job to be done and finding ways to do it better.

“Solving my customer problems; access to flight, ease of access to flight inventory, getting the best rate available and ease of payment, and that is the job that needs to be done”, he concluded.

However, the one-day agent fair witnessed awards and recognitions for agents and sub agents who have achieved exceptional strides in their business and relationship with Touchdown.

The agents include; Halmond Travels, Airlink, M&G Travels, Abbey Grace among others across different categories.

The airlines, including Ethiopian Airlines, Emirates, British Airways, Qatar among others also offered free tickets, which were won by deserving agents.