The internet is rife with advice on why you should digitize your business. It is assumed that software is ubiquitous in today’s business world. However, for the fence-sitters who are yet to digitize their business, what is it that you need to know about travel technology and travel software that will assist you to make a well informed choice of continuing without technology or leveraging technology?
The first step is to understand the types of Travel Software that are being used, and by whom?
Injecting technology components into the basic technology platform or travel agency booking engine can give your agency the ability to create unique specializations.
How can different types of travel businesses create specializations by choosing the right components of technology?
If you are an OTA or a Self-Service Booking provider, you will typically use an online B2C Portal or travel agency booking engine with the following basic components:
What should be your key differentiators while selecting your travel agency booking engine?
- Platform’s ability to quickly search the most relevant content
- Ability to window dress – launch offers and deals quickly and monetize them
- Automated management of multiple supplier contracts, policies, clauses, etc.
- A highly sophisticated BI (Business Intelligence) & Analytics system to understand your consumer behavior and market trends
- A robust CRM system and
- A good marketing/lead management portal
A Tour Operator essentially requires a B2C Portal or a tour operator booking engine and can also choose to take a B2B route, but your technology potion is little different from the OTA mix, you need a package builder.
What should be your major differentiators?
- A package builder that should enable your tour operator booking engine to manage package durations, categories and blackout dates
- A feedback and request based flow that will give your customers the option of negotiating and customizing tour itineraries
- Rates, offers and discounts management system
- Customer Relationship Management System and
- Most importantly, every inquiry counts – Workflow systems that let you track, how efficiently your business caters to customers who show interest
BI & analytics is important. However, you don’t need such heavy-duty systems used by OTAs.
If you are a DMC, you need a platform or travel software for DMCs that help you distribute your inventory to agencies across diverse markets and at the same time, helps you manage ground and last mile operations.
What should be your Key differentiators while short listing travel software for a DMC?
- Global distribution – Ability to create multi-market distribution networks
- Multi-lingual & Multi-currency booking support
- Capture all information pertaining to last mile operations
- Strong auto cancellation and cash flow management
You can literally, do without a BI system and rely on your networking and online trend research abilities.
If you are a Consortia or a Host Agency,it is important for you to find the best travel consortia software to build your ecosystem of affiliates and agents, and help them establish their own brands.
What should be your Key differentiators while choosing the right travel consortia software?
- Strong supplier management capability to distribute benefits to each member agency
- Technology for quick onboarding of affiliate and member agencies for host agencies
- MIS and reporting – Closely monitor performance across affiliates and suppliers
- Making members grow: Easily enable members to create their own brand identity
- Inbuilt communication tools – member motivation and retention
As a Consolidator, the accuracy and competitiveness of your inventory, decide your success. Your consolidator travel software needs to go the extra mile to ensure that your content is accurate and aggregated from diverse sources. We live in the world of electronic distribution so having a highly preferment API that agencies can consume is a must.
What should be your Key Differentiators while selecting your consolidator travel software?
- Accuracy of the content – Automated content aggregation and standardization
- The Richness of your inventory – Multi-source inventory aggregation
- Preformatted APIs that other agencies can consume
If you are a Niche Travel Agency (MICE or Specialized travel service provider) the type of niche travel agency software that you should be using is:-
What are your Key differentiators that need to be kept in mind while selecting your niche travel agency software?
- Your own contracted and negotiated inventory of specials – themes, travel products, merchandise, etc.
- The ability to create a unique experience from booking to fulfillment
- Inventory management tools to store and manage special inventory
- Creating Offer pages and promotions
I hope you found the above information useful; this is a brief guide to help you find your way around the often complex and fragmented domain of travel technology.
In our next article, we will discuss the different cost structures, generally offered by travel technology companies for implementing Travel Software and the parameters, based on which you should choose the right cost model for your travel business. Read our next article Exploring the nexus of travel & technology – Cost of Travel Software.
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