Innovation is Key to Booking Airlines Effieciently

Innovation is Key to Booking Airlines Effieciently

From the beginning, airlines have been driving efficiency through innovation with systems designed to automate processes and reduce the time required to complete an airline reservation. These systems have been providing travel industry professionals the ability to book air travel directly for decades. Early on they began to offer the ability to search schedule availability and price for flights by a variety of search criteria such a specific airline, flexible travel dates, nearby airports, nonstops only, etc. As the volume of an airline’s business grew and they began to offer more service options in advance, the airline reservation system quickly began to include these features as well. Advance seat Selection, special service requests, ordering onboard meals in advance all became additional options in an online booking engine as well. Credit Card validation, AVS checks, Airline blocking, ticket type checks as well as consolidator and negotiated fares soon followed.

Many travel companies have found that the airline booking engine they can license from an experienced travel technology company to be more powerful and cost effective than developing, hosting and maintaining it themselves. For those looking to control their own user interface, some technology companies provide the capability for Clients to host all User interfaces on their own server while using a web services interface to their booking engine hosted by their technology partner.

There are many types of hosted solutions available including everything from the basic “out of the box” airline reservation system to more customizable applications that include unique sub-domains for your specific version of the application to minimize the appearance customers are being redirected from your website. The best of these allow for booking engine’s headers, footers and style sheets to be customized to maintain your brand identity and provide a seamless online experience for your customers. Some travel companies may require a fully custom application where they design the complete layout to meet their own specific requirements. Mobile apps are now available that can extend an airline booking engine to a dedicated app. Many clients are also choosing mobile ready applications built using responsive technology that automatically provides support of various mobile and tablet screen sizes so customers can easily view and navigate through the booking process regardless of the device they are using.

As is the case with many things, the more that you need customized, the higher your costs are likely to be. So remember to evaluate the benefit that customization brings compared to the associated additional costs.

Live access to content is critical for any airline reservation system. Some air booking engines even have the ability to simultaneously search multiple content sources for the best price, allowing an agency to combine their own content with content from a partner agency. Management Tools include the ability to mark up or mark down a product’s selling price by airline, itinerary, class of service, dates and more. Some even allow for promotional codes to be set up that can be redeemed during the booking process.

Finding an airline booking engine that can help your online business drive efficiencies through innovation is important. Finding the right technology partner to help make this happen is the key to success.

Advertisements

Choosing The Right Airline System for Your Travel Business

Article - 2

Gone are the days when airline passengers needed to visit their local travel agent to make an airline reservation. The online revolution of commerce has touched just about every business and the airline industry is no exception. Today, customers can check an airline reservation system for pricing and availability from just about anywhere. Online travel booking engines have made it easier for customers to research and purchase airline tickets or reserve a hotel room. The advantages these online booking engines offer customers range from quick and easy price comparisons of several airlines to allowing travelers to select their seat or reserve a meal. Some even include the ability to simultaneously search multiple content sources for the best fare on a specific airline.

The convenience including a flight reservation system on your website allows customers to interact with your travel business any time of day, no matter whether you are busy at the moment or not. Simply put, having an online booking engine that is easy to use and readily available allows your business to be ready when your customers are. Not to mention the convenience of eliminating the need for your customers to make an extra trip to your agency location. A good online travel booking engine allows your customers to easily research and book their flight arrangements at their own pace as well as where and when they are ready.

Some air booking engines even include the ability to simultaneously search multiple content sources for the best fare. This allows them to take advantage of some potentially lower rates offered by an affiliated agency or partner by seamlessly including these lower rates in the display. Others may look for the ability to connect their flight reservation system with affiliated agents and their own individual or websites which can be another important tool to extend their reach. The more advanced air booking engines even allow for the Booking engine’s header & footer to be customized to match a specific affiliate’s unique branding.

Today’s airline reservation system needs to keep pace with the changing marketplace and include the ability easily make price adjustments and include value adds in the display. A good air booking engine will provide the ability to adjust an airfare based on the date booked, dates travelled, airline, flight number and even the type of airfare used. Value add offers such as free travel insurance or other merchandising opportunities can be included right in the availability display in some cases, alerting customers to where they will find the best value in addition to lowest price.

Lastly, you may want to consider an airline reservation system that includes robust reporting tools to help you track your business. Predefined reports that provide basic Booking Statistics including basic customer reports, booking modified status reports to track bookings with a change in status and even search statistics to identify what customers are looking for verses actually booking using the flight reservation system.

Finding a flight reservation system with the right combination of options for your business can be critical and the key to the success of your online travel business. Finding a technology partner with the right solutions to meet your needs can be just as important.

It Started with Flight Booking Software

Flight Booking Software

Today, no travel technology solution is complete without some type of flight booking software included. The airline industry was an early pioneer of automating the sale of travel and introduced the first computer reservation systems decades ago. I started my career as an airline reservation agent and remember attending weeks of training to learn how to use the first in-house computerized reservation systems. Gone were the days when we would scramble around the reservation center to find the actual “Book” that kept track of the customers booked on a certain flight. The “Book” was replaced by clunky green screen monitors connected to a massive Computer Reservation Systems also known as the CRS. We were required to memorize cryptic formats to check schedule availability, pricing and to complete a reservation. While many complained about the time and effort it took to learn how to use the new flight booking systems, it wasn’t long before everyone saw just how much more efficient it was compared to using the old reservation books.

These airline reservation systems continued to evolve, adding updated flight information and other services to assist customers and travel agents. Airlines quickly discovered the benefit of expanding the access to these systems to their best travel agent customers, providing them instant access to availability and pricing as well as the ability to book flights for their customers.

These early centralized computer reservation systems began to add more features and additional travel components such as hotels and car rentals and eventually evolved into early versions of the first generation of Global Distribution Systems or GDSs. These computer reservation systems were deployed in travel agency offices worldwide and became critical for both airlines looking to increase the distribution of their product as well as the travel agents looking to serve their customers more efficiently.

It wasn’t long before the internet revolution exploded and suddenly consumers were shopping and purchasing just about everything online. As these online travel technology solutions became more widely used, many travel agents identified the need for online travel technology solutions that automate processes and are easily customized to support their own unique brand identity. Today’s travel agent needs both a Business to Business (B2B) application as well as a Business to Consumer (B2C) application that automate processes and increase revenues while reducing the time and effort it takes a travel agent or consumer to complete a transaction.

Travel Agents need to be able to quickly adjust a product’s selling price or include special offers right in the availability display. Flight booking software needs to have the flexibility to define a business rule to a specific market, travel or booking dates, suppliers and more. Applications should be designed to meet the unique requirements of Global Marketplaces and easily handle multiple currencies as well as multiple languages.

Early adoption of automation combined with the fact that a flight reservation is often the starting point when making travel plans, make flight booking software a key component for most travel technology solutions. Finding a travel technology solution with the right combination of options for your business can be critical to the success of your travel business. Finding a technology partner with solutions to help you easily and cost effectively reach today’s mobile consumer where and how they shop for travel can be just as important.

Does Your Airline Reservation System Support Your Brand?

Does Your System Support Your Brand.jpg

Building a brand for your business in a way that allows you to take control of your niche market as well as expand into new markets is one of the keys to the success of any business. Selling travel is no different and in fact, a strong brand name is even more important when selling travel online. The airlines were the first in the travel business to successfully distribute their product electronically on a large scale. The evolution of the airline reservation system was key to this success and remains a key component in any of today’s online travel booking engines.

Airlines have focused on building a strong brand for themselves and those that set themselves apart from the competition survived and those that did not are no longer around. A strong brand helps set your business apart from the competition in a crowded online marketplace, can create strong customer loyalty and may allow you to charge a premium for the services you provide your customers.

Your airline reservation system should help you increase your revenues, gain new customers and expand your business into new markets. The application you choose should be a flexible & fully scalable application that easily grows with your business while maintaining your own unique brand identity.

You’ll want an application with easy to use tools to manage your business, including an administration section that allows you to quickly and easily define business rules that adjust a product’s selling price, include value add offers right in the availability screen or determine what content source is used for a particular type of search. Business rules should even provide the flexibility to have your affiliated agent websites following a unique set of business rules that you predefine specifically for each.

If you plan to enter new markets or expand internationally, you’ll need an application that meets the unique requirements of Global Marketplaces, such as an airline reservation system that can easily handle multiple currencies as well as multiple languages. And to reach today’s mobile consumer, you’ll need an application built using responsive technology that adjusts the display based on the type of device being used.

The strength of your “Brand” can be critical in the short term as well as the long term success of your business. Branding extends beyond your basic Marketing or Sales initiatives and touches every area of your business, including your online booking engine. So be sure to consider your online booking engine when developing and building a complete brand strategy for your business.

An online booking engine should result in operational efficiency and reduced costs for your business while helping you gain new customers and expand your business into new markets. The application you choose should be a flexible & fully scalable application that will help your business easily grow while protecting your own brand identity. Finding a travel booking application with the perfect combination of flexibility and features to support your brand is important to the success of your business. Finding the right technology partner to work with is even more important.

Is All Flight Booking Software The Same?

Flight Booking Software

While much of the flight booking software available in the market today appears the same on the surface, there can be huge differences hidden in the flexibility and tools some provide that can give you an edge over the competition. When evaluating any travel booking software, you need to consider if it provides your business the tools it needs to succeed in today’s highly competitive marketplace. Your business needs to be prepared for battle and have the right weapons and battle plan in place to win.

Your online booking engine can be your own “Trojan Horse” in this regard and help you increase your revenues, gain new customers and expand your business into new markets before your competition realizes what you’re up to. A little research will help you find an application that provides the administrative tools you need to manage your business the way you want. The flight booking software you choose should be a flexible & fully scalable application that easily grows with your business while maintaining your unique brand identity.

It’s no secret that today’s traveler shops and purchases travel using a variety of methods and tools. Some may still call or visit their travel agent while others may choose to shop online using their laptop or even their mobile device. You’ll need an application built using responsive technology that automatically adjusts the user screens to fit the type of device being used to capture today’s mobile consumer.

Your travel booking engine needs to provide both “business to business” (B2B) as well as “business to consumer” (B2C) interfaces. You may even want to consider an application that allows you to extend your reach to affiliate agency websites via a “business to business to consumer” (B2B2C) interface. Make sure the booking engine you choose provides you the ability to extend your reach the way you require.

You’ll want an application with easy to use administrative tools that allow you to quickly manage your business. For example, look for an application with an administration section that gives you the control to quickly define preset business rules to adjust a product’s selling price or include value add offers right in the availability screen. This helps ensure you always offer your customers the best value. Business rules should even provide the flexibility to have your agents, affiliated agencies and websites following a unique set of business rules that you predefine specifically for each.

If you partner with another agency or use air consolidators, you’ll want flight booking software that allows you to automatically simultaneously search multiple sources to make sure you are always offering your clients the best airfare available.

An online booking engine should result in operational efficiency and reduced costs for your business while helping you gain new customers and expand your business into new markets. The application you choose should be a flexible & fully scalable application that will help your business easily grow while protecting your own brand identity. Finding a travel booking engine with the right combination of flexibility and features can be critical to the success of any travel business. Finding the right technology partner to work with is an important first step.

Taking Flights Online with Flight Reservation System

Taking Flights Online with Flight Reservation System

As more and more people change how and where they shop, nearly every industry has seen a surge in online sales. The airlines were early pioneers in expanding their business online and helped pave the way for the rest of the travel industry. Today you can purchase just about anything online whether it be retail merchandise or making travel arrangements.

As more travel agencies are forced to close their traditional brick and mortar locations in search of more cost effective options, there has been a surge in online travel agencies or OTAs. One of the most important tools these new businesses need to succeed in today’s crowded marketplace is a good online flight reservation system.

Whether a client is looking to buy an airline ticket for a business trip or family getaway, the right airline booking engine can help get it done quickly and easily. Today’s online booking engines are equipped with amazing functionality and features that have been specifically designed to make the booking process with airlines quick and simple. The right flight reservation system can play an important role in streamlining the entire airline reservation process as well as provide the control a travel agent needs to manage their business.

Every online travel agency has it’s own unique style and way that it prefers to conduct it’s business. A complete online booking engine often comes with several flexible features that can be easily changed and modified based on individual customer requirements. Things such as website headers, footers and style sheets can be customized to provide a seamless online experience for customers. Complete private label version are also sometimes available that allow clients to change the complete layout of their online booking engine.

Today’s travel software must be designed to provide the flexibility to serve consumers when and how they choose. Mobile ready applications that are built using innovative responsive technology can help with this since the template screens automatically change to fit the type of device the customer is using to access the booking engine. Some will even provide you with a dedicated air mobile app that takes full advantage of the powerful administrative features and functionality your flight reservation software offers combined with the flexibility and ease of use a handheld device offers.

The new breed of air booking engines can also equip travel agents with easy to use revenue management tools that allow them to quickly adjust a products selling price by website, airline, itinerary and even class of service. Many of today’s travel booking engines support multiple languages and currencies, a critical feature for those looking to expand their travel business into new markets.

An online booking engine is an important investment for anyone operating an online travel agency. Choosing the right flight reservation system will not only help your business automate the airline booking process, but it will increase your company revenues while reducing the time and effort required to complete a transaction. Finding an airline booking engine with the right combination of features can be critical to the success of any travel business. Finding the right technology partner can be even more important.

Keeping Up With Airline Perks & Ancillary Charges

Keeping Up With Airline Perks Ancillary Charges

The airlines have found new and innovative ways to charge for special perks and ancillary services. Booking fees, baggage charges, even onboard purchase of drinks and meals in many instances. Advanced seat selection has been offered by the airline for quite some time and many airlines have even found innovative ways to charge additional fees to reserve the best seats. In many cases the amount of the additional fee will vary depending upon the where a specific seat is located within the cabin. Do you like to reserve that aisle seat in the forward part of the cabin? Be prepared to pay an additional fee. Except of course for the most loyal frequent flyer program members who are often given access to newly invented perks like “preferred seating” and can reserve these seats free of charge!

There was a time not too long ago when it was mainly frequent flyers who thought about things like advance seat selection or reserving an onboard meal. As more and more of the world’s population travels more frequently, access to these ancillary services are now important to most customers and critical features for any flight booking engine to provide.

The airlines were early adopters of customer loyalty programs and have tried to cater to their best customers by providing special perks. Dedicated customer service lines to call, waiver of certain fees and complimentary upgrades to First class are all benefits airlines offer. Your flight booking engine needs to be able to capture and share a customer’s loyalty program information to not only ensure individual customer loyalty programs are credited, but so that a customer receives the onboard service perks they are entitled to.

The importance of how these airline perks and ancillary charges influence a customer’s individual experience became very apparent to me during a recent trip. I was travelling to a destination that my regular airline did not offer the best schedule to. I decided to try a different carrier since it offered the only non stop flight and the schedule worked well with mine. Booking my flight online was quick and easy and I received what I thought was a decent fare.

It wasn’t until I arrived at the airport when I started to notice a real difference. It started with a long line at the ticket counter. I decided to carry my bag with me rather than pay the airline to check a bag. I thought to myself, priority access does make a difference, shorter lines and waived baggage fees.

When I got to the departure gate, I noticed I was in Boarding Group 6, one of the last groups to be called. I thought to myself, will there be room for my carry on bag? Once on board I made my way to my middle seat since the flight booking engine I was using did not give me the option to reserve a better seat in advance. Something I would have been more than happy to pay extra for if the airline reservation system I was using gave me the option to.

Finding a travel booking engine with the right combination of features can have a big influence on an individual customer’s overall travel experience and therefore critical to the success of any travel business. Finding the right technology partner is a good first step.