Travel Agent Software Needs to Keep Pace

Travel Agent Software Needs to Keep Pace

Technology has changed the way the world interacts and selling travel is no exception. The travel agent software available today has automated and customized the entire booking process while providing comprehensive and innovative solutions for travel agents to serve their customers better. There are solutions available today for travel agents that will make the entire shopping and booking process quicker and easier for themselves as well as for their customers.

For example, currently planning and booking a cruise can be a long process and generally involves multiple online and offline steps. It starts with online research which may involve cruise line websites, cruise reviews, online travel companies and social media applications. Many of today’s consumers shopping for a cruise seek advice from friends and family before they visit and/or talk to a traditional travel agent or call a cruise line representative. And online is no longer limited to using a desktop or laptop with many initial cruise searches were conducted on mobile devices. Integrating the online and offline research, shopping and booking experience is critical since many consumers will switch between various devices as they research and eventually purchase products.

The challenge is to integrate consumer online planning and research with the offline expertise of a traditional travel agent. One way to accomplish this goal is for the travel agency to deploy an online booking engine. This may sound counter intuitive for traditional agents who want to keep the booking offline, but allowing the consumer to plan online with an agency sponsored booking tool may represent one of the most important ways to integrate online and offline activity and capture the customer’s business.

Travel agent software must be easily integrated with the entire process and provide consistency in the shopping experience. Applications should have the most up to date availability and pricing along with detailed descriptions with pictures & images to assist both agents and consumers during the research, shopping and booking process. And for those looking to expand their reach into new markets, the ideal solution must also provide for localization of language, currency and market requirements.

Easy to use travel agent software should be built in a way that automates processes and reduces the amount of time it takes to make a booking. Many are designed to be so easy to use that they require minimal training and can have agents selling quickly. The application should be easy to use and contain the relevant information that a travel professional needs to research the options available. For example, finding the right hotel based on an individual customer’s specific needs is an important part of planning any trip, but can be overwhelming with so many options available. To help simplify the process and select the right hotel for a client, many hotel booking engines integrate links to media files & rich content to assist during the shopping process.

Finding travel agent software with the right combination of options for your business can be a critical decision. Finding a technology partner that will help you reach today’s mobile consumer where and how they shop for travel can be just as important.


Is Your Travel Agency Software Ready for Today’s Consumer?

Is Your Travel Agency Software Ready for Todays Consumer

The fact that travel agent software can be so critical to the success of any travel agency makes the solution an agency owner chooses an important decision. Some travel agents prefer to use an interface provided by the Supplier, while others may prefer to use third party tools that provide a single platform for multiple Suppliers. Deploying a solution that automates processes and increases bookings can be critical to the success of selling travel both via traditional retail sales locations as well as online.

With so many of today’s consumers starting their online research using their mobile devices, traditional travel agency owners need to consider deploying an online booking engine. Not necessarily to push the consumer to a self-booking solution, but rather as a tool to capture consumers shopping online at the initial research phase. It is essential that every travel agency manager understand the steps today’s consumer takes when researching and shopping for travel and to identify best way to capture these customers while eliminating any inefficiencies in the sales process.

Traditional travel agents who use the various Supplier interfaces available to make reservations are often confronted with the challenge of learning how each system works, creating the need to train agents on multiple systems and a challenge for agency managers. Keeping track of bookings and remembering which systems were used for a particular customer’s booking can bring an added layer of confusion. Agency owners may also want to ensure that a consistent marketing message is delivered to both consumers shopping online as well as Agents using a traditional B2B solution.

A single booking platform across all Suppliers is typically the best way to streamline the process into a single work flow while accessing comprehensive content across multiple suppliers. Having travel agents and consumers using a common platform also eliminates any discrepancies between an agent’s desktop and what the consumer sees online. Today’s innovative third-party travel agent software can provide the opportunity to create a standard booking experience across multiple suppliers for both consumers online as well as the agent’s desktop.

The administration and integration of travel agent software can be a critical factor as well. Travel Agency managers need a platform that can help control the booking process and create a common set of business rules to be used across the application. Agency owners need to ability to adjust a product’s selling price by a wide range of criteria including Supplier, dates, class of service, distribution channel and more. Pre-defined rules can prevent agent errors and highlight special agency offers while providing a better shopping experience and the ability to shift sales to preferred suppliers. Integration can also provide a more normalized invoicing and payment process with agency accounting and back-end systems, eliminating the need to manually retype this information. Integration can also help streamline the process and understand customer requirements better, especially for repeat customers.

Finding travel agent software that provides the right content, powerful business rules, and flexible distribution capabilities is an important decision for any travel agency owner. Finding the right technology partner to work with can be just as important.

Travel Booking Solutions Need To Combine Content

Travel Booking Solutions Need to Combine Content

Travel Booking Solutions have come a long way since the days when airlines first launched computerized reservation systems (CRS) decades ago. Some of the more advanced travel technology solutions available today allow Users to package different travel components such as Airline tickets, Hotel accommodations and even Cruise Vacations together to create their own unique travel experience. Travel Agents have done this manually for years, painstakingly coordinating a Client’s individual flight itinerary with hotel accommodations and ground transfers. The process a travel agent goes through to build a passenger’s complete itinerary has improved over the years as technology has advanced. New content that has become available has created additional choices for consumers and the online revolution has made the internet a key marketplace today. The innovative technology developed in recent years has also played a key role in the design and development of the travel booking engines used today.

Let’s face it, you can purchase just about anything via the internet today and travel is no exception. Whether you are looking to make a reservation with a specific airline, confirm hotel accommodations or make a car reservation, there’s an online booking engine ready to help you just a few clicks away. Even complete Cruise vacations can be easily researched and booked online using one of the many cruise booking engines available today. The online revolution has had a significant impact in how today’s consumers research, shop and purchase travel products today.

And there are more travel choices available than ever before. Everything from low cost airlines to legacy carriers. Full service hotels or rooms for rent via services like Airbnb. Value cruise lines that cater to families or high-end luxury cruise lines geared towards a more discerning adult passengers. And everything in between. Travel booking solutions not only have to offer all these options but also need to include the detailed information that allows both consumers and travel agents to easily understand the various options.

Value or price has been a driving factor for many online sales. However, years ago the best deals were usually found when purchasing a pre-packaged vacation from a traditional Tour Operator. Many of these tour packages came with preset travel dates and combined specific airline itineraries with a limited number of hotels that were available in the program. While many consumers enjoy the ease of purchasing their vacation as a package and at a low price, it wasn’t long before many wanted options.

As Consumer trends changed over the years, more and more customers began to look for travel packages customized to meet their specific needs. This trend led to the development of travel booking solutions offering custom packages as well as the ability for an Agent or Consumer to “dynamically” build their own travel package.

No matter what type of travel you sell, choosing a travel technology solution with the right combination of options for your business can be a critical decision. Finding a technology partner that will help you reach today’s mobile consumer with the content they are looking for can be just as important.

Travel Agent Software Can Make Travel Agent

Travel Agent Software Can Make The Agent

Booking with a travel agent has always been a great way for consumers to find the best travel deal. Not only is a good travel agent familiar with the variety of different travel options available, but they can often get their customers the best rate, extra amenities and even upgrades. A good travel agent helps with their customer’s entire trip and this includes getting the VIP access many look for.

The travel agent software used years ago required agents learn and use multiple supplier systems to book all of a client’s travel arrangements. It took hours to research the different travel options and a checklist was needed to ensure all the travel arrangements were confirmed and in place. Today using an online booking engine, agency owners are now able to streamline this process as they automate transactions while reducing the time and effort required.

The popularity of the internet as a marketplace has changed the way people research and shop and it seems like almost anything can be purchased online today. The travel industry is no exception and has been the driving force behind the development of innovative online booking solutions that have changed the way consumers as well as travel agents research and book all types of travel. Whether consumers research and book their travel online themselves or use a travel agent, consumers today have choices. Today anyone with an internet connection is just a few “clicks” away from being able to quickly and easily confirm their travel plans using an online booking engine.

The right travel agent software can give you the best of both worlds! A travel agency’s online booking engine can provide it’s customers the expertise they enjoy when using a travel agent combined with the ease and accessibility of an online booking engine. An online booking engine can also help an agency owner automate processes while they maximize revenues using innovative business control tools needed to manage any size travel business. In addition to the basic functions such as markup and discount, agency owners can even define additional filters to decide which type of booking or selling channel they want to apply a business rules to. Filters include the ability to define Rules by supplier, departure date, destination and more. Newly added or modified rules are often applied instantly so you always ensure the best deals are offered to customers.

Travel agent software can provide operational efficiencies and reduce overall cost to serve a customer. Many online booking engines include a vast amount of descriptions linked to media files & rich content to assist in the shopping process. And for those customers using a Smart Phone or Tablet, applications should be built using innovative responsive technology that automatically adjusts the layout of the display based on the type of device being used.

While technology has made it easier to research and book travel online, finding travel technology with right combination of content and product features can be a critical decision for your travel business. Finding the right technology partner can be just as important.

Travel Agent Software Can Make The Agent

Travel Agent Software Can Make The Agent.jpg

Booking with a travel agent has always been a great way to find the best deal. Not only is a professional travel agent familiar with the wide variety of different travel products available, they can often get you the best rate, extra amenities and even upgrades. A good travel agent can help with your entire trip including VIP access to local attractions and airport transfers. In short, how satisfied you are with your overall travel experience may depend upon the travel agent you choose or whether you go it on your own.

But like with most professions, the tools a travel agent uses can play a huge role in how successful they are. Travel agent software can vary dramatically when it comes to the content, features and distribution channels they support. Live access to supplier content should be provided to ensure the most accurate availability and pricing is used. A travel booking solution should reduce the amount of time it takes to complete a reservation and automate processes to make it easier for agents and financial staff to manage bookings. Tools that automatically cross check a booking with a Supplier can eliminate costly errors while the automatic export of booking data for integration with external systems can save a tremendous amount of time and resources.

Travel agent software needs to include the business management tools that provide an agency owner the tools they need to adjust a product selling price or deliver a specific marketing message directly to User in the availability display. Targeted promotions and special offers can set your business apart from competition with unique offerings and VIP service and should be easy to set up and define. Display Biasing capabilities can even provide the ability to promote preferred cruise suppliers with preferential placement in the availability display. While optional products such as Dynamic Packaging allow for Users to package and price airline reservations, hotel accommodations, even cruise bookings live using a travel shopping cart. Many dynamic packaging products have been developed as an extension of an existing Booking Engine and take advantage of existing live connections with various suppliers. While custom packaging features allow agents to tailor make a travel itinerary to be sold online to consumers as a Package.

Content Source can play a key role with any travel agent software and not just with packaging engines. Access to the major GDSs, Hotel aggregators, Cruise lines and other content specific to your client’s travel needs can be critical in determining how successful your business is! You may even want to consider integration with travel insurance providers for ancillary revenues and added service. For example, ancillary products like a cruise data cache with the latest updates on cruise line pricing and availability can help you develop unique offerings or promote when the lowest price on a particular ship or itinerary is available and give you an edge over the competition.

Finding travel agent software with the right combination of options for your travel business can be critical to your success. Finding the right technology partner can be just as important.

Travel Software Comes In Different Shapes & Sizes

Travel Software Comes In Different Shapes Sizes

Like most things, Travel Software comes in many shapes and sizes with solutions to fit just about any size travel business or budget. The key is finding the right fit for your business.

One of the areas that travel agent software can vary greatly is in what some refer to as the ‘Rules Engine’. Some simply provide the ability to adjust a products selling price, while others go a step further and allow travel agents to customize and deliver a specific marketing message to both agents and customers. The typical Rules Engine used to be rigid and time-consuming to use, but this has changed as technology has evolved. Rather than a limited selection of Rule parameters, some innovative online booking engines offer 20+ filters and rule types, allowing agents selling cruises to choose from options such as on-board credits, rewards points, value adds, discounts, mark-ups, etc. They can be applied individually or combined. The same customizable approach is used with defining price adjustments, giving agents the ability to sets rates, commission levels and more.

The right travel agent software can also improve the entire business process for agents and financial staff. Providing tools to manage bookings like the ability to cross check a booking with Supplier’s internal system can eliminate the need to call a Supplier to verify a booking was received and reduce the chances of any errors. Some applications can even automatically double-check bookings through every step of the process. Export of the booking information for use with other critical systems such as CRM and accounting systems can streamline the process and improve the accuracy and timeless of critical financial information.

There are so many travel options in the market today and the competition for customers is greater than ever. Access to content options can make a critical difference, so look for travel agent software that is fast and flexible enough to allow agents to search multiple content sources for the best price. And for increased speed and accuracy, look for applications that Cache data to improve response time and continuously update the cache data for the most up to date information. Quicker response times can help increase your agents productivity and earning power.

Don’t miss an opportunity to maximize your sales by expanding the type of products you offer customers. Consider adding the option to include an airline reservation for your customers booking a cruise. Or a packaging engine that uses Air as the base of the transaction and then adds other travel products like hotel accommodations or activities. Travel agent software with packaging modules provide the features and capability to allow agents and/or consumers to make their own vacation package with flights, hotel accommodations, activities and more. You even have the option to create a predefined package with fix components or allow the agent and/or consumer to dynamically package it themselves.

Finding a travel software with the right combination of options for your business can be a critical decision. Finding a technology partner that will help you reach today’s mobile consumer with the right content can be just as important.

Travel Agent Software Needs Complete Content

Travel Agent Software Needs Complete Content

Have you ever started to research plans for a trip or vacation in the middle of the night and you wanted to confirm all aspects of your travel right then and there? The travel booking solutions available today make this completely possible. Thanks to cutting edge technology innovations, confirming your travel arrangements no longer requires endless visits and/or phone calls with a travel agent. Today’s online travel agency provides consumers the ability to research and book all aspects of their trip themselves with all the benefits of using a travel agent.

Selling travel online is not just for the large online travel companies that dominate the market. Today’s travel agent software can be easily customized to support an individual agency’s own unique “Look & Feel” and serve as an easy to use online booking engine for travel agents and consumers alike. These web-based applications are designed to automate processes, increase revenues and reduce time and effort required to complete a transaction. Many are hosted by a technology provider with the headers, footers and style sheets customized to match the agency’s look & feel to provide a seamless online experience for customers. Complete customized versions are also supported where an agency can change the complete layout and flow of the booking engine if they desire.

Live access to content is provided to be sure the most up to date availability and pricing is used. Travel agent software typically uses an agency’s specific ID when communicating with suppliers like an airline. But airline reservations are not the only travel product that you can book on line. Hotels have been making their content available online as well for years and cruise is one of the fastest growing areas in online travel today. Improved technology combined with the fact that more and more people are taking cruises for the first time has made booking cruises a huge opportunity for online travel businesses. As cruise lines constantly add new ships and new itineraries, it is important that any solution include all the important information about the cruise line an ship as well as detailed cabin descriptions linked to media files & rich content such as cabin photos, ship images and deck plans to assist in the shopping process. Similar to air, the cruise booking engine should use live pricing and availability during the search and booking process as well.

Today’s state of the art travel booking solutions include the business management tools needed to control pricing and related marketing messages. Revenue management tools should provide the ability to adjust a product’s selling price, highlight value add offers in the availability display. Applications should be designed to meet the unique requirements of Global Marketplaces and easily handle multiple currencies as well as multiple languages. Travel booking solutions should include flexible & fully scalable online reservation engines that can easily grow with your business while maintaining your unique identity.

So whether your clients are looking to book an airline ticket, reserve a hotel room or even plan that perfect cruise vacation, the right travel agent software can help you serve them quicker and easier. Finding the right solution for your online travel business will play an important role in determining your success. Finding the right technology partner may be even more important