Travel Technology Needs Integration Capabilities

Travel Technology Needs Integration Capabilities

Customer Loyalty programs, new distribution technology and strategic alliances are all playing a significant role in today’s competitive marketplace. Loyalty programs have been used by the travel and tourism industry for years and remain an important marketing tool for Suppliers to attract and retain their best repeat customers. These programs have become an integral part of many the marketing plan for many businesses and can drive consumer behavior significantly.

With VIP special discounts and travel benefits being some of the most popular rewards offered by many industries, travel technology solutions that seamlessly integrate with company loyalty program can be a great benefit and good way to ensure your customers receive the best deals possible. Lucrative discount offers as well as value add offers loyal consumers have earned can be seamlessly integrated into their travel booking. Loyalty program integration with an online booking engine can come in the form of gift cards, travel rewards, discounts or even actual merchandise with the integration being seamless to the end user and relatively quick to set up.

Businesses have been quick to learn that moving sales to E-commerce saves them time and money. Online sales are typically the most cost effective way to serve customers today and innovative new technology helps software solution providers design and develop flexible & fully scalable applications that easily grow with any size business. As the use of mobile devices has exploded over the past few years, easy to use mobile ready solutions have become an important extension of any online retailer. Airline reservations were the first to gain popularity with online booking solutions, so it makes sense that an air mobile app is quickly becoming an important selling tool in today’s mobile society. These state of the art air mobile apps use all the powerful administrative features that an online booking engine has to offer combined with the ease and mobility of a smart phone.

And with the price competitive marketplace that exists today, Supplier availability and fares can fluctuate by the minute. Airfare wars, last minute hotel room discounts or free cabin upgrades on cruises can all change the offer. Travel technology solutions that leverage the live connections large Global Distribution Systems (GDS) like Amadeus, Sabre or Travelport have with airlines are able to provide the latest fare availability and complete an airline booking in real time.

Travel technology solutions must provide the ability to easily control business rules such as price adjustments, value add offers or targeted promotions. The flexibility to control business rules a variety of ways can be critical, so here is where you want to make sure the application has the flexibility you’ll need. For example price adjustments should have the flexibility to be calculated as a fixed dollar amount ($) -or- a percentage (%) of the fare and apply to certain sales channels or affiliate groups. Business Rules should be easy to define and include filters for a specific suppliers, or product.

As competing for customers becomes increasingly competitive, travel technology solutions should include features like loyalty program integration, mobile ready applications and secure, live connections to supplier content. Finding an online booking engine 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.

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Upgrade Your Travel Booking Engine Lately?

Upgrade Your Travel Booking Engine Lately

Technology changes at lightning speed and if you haven’t upgraded your travel booking engine in a while, you are probably missing out on some huge potential benefits for your business. Solutions for researching, shopping, and purchasing travel products have come a long way over the past several decades.

There is so much content available from so many different online travel solutions that it is sometimes difficult to know which to choose for your business. While some booking engines may have the functionality and features you need, they may not have the content your clients are looking for. In other cases, you may find a travel booking engine with all the right content, but it is missing the functionality and features you need. Finding the right combination of a single online booking solution can be challenging and a bit overwhelming for many.

The best approach is to start by thinking about what products your clients need and how they prefer to shop and purchase travel. Then consider opportunities to perhaps increase the scope of the sale with your clients and maybe include the option to purchase ancillary products like Travel Insurance protection. These products cover the traveler in the event of cancelled flights, lost bags as well as trip cancellations due to illness or bad weather and is often overlooked in the booking process.

Tools that innovate an agency’s marketing capabilities continue to evolve as technology advances. Travel agency owners can now customize and deliver the right marketing message to both their agents and customers. The typical Rules Engine in older booking engines used to be rigid and time-consuming to manage, but new technology has changed this. Today’s travel booking engine provides the ability to quickly and easily define business rules allows business owners to maximize profits. It should include the ability to promote value add offers or special deals right in the availability display. It needs to be able to keep up with all the different specials and promotions that Suppliers make available today and adjustments should be easily defined with the flexibility to meet your specific needs. Today’s travel booking solutions can offer numerous different filters and rule types allowing agents to choose from options such as rewards points, value add offers, discounts, and mark-ups. These rules may need to be applied individually or combined.

Dynamic Packaging products have become quite popular as consumers look to create their own travel experience. The ability to combine airline reservations, hotel bookings, transfers and even cruise vacations has become a major revenue source for many travel agencies. Dynamic packaging extends the entire sales process from simply selling an airline ticket to creating a completely unique travel experience. Most are developed as an extension of the existing Booking Engine and are designed to allow both agents and consumers to package and price flights, hotels, and other travel products in real time.

Finding a travel booking engine 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 tools to automate your travel business 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.

The World is Just A Few Clicks Away Thanks To Travel Technology

The World is Just A Few Clicks Away Thanks To Travel Technology

Thanks to the advances in online travel technology, access to book travel anywhere in the world is truly just a few clicks away for anyone with an internet connection. Airline reservations, hotel accommodations and even cruise vacations can all be booked quickly and easily online. Travel agents have been quick to learn this and have launched their own travel agency websites with online booking engines. But with so many suppliers offering so many different deals, keeping track of price adjustments and promoting special offers can be a full time job for many travel website owners. In order to keep pace with changing prices and the multitude of special promotions that Suppliers offer, travel technology solutions must have the capability to quickly and easily adjust a product’s selling price and include value add offers right in the availability display. This includes powerful business rule features that allow Client’s licensing these applications to easily define their markup, discount, value add offers and more while supporting traditional Business to Business to (B2B) as well as Business to Consumer (B2C) channels.

In addition to the basic functions such as markup and discount, todays travel technology must incorporate custom rule types such as fixed deposit amounts, master promotions and agent commissions. 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 a specific Rule by affiliate agency, supplier, departure date & location, destination and more. With numerous powerful filters, some solutions allow rules to even be defined according to the day week and time of day a booking is made. And in many cases newly added or modified rules are applied almost instantly, ensuring the best deals are offered to customers.

Travel technology solutions can provide operational efficiencies and reduce overall cost to serve a customer. Fully customizable, these applications automate processes and increase revenues while they reduce the time and effort required to complete a travel booking. Many online booking engines include a vast amount of descriptions linked to media files & rich content to assist in the shopping process. Live access to content is provided to be sure the most accurate availability and pricing is used. 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.

The travel technology solutions available today makes it easy for any size agency to compete with the largest online players. Many are easily customizable to match an agency’s brand identity and provide the features and tools to manage business online. Online travel booking engines can lead to more profits, but only after careful planning and successful implementation. Launching an online booking engine alone will not guarantee you receive bookings from your own website, you’ll need to also implement a solid online business strategy.

So 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 Technology Solutions Vary

Travel Technology Solutions Vary

Today’s best travel technology solutions are designed serve multiple sales distribution channels. There are Business-to-Business (B2B) solutions for Agents to use, Business-to-Consumer (B2C) solutions for Customers shopping online, and even Business-Business-Consumer (B2B2C) solutions that allow an agency owner to extend their reach to include outside Agents looking for their own web presence. And there are applications designed to book all types of travel components.

Online air booking engines can help your travel business increase revenues while reducing the time and effort required to complete an airline booking. Some even have the ability to simultaneously search multiple content sources for the best price. Revenue management tools can mark up or mark down a product’s selling price by airline, itinerary, class of service, dates and more. And some airline reservation systems even provide access to services and amenities like interactive seat maps so passengers can easily select their seat, request special services or make their onboard meal selection in advance.

Hotel Booking Engines include the ability to search for a hotel near specific points of interest or neighborhoods within a city. Links to media files & rich content assist the User with selecting the right hotel property during the shopping process. Some travel technology solutions even use innovative responsive technology that automatically adjusts the screen display layout based on the type of device being used.

Even cruise vacations can be booked easily online with the right cruise booking software. A cruise booking engine needs to include a vast amount cruise line, cruise ship and cabin descriptions to assist during the shopping & booking process. Links to media files & rich content such as cabin photos, ship images and deck plans enhance the User experience and are often integrated throughout the booking engine display.

A hosted Booking Engine’s headers, footers and style sheets can sometimes be easily customized to provide a seamless online experience. Complete private label versions are also supported where the complete layout can be customized to meet specific requirements. It is best when Live access to supplier content is provided to be sure the most accurate availability and pricing is used. And customer loyalty programs have become so popular with travel suppliers making it critical to include a customer’s loyalty program ID with the reservation.

Travel technology solutions with dynamic packaging tools have become increasingly popular as consumers look for a single application for all their travel needs. Online dynamic packaging solutions are usually an extension of an existing booking engine but designed to allow agents as well as consumers to package and price cruises, flights, hotels and other travel products together in real time. Custom Packaging solutions allow agency owners to custom tailor a specific travel package and sell it online.

Not 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 Technology Solutions For Today’s Trends

Travel Technology Solutions For Today's Trends

The new year provides a sense of a fresh start and is a great time to get things in order and make some changes to improve our personal and professional lives. It is an excellent time evaluate the travel technology solutions your using and to reflect on the previous year’s success and failures so you can adjust your business plan moving forward. A key factor to consider is what travel trends consumers will be looking for in the coming year and what travel technology solutions are available for you to reach them. Luckily there are a ton of trend forecasters out there studying consumer trends and ready to share what they believe will be “big” in travel over the next 12 months. Some of the suggestions you have probably heard before such as longer trips for many Baby Boomers and the increasing popularity of cruise vacations.

The rise of sustainable travel and Ecotourism is a trend that can be associated with the fact that so many consider preserving natural resources and protecting the environment extremely important. As a result, many have not only adjusted how they live on a daily basis, but also how and where they decide to spend their vacation.

The physical fitness craze has even spilled over into travel with may now looking to make their travel plans around various races or events they plan to compete in. To capture this market, some have started to develop city packages around events such as marathons or other races that their clients are participating in. A local running club or sports team can sometimes be an excellent source of information and may even be able to provide a list of potential interested clients. Music festivals and other major events also draw huge crowds and can be an excellent opportunity to create a custom package for potential out of town customers interested in attending the event.

Activity based vacations have become popular with today’s consumer looking to do something more than just sitting on a beach sipping a cold drink. Scuba diving packages, rock climbing expeditions and even bicycle vacation packages are all becoming increasingly popular. You need to Identify where the sales opportunities are and what travel technology solutions are available to pull it all together.

And don’t forget that the mobile revolution is one of the biggest social trends of all, so look for travel technology solutions built using the latest responsive technology to ensure your online solution is easily available to customers regardless of the type of device they choose to use. Research indicates that many consumers use different devices as they research and eventually purchase products online. For example, many consumers start their initial research using their smartphone, but switch to a Laptop to complete the purchase. Others may choose to use a handheld device exclusively. Either way, you need to be ready to serve these customers on the device they choose.

Finding 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 can be just as important.

Collaboration Creates Great Travel Technology

Collaboration Creates Great Travel Technology

Experience has shown that some of the best solutions are the result of collaboration. Travel Suppliers and Travel Agents each provide valuable input to assist in the design and development of the ultimate travel booking engine. Each of these entities play an important role in the process and any solution needs to meet their unique, individual needs.

Airline reservation systems have been around for decades. They were started initially by the major airlines in order to automate reservations as their number of flights and associated bookings grew at an amazing pace. Initially these were internal reservation systems that were used by airline reservation staff to confirm bookings and check flight information. As the airlines flight networks grew, it was not long before the airlines began offering Travel Agents their own version of these systems to book that particular airline. It was not long after that when strategic marketing partnerships brought car rental companies and hotels into the airline reservation equation and started offering these services as well.

Today’s travel technology solutions are a result of years of technological evolution and have helped lead the online revolution. Today’s online booking engines can provide the tools for any size business to compete with even the major online players. There are a countless number of travel booking engines available in the market today and choosing the right one for your business can be critical decision. You need to identify the various travel components you’ll need as well as how your clients prefer to research and book their travel arrangements. You’ll also want to consider any alliances or preferred relationships you have with suppliers or other travel agents to make sure they are included. Over the years, many travel agencies have formed closer working relationships with other individual agencies or large Consortia. The ability to expand distribution of an agency’s airfares to affiliated agencies quickly and easily is an important tool for many selling airline tickets today.

With so many airfares and so many agencies forming alliances, the ability for an air booking engine to simultaneously search multiple content sources for the best airfare can be a crucial advantage. Today’s competitive market requires agency owners have the flexibility to easily control a product’s selling price and maintain their competitive edge. Today’s best travel technology solutions allow business owners to adjust prices based on a wide range of criteria including travel or booking dates, supplier or class of service.

Travel technology solutions have even kept pace with the consumer trend of using mobile devices to research and book travel. For instance, there are dedicated air mobile apps available for those travel businesses looking for an app for their individual brand. For those who are simply looking to make their online booking tools “mobile friendly”, there are applications available that automatically adjust the screen size and layout based on the type of device being used. Mobile Apps and mobile responsive technology are not just for big business either. Travel software companies can now provide any size travel agency affordable solutions built with the latest technology.

Finding a technology solution with the right combination of options for your travel business can be a critical decision. Finding a technology partner with flexible solutions that will help you reach your customers when and how they shop can be just as important.