Content Is Key For Travel Booking Solutions

Content in Key for Travel Booking Solutions

There’s such a vast amount of travel content available today and so many different online travel booking solutions available with just a few clicks of a mouse, it is sometimes difficult to know which is the best fit for your needs. While certain booking solutions may have the functionality and features you are looking for, they may not have the supplier inventory your customers want. In other cases, you may spot an online booking solution with just the content you need, but find that it is lacking the features and functionality you require. The solution to your problems may be found with an online booking engine that has the features and functionality to properly manage your business along with flexible supplier connection capability which will allow you to access various content sources for different travel products.

If your agency is selling multiple travel products, you may want your booking engine to access hotel content using one source, but look to use a totally different connection for your airline bookings or perhaps several other sources when booking a cruise. Finding the all the right travel related content sources in a single online booking solution that has the features and functionality you need can be overwhelming to most initially or a bit of a challenge at best.

Some of the more advanced travel booking solutions even allow you to choose specific content sources by Supplier, providing the ultimate in content source flexibility. You may want to use one GDS ID to make most of your airline bookings, except for a few markets where you prefer to check another GDS ID for the fares of an air consolidator. Your air booking engine needs to be able to quickly and easily support these different connections and know when to use each. Accessing the right content source, for specific content can play a role in determining your success.

As cruise line preferred supplier relationships become increasingly important to securing the best price and commission levels, biasing the cruise line availability display to show preferred suppliers first has become an important tool for many agency owners. Some cruise lines have been quick to recognize the benefits biasing the display may bring and may offer increased commissions and marketing support to agencies with an online booking solution with this capability.

Travel booking solutions also need the ability to quickly and easily define pre-set business rules so agency owners can adjust a product selling price or promote value add offers and special deals right in the availability display. Simply put, today’s online booking engine needs to keep up with all the different specials and promotions that Suppliers make available today. Selling price adjustments and value add offers need to be easy to define and provide the flexibility to set rules by a specific supplier, travel dates, booking dates, booking channel and more.

Finding a travel booking solutions that has the functionality and content you need is an important decision for your business. Finding the right technology partner to assist you in reaching your customers where they shop can be even more important.

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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.

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.

The Cruise Booking Solution

The Cruise Booking Solution

With the popularity of cruise vacations growing at a record pace, cruise booking solutions have become an increasingly important component of any travel agency’s leisure business plan. As airline commissions began to dwindle, many travel agency owners were forced to look for alternative revenue sources. Many shifted focus to Leisure travel where higher commissions for packaged vacations were an option for some while others focused on the rapidly growing cruise market. The cruise industry has been experiencing sustained growth for decades and shows no signs of slowing down. The increased commission rate cruise lines pay travel agents combined with the high ticket price for many cruise itineraries have made selling cruises something every travel agent needs to consider. This industry shift happen to coincide with the early days of the internet revolution so it wasn’t long before online cruise booking solutions began to be available.

Travel Agents have always been a great resource to sort through the different vacation options and help their customers select the right vacation option for them. Their help and expertise can certainly can make any vacation easier to plan as well as more enjoyable overall. After all, planning a vacation should not make you feel like you need one. Cruise booking solutions should be designed to help travel agents automate processes and increase revenues. A cruise booking engine needs to support both travel agent and consumer Users with the headers, footers and style sheets customized to provide a seamless online experience.

And in order to keep pace with the multitude of special promotions that cruise lines offer, cruise booking solutions should include the capability to quickly and easily adjust a product’s selling price and include value add offers right in the availability display. The application should incorporate custom rule types such as fixed cruise deposit amount, variable onboard credits, master promotions and agent commissions. Agents should be able to define additional filters and decide which type of booking or selling channel they want to apply a specific business rules to. Newly added or modified rules should be applied almost instantly so that anyone accessing the cruise booking engine gets the best deal possible.

To assist consumers as well as travel agents in the shopping process, cruise booking solutions also need to include a vast amount cruise line, cruise ship and cabin descriptions linked to media files & rich content such as cabin photos, ship images, and deck plans. This rich content will help both travel agents and consumers during the research, shopping and booking process.

Some more advanced online cruise booking solutions can seamlessly process cross-border bookings in multiple currencies and localize the display to meet local market requirements. The ability to provide cruise booking solutions in multiple languages allows cruise retailers using these solutions to reach new customers in the language they speak. A global product with multi-language and multi-currency capabilities which has been localized to meet unique market requirements can help enable an online travel agency (OTA) become a global retailer.

Finding online travel software with the right combination of options for your business can be a critical decision. Finding the right technology partner can be just as important.

Hotel Reservation Software Can Increase Sales

Hotel Reservation Software Can Increase Sales

The internet has changed the way the hotels are researched and booked today. But there are so many hotel options available on the market that it can be overwhelming for many consumers. This is why finding a professional travel agent can be an important first step. Travel agents are a great resource to help consumers research options and can find the best deal possible. Customers who use a travel agent often get the best deals and VIP treatment upon arrival. Travel Agents are experts in the industry and many have negotiated special deals and amenities for their clients. Many have launched their own online booking solutions that allow their customers to research and book travel when and where they want while still enjoying the benefits of using a travel agent.

The Hotel reservation software a travel agency chooses should be easy to use and provide Users the functionality they need to research and book the hotel property they are looking for. The ability to narrow the Search to a specific neighborhood within a city near a specific point of interest may be important for some Users. The ability to find a hotel that has a restaurant or banquet facilities may be key for those planning an event. The ability to sort a search for hotel rooms by a particular star rating or the average nightly rate can speed up the process dramatically. Easily finding a hotel property that includes the specific amenities such as free internet or perhaps concierge service may be important for others. Hotels offer varying levels of comfort and service, so matching a client with the right hotel is important.

Today’s hotel booking engines can access information to research which particular hotel meets an individual customer’s specific needs with just a few clicks of a mouse. Search for a hotel room by a specific neighborhood within a larger city, by price range and even star rating. Recent industry consolidation has many travel agents forming alliances, so the ability to extend their hotel reservation software to affiliated agencies quickly and easily is key for many. The ability to easily expand the access of an online booking engine to affiliated agencies while maintaining their brand identity can be crucial to the success of launching an online booking engine for some.

The hotel reservation software products available in the market today include links to media files & rich content to assist with selecting the right hotel property during the research, shopping and booking process. Some applications even use innovative responsive technology that automatically adjusts the screen display layout based on the type of device being used to access the booking engine. Dynamic Packaging modules are designed to allow agents and consumers to package hotels with other travel products like airline tickets and cruise vacations. Dynamic packaging allows the user to create their own unique travel itinerary.

Finding hotel reservation software with the right combination of options for your business can be a critical decision for your business. 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.

 

Airline Booking Engines Automate Business

Airline Booking Engines Automate Business

Is the airline booking engine your travel business is using designed to automate processes, increase revenues and reduce time and effort required to complete a transaction? Technology continues to evolve at lightning speed and so has the software and applications that power today’s online travel booking solutions. There are technology companies dedicated to developing applications to address the demand for travel technology solutions that automate operational processes and provide the ability to customize an “out of the box” solution to support a client’s unique brand identity. Many have researched market requirements, worked closely with customers to identify their specific needs and discovered new and innovative ways to increase revenues while reducing expenses.

Online Booking Engines are often “out of the box” solutions that are hosted by a third party technology company but allow the headers, footers and style sheets to be customized to maintain a client’s brand identity and provide a seamless online experience for customers. There are also private label versions where a technology partner can change the complete layout of an air booking engine so it is customized to meet a client’s specific requirements. And it seems like just about everything in between.

User templates are designed to streamline the selling process for Users and make it easier for agents and agency financial staff to manage bookings. Live access to airline content is often provided via Global Distribution Systems to provide the most up to date availability and pricing. Robust business management tools allow application owners to preset rules that automatically mark up or mark down a product’s selling price by airline, itinerary, class of service, travel or booking dates and more. Promotions capability allow agency owners to include specific marketing messages and value ad offers right in the availability display. Some even allow for the setup of promotional codes that can be redeemed in the booking process. Time saving administration tools that cross check bookings with Suppliers automatically compare a booking made by the airline booking engine with the Supplier’s system.

Dynamic Packaging products have become a popular option for many travel booking engines as consumers look to create their own unique travel experience. If you plan to sell to today’s online consumer, you need to keep pace with the multiple ways that they research, shop and book airline reservations today. Some will use responsive technology for greater support of various mobile and tablet screen sizes so customers can easily view and navigate through the booking process regardless of the type of device they are using. There are even a “state of the art” mobile air apps available that take advantage of the powerful features today’s online Air Booking Engines offer combined with the ease and mobility using a smart phone or tablet.

Finding an airline 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 the right content and tools to automate your business can be just as important.

Cruise Software Fuels Cruise Sales

Cruise Software Fuels Cruise Sales

There are several factors contributing to the increase of cruise sales. More capacity is available than ever before and the cruise lines continue to build new ships. Larger ships are being built with new features and options available to passengers. Ships are becoming “destinations” as cruise line add new entertainment options, public spaces and cabin types while increasing the number of overall available berths.

While the significant bulk of cruise line passengers have traditionally originated from North America, cruise lines have seen explosive growth in passengers originating from outside North America. These new markets coupled with a robust “repeat customers” base have helped fuel growth as well. Cruise lines have repositioned ships so their homeport is closer to these customers. Many have added new itineraries that include the latest, hottest destinations and some have even modified their onboard service to better serve the needs of these new passengers. The growth of river cruising has added to the increase with smaller ships that access routes not available to ocean cruise liners.

The ease and accessibility of online cruise reservation software today provides many Online Travel Agencies the opportunity to expand their customer base to include cruises. The ability for cruise reservation software to easily handle multiple languages have allowed many travel agents to serve new ethnic markets domestically. The ability to handle multiple currencies have allowed many online travel agencies to expand into new markets internationally.

While online cruise sales have a way to go before reaching the levels of airline reservations or hotel bookings made online, it is no less critical to focus resources to address the inevitable cultural shift from traditional retail to online sales. If you plan to sell cruises today, you need to keep pace with the multiple ways that consumers research and book cruises today. Some cruise booking engine will use responsive technology for greater support of various mobile and tablet screen sizes so their customers can easily view and navigate through the booking process regardless of the type of device they are using. But what will be required to shift your cruise sales online? What tools will you need to automate the booking of cruises and get your customers using this cost effective an efficient channel?

First make sure you include access to the content your clients are looking for. Make your cruise reservation software can localize the content and allow you to control what your clients are offered. Live access to multiple cruise lines with innovative connections that give access to benefits such as group allocations and the ability to sell from multiple price-points in a single category. Ease and accessibility via mobile devices is critical whether your customers start their research and shopping using their mobile device and complete their booking with a travel agent, or research, shop and book online, the application you choose is mobile ready.

Finding cruise reservation 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 content they are looking for can be just as important.