Choosing The Right Airline System for Your Travel Business

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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.