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.