A flight reservation system is core to any travel booking engine. A significant portion of trips booked today, whether for business, vacation or visiting friends and family, start with a reserving a flight itinerary. The airlines were early pioneers in the travel industry and the technology used to distribute their products as their networks and sales volume grew. The airline reservation system is an integral part of any air carrier’s technology infrastructure and most of the time integrated with other internal systems used to operate the airline. Everything from corporate accounting systems that track ticket sales and usage to complex ticketing and departure control systems that require the integration of important passenger information to operate smoothly. Even your checked baggage is monitored throughout your journey by tracking systems that are tied to your airline reservation.
As technology has advanced over the years, airlines have consistently adapted and enhanced their internal systems to take advantage of improved efficiencies and the associated cost savings. This has allowed them to process more passengers quicker and easier than ever before while providing improved service to their customers. The major airlines extended the “reach” of their flight reservation system initially to Travel Agents via applications which evolved into today’s Global Distribution Systems (GDSs) and eventually directly with consumers via airline company websites on the internet.
These systems can also help your travel business increase sales and provide better service to your customers. An airline reservation system can provide the most up to date flight schedules, pricing and availability which is why a “live” connection with them is so important in today’s fast pace world. And with so many special deals out there, you may want your travel booking engine to simultaneously search more than one source for a specific airline itinerary to ensure you are offering your customers the best deal available.
The booking engine you use should be integrated with a flight reservation system that includes access services and amenities such as interactive seat maps for advanced seat selection as well as requesting special services or onboard meals for some passengers. It needs to be able to transmit information like customer loyalty program IDs and special service requests. The online booking engine you choose should have as many of the features and services that are offered when using an airline’s website.
Today’s online booking engine needs to provide the ability to easily adapt to constant changes in the marketplace. The ability to easily make price adjustments and include value add offers right in the availability display are critical for your business to remain competitive. Look for an application with a Business Rules feature that allows you to predefine price adjustments based on a wide range of criteria including the date the reservation is booked, the dates of travel, the airline flight number and even the type of airfare used. Lastly, you may want to consider an airline reservation system that includes reporting tools to track your business.
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.