Travel Agent Software Needs to Keep Pace

Travel Agent Software Needs to Keep Pace

Technology has changed the way the world interacts and selling travel is no exception. The travel agent software available today has automated and customized the entire booking process while providing comprehensive and innovative solutions for travel agents to serve their customers better. There are solutions available today for travel agents that will make the entire shopping and booking process quicker and easier for themselves as well as for their customers.

For example, currently planning and booking a cruise can be a long process and generally involves multiple online and offline steps. It starts with online research which may involve cruise line websites, cruise reviews, online travel companies and social media applications. Many of today’s consumers shopping for a cruise seek advice from friends and family before they visit and/or talk to a traditional travel agent or call a cruise line representative. And online is no longer limited to using a desktop or laptop with many initial cruise searches were conducted on mobile devices. Integrating the online and offline research, shopping and booking experience is critical since many consumers will switch between various devices as they research and eventually purchase products.

The challenge is to integrate consumer online planning and research with the offline expertise of a traditional travel agent. One way to accomplish this goal is for the travel agency to deploy an online booking engine. This may sound counter intuitive for traditional agents who want to keep the booking offline, but allowing the consumer to plan online with an agency sponsored booking tool may represent one of the most important ways to integrate online and offline activity and capture the customer’s business.

Travel agent software must be easily integrated with the entire process and provide consistency in the shopping experience. Applications should have the most up to date availability and pricing along with detailed descriptions with pictures & images to assist both agents and consumers during the research, shopping and booking process. And for those looking to expand their reach into new markets, the ideal solution must also provide for localization of language, currency and market requirements.

Easy to use travel agent software should be built in a way that automates processes and reduces the amount of time it takes to make a booking. Many are designed to be so easy to use that they require minimal training and can have agents selling quickly. The application should be easy to use and contain the relevant information that a travel professional needs to research the options available. For example, finding the right hotel based on an individual customer’s specific needs is an important part of planning any trip, but can be overwhelming with so many options available. To help simplify the process and select the right hotel for a client, many hotel booking engines integrate links to media files & rich content to assist during the shopping process.

Finding travel agent 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 where and how they shop for travel can be just as important.

Advertisements

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.

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.

Travel Agent Software Can Make Travel Agent

Travel Agent Software Can Make The Agent

Booking with a travel agent has always been a great way for consumers to find the best travel deal. Not only is a good travel agent familiar with the variety of different travel options available, but they can often get their customers the best rate, extra amenities and even upgrades. A good travel agent helps with their customer’s entire trip and this includes getting the VIP access many look for.

The travel agent software used years ago required agents learn and use multiple supplier systems to book all of a client’s travel arrangements. It took hours to research the different travel options and a checklist was needed to ensure all the travel arrangements were confirmed and in place. Today using an online booking engine, agency owners are now able to streamline this process as they automate transactions while reducing the time and effort required.

The popularity of the internet as a marketplace has changed the way people research and shop and it seems like almost anything can be purchased online today. The travel industry is no exception and has been the driving force behind the development of innovative online booking solutions that have changed the way consumers as well as travel agents research and book all types of travel. Whether consumers research and book their travel online themselves or use a travel agent, consumers today have choices. Today anyone with an internet connection is just a few “clicks” away from being able to quickly and easily confirm their travel plans using an online booking engine.

The right travel agent software can give you the best of both worlds! A travel agency’s online booking engine can provide it’s customers the expertise they enjoy when using a travel agent combined with the ease and accessibility of an online booking engine. An online booking engine can also help an agency owner automate processes while they maximize revenues using innovative business control tools needed to manage any size travel business. In addition to the basic functions such as markup and discount, 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 Rules by supplier, departure date, destination and more. Newly added or modified rules are often applied instantly so you always ensure the best deals are offered to customers.

Travel agent software can provide operational efficiencies and reduce overall cost to serve a customer. Many online booking engines include a vast amount of descriptions linked to media files & rich content to assist in the shopping process. 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.

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.

Making An Airline Booking is Easier Than Ever

Making an Airline Booking is Easier Than Ever

Making an airline reservation has never been easier. Today’s traveler can book flights using a variety of devices, including their mobile phone or tablet. Most airlines have had their own online air booking engines for decades and most of the larger carriers have launched dedicated mobile apps for their most frequent and loyal customers. The increasing popularity of the air mobile app has been driven by a population that is always on the move and prefers not to carry their tablet or laptop with them. Research has shown that many initiate their search using airline booking software on a handheld mobile device, but later switch to a tablet or laptop to finalize the booking. All they need is to download the air mobile app of their choice on their cell phone and log-in.

But airlines are not the only ones with mobile Apps to book airline reservations. The airline booking software available today can easily enable any travel business to cater to clientele on the move. Optional Air Mobile Apps can take full advantage of all the powerful features and functionality that come with an online booking engine. The content source you choose to use can be a critical decision, so you’ll want to evaluate the different options. Do you plan to use your own IATA credentials and GDS ID to make bookings and issue tickets? Do you work with a Host Agency or Air Consolidator? Will the application you choose need the ability to simultaneously search multiple sources for the best airfare? Each of these are possible scenarios to consider when making a decision on the type of air booking engine you’ll need to be successful.

Today’s easy to use airline booking software allows agency owners to train their agents quickly and get them selling faster. Agents are no longer required to learn complicated GDS codes required to access the latest airline schedules and availability. Many of today’s online air booking engines for travel agents use the same simple screens that consumer booking engines use. Powerful marketing tools allow agency owners to deliver targeted messages to agents and/or consumers shopping online about a specific sale fare or promotion they are offering. Whether they need to adjust a product’s selling price, or research which distribution channels are the most effective, agency owners have more tools an information at their fingertips than ever before. Pre-set business rules help eliminate potential agent errors and allow an agency owner the ability to control a products selling price when consumers shop via the online booking engine connected to an agency’s website. There are even solutions for who want to control their own User Interfaces while still taking advantage of the powerful tools offered by an existing air booking including access to live pricing, availability & booking capabilities.

Finding an airline booking engine 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 the content they are looking for can be just as important.

Booking Travel Often Starts With An Airline Reservation System

Booking Travel Often Starts With An Airline Reservation System

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.

Increase Sales with a Mobile Booking Engine

Increase Sales with a Mobile Booking Engine

It should come as no surprise that nearly every facet of the travel industry continues to focus on adding marketing and sales resources to their e-commerce solutions. As more and more people rely on the internet for purchasing just about everything from retail merchandise to personal services, consumers are turning to the internet to research and book flights, hotels and even cruise vacations online. Unfortunately many travel companies have had challenges developing an easy to use mobile booking engine that can be accessed using the variety of today’s mobile devices. Many in the travel business continue to use booking applications that were built using legacy technology, which typically doesn’t permit them to simply add new content or make minor changes to their User Interface.

The architecture of these old Legacy systems are built on are typically not at all like that used for today’s flexible applications. The business rules and policies defined for many Legacy systems are often hardcoded and use predefined, inflexible process flows which make any customization or adaptation with Internet-based applications difficult or sometimes just impossible. And if the amount work required isn’t enough of a deterrent, companies ready to make the investment to upgrade have found it increasingly difficult to find developers willing or able to work with applications that are written in languages which are no longer widely used in today’s technology. As a result, the Internet revolution and explosion of online commerce has frequently been the driving force behind a company’s decision to switch away from a legacy system.

Travel businesses have been quick to learn that moving sales to E-commerce saves them time and money. An online booking engine is typically the most cost effective way to serve customers today and the innovative technology available helps software solution providers design and develop flexible & fully scalable applications that easily grow with any size business. Some even provide the ability to customize the application to maintain a company’s own unique brand identity.

To serve today’s growing number of consumers using their mobile device to purchase travel products, many companies are building a mobile booking engine. Now, regardless of the type of device a customer uses to access a travel website, applications are available that can automatically adjust the screen layout based on the type of device being used. For those looking to have a dedicated mobile booking App, there are several travel technology companies that can design and develop a custom mobile App for your business. Some offer mobile ready applications as part of their existing Booking Engine while some will develop them independently. Either approach offers consumers the ease and mobility of using a smart phone or tablet.

Finding a mobile booking engine with the right combination of options for your customer can be a critical decision for your business. 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.