Travel Booking Solutions Should Be Integrated Online and Offline

Travel Booking Solutions Should Be Integrated Online and Offline

Whether consumers book their travel arrangements online or simply start their research there, today’s travel related business needs to be ready to assist them throughout the entire process. And all signs indicate consumer use of smartphones will continue to increase as more people are constantly connected to social media, so finding travel booking solutions with mobile technology is becoming increasingly important.

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 online. Mobile devices enable consumers to be online anywhere at any time, allowing today’s consumer to start their research using their smartphone and then switch to a tablet or laptop to complete their purchase. While others may choose to start their research and shopping online before calling their travel agent to confirm their cruise booking. Regardless of the how a consumer ultimately makes their travel purchase, travel booking solutions need to integrate the online and offline process, provide the consumer with up to date availability and pricing and include detailed descriptions with pictures & images to assist during the research, shopping and booking process.

Applications should be easy to use and reduce the amount of time required to complete a transaction. The best travel booking solutions are flexible and easily customized to support each client’s own brand identity or unique selling style. While some technology providers may host the application, the header, footer as well as the look and feel should all be easily customizable to provide a seamless online experience. Multiple selling channels should be easily managed using a single application and designed to quickly set up additional users and affiliated websites. Whether your customer books directly with a travel agent (B2B) -or- they prefer to shop and book online (B2C), your Booking Engine needs the ability to service them quickly and easily.

Many travel booking solutions are built using secure, scalable online booking platforms that are designed to meet the demands of suppliers, traditional or online travel agencies as well as consumers. And with the pace at which fares or schedules can change, real-time connectivity with suppliers can help you ensure that the most accurate and up to the minute schedule, availability and pricing are provided. Business management tools can help provide you the controls needed to easily manage your business. Revenue Management tools include the ability to mark up or mark down a product’s selling price and even the ability to search multiple provider content sources for the best price. Display biasing capabilities and the ability to highlight value-add offers in the availability display can give your business full control of what your customers are presented. Robust reporting tools are also available that allow for quick and easy business tracking.

Finding a travel booking solution 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.

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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.

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.

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.

Travel Booking Solutions Need To Combine Content

Travel Booking Solutions Need to Combine Content

Travel Booking Solutions have come a long way since the days when airlines first launched computerized reservation systems (CRS) decades ago. Some of the more advanced travel technology solutions available today allow Users to package different travel components such as Airline tickets, Hotel accommodations and even Cruise Vacations together to create their own unique travel experience. Travel Agents have done this manually for years, painstakingly coordinating a Client’s individual flight itinerary with hotel accommodations and ground transfers. The process a travel agent goes through to build a passenger’s complete itinerary has improved over the years as technology has advanced. New content that has become available has created additional choices for consumers and the online revolution has made the internet a key marketplace today. The innovative technology developed in recent years has also played a key role in the design and development of the travel booking engines used today.

Let’s face it, you can purchase just about anything via the internet today and travel is no exception. Whether you are looking to make a reservation with a specific airline, confirm hotel accommodations or make a car reservation, there’s an online booking engine ready to help you just a few clicks away. Even complete Cruise vacations can be easily researched and booked online using one of the many cruise booking engines available today. The online revolution has had a significant impact in how today’s consumers research, shop and purchase travel products today.

And there are more travel choices available than ever before. Everything from low cost airlines to legacy carriers. Full service hotels or rooms for rent via services like Airbnb. Value cruise lines that cater to families or high-end luxury cruise lines geared towards a more discerning adult passengers. And everything in between. Travel booking solutions not only have to offer all these options but also need to include the detailed information that allows both consumers and travel agents to easily understand the various options.

Value or price has been a driving factor for many online sales. However, years ago the best deals were usually found when purchasing a pre-packaged vacation from a traditional Tour Operator. Many of these tour packages came with preset travel dates and combined specific airline itineraries with a limited number of hotels that were available in the program. While many consumers enjoy the ease of purchasing their vacation as a package and at a low price, it wasn’t long before many wanted options.

As Consumer trends changed over the years, more and more customers began to look for travel packages customized to meet their specific needs. This trend led to the development of travel booking solutions offering custom packages as well as the ability for an Agent or Consumer to “dynamically” build their own travel package.

No matter what type of travel you sell, choosing a travel technology solution 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.

Remember to Include Hotel Reservations

Remember To Include Hotel Reservations

Hotel companies and large online travel agencies were early to embrace attracting online customers and were pioneers in travel e-commerce. Unfortunately for many hotels, price integrity quickly became a challenge as the race to embrace e-commerce began. Suddenly hotels realized that the hotel reservation software available at the time limited their ability to differentiate their brand or the features a particular hotel property offered from the competition. Consumers were going online in droves to find the best deals and suddenly the lowest price became a determining factor in whether they even noticed a particular hotel in the crowded display.

Hotel companies were quick to react and developed hotel reservation software with access to information & rich content. This not only helped them distinguish their Brand from their competitors, but also assisted online shoppers with finding which particular hotel is best for them. The ability to search for a hotel room by a specific neighborhood within a larger city or by price range and even star rating. Detailed information about whether a particular hotel property has free internet, a restaurant or SPA services was integrated into hotel booking engines. And the rich media content provided the shopper a “preview” of the experience they could expect at a particular hotel. Hotels offer varying levels of comfort and service, so matching a client with the right hotel is important. The wealth of content and information hotel booking engines make available help strengthen and expand online business with consumers.

Somehow in the middle of all the commotion however, many consumers overlooked the benefits of working with a professional travel agent and went online themselves. But using a travel agent can ensure a consumer gets the best deal possible and the VIP service they deserve upon their arrival. Many are hotel experts and have negotiated special deals and amenities for their clients.

A Custom Packaging tool can allow travel agents distinguish the product they offer online further by tailor making a travel itinerary to be sold as a package. This can help increase overall hotel sales and be a valuable tool in setting an online travel business apart from the competition. Dynamic Packaging products are another tool becoming increasingly popular. These are typically an extension of an existing Booking Engine designed to allow Users to package and book cruises, flights, hotels and other travel products in real time.

And remember e-commerce today is not only “online”, it is also “mobile”. The best hotel booking engines use innovative responsive technology that will automatically adjust the screen size and display layout based to match the type of device being used. Hotel software should be easy to use and provide Users the functionality they are looking for. And since most travel reservations are not complete without a hotel reservation, it can be said that no travel booking solution is complete without mobile ready hotel reservation software.

But no matter what type of travel you sell, choosing a travel technology solution with the right combination of content and 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.

 

Time to Upgrade Your Travel Booking Engine ?

Time to Upgrade Your Travel Booking Engine

The travel industry has been focusing more and more of it’s resources on e-commerce solutions as more people rely on the internet for booking their travel arrangements. Some travel companies however have had unique challenges designing and developing their own online booking solutions. Many of the major travel suppliers have been stuck using solutions built on legacy technology that prevent them from easily add new content or make a simple change to their User Interface.

This is usually because the architecture used even a few years ago to build a travel booking engine is not at all like the architecture of today’s distributed and layered applications. Business policies and rules are typically hardcoded using an inflexible and predefined process flow in most legacy systems. This old approach makes any integration with external systems and Internet-based business applications difficult or just impossible. On top of that, this old technology that has become increasingly difficult for anyone using it to find developers who want to work with applications written in languages that are not widely used in today’s technology.

E-commerce sales save a business time and money making it the most cost effective method for many to deliver products to customers. As a result, the Internet revolution is usually the driving force behind a company’s decision to switch away from a legacy system. The “state of the art” technology available today helps software solution providers design, develop and deliver flexible & fully scalable applications that can easily grow with any size business. Some even provide the ability to customize the application to maintain a company’s own unique brand identity.

Experience has shown that the best travel booking engine is the result of collaboration. Software Developers, Suppliers and Travel Agents can all provide valuable input during the design phase to help develop the ultimate solution. Collaboration with customers and suppliers is crucial when developing a travel booking engine since each of these entities play an important role in the process since and any solution needs to meet their individual needs.

Many travel companies are building travel booking solutions that use responsive technology to serve today’s consumers who use their mobile devices to purchase travel products. Now, regardless of the type of device a customer uses, applications built using responsive technology can automatically adjust the screen layout based on the device being used. For those looking to have a dedicated Mobile App, there are several companies designing and developing booking engines with custom mobile Apps. Travel technology providers can now offer any size travel agency affordable applications built on the latest technology with the powerful tools to they need to compete online. So whether your travel business needs an air booking engine, a cruise booking engine or a hotel booking engine, be sure your travel booking solution is built using the latest responsive technology.

Choosing 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 can be just as important.