Travel Technology Should be Integrated, Live and Mobile

Travel Technology Should be Integrated Live and Mobile

As competing for customers becomes increasingly competitive in any business, travel technology solutions now include features like loyalty program integration, mobile applications and secure, live connections to supplier content.

Company Loyalty programs, new technology and strategic partnerships all play an important role in today’s competitive travel and tourism industry. Loyalty programs have been used by the travel and tourism industry for years and remain an important marketing tool to retain customers for suppliers and agencies alike. A travel booking engine with Loyalty program integration can ensure your customers receive the lucrative discount offers as well as free gifts they have earned while booking with a travel agent. The Loyalty program integration with travel technology can come in the form of gift cards, travel rewards, discounts or even merchandise with the integration of an online booking engine being seamless to the end user and relatively quick to set up.

Do you know what type of special promotion or offer a supplier may offer loyal customers or whether your travel booking engine will be able to easily take advantage of these offers? A technology partner that collaborates with all the different parties involved and considers feedback from each when designing an application may be something to consider.

Travel technology solutions need to be available to customers on whatever device they choose to use. As the use of mobile devices has exploded over the past few years, an easy to use air mobile app has become an important extension of any online travel booking engine. Airline reservations were the first to gain popularity with online booking solutions, so it makes sense that an air mobile app is quickly becoming an important selling tool in today’s mobile society. While innovative responsive technology allows mobile ready travel technology solutions to automatically adjust an online booking engine’s screen size and layout based on the type of device being used.

Live access to content needs to be provided to be sure the most up to date availability and pricing is used. Your travel booking engine needs to provide live access to the type of relevant content your customers are looking for. And for those looking to expand their reach of their travel business with affiliated agents, an online booking engine needs to be able to quickly and easily add affiliated agents and websites.

But it is not just about using the latest technology, but it is also about using the technology in a way that allows your business to operate more efficiently and increase your revenues. While your technology partner may have the latest platform or development tools available, they may not have the detailed understanding of your business required to develop the best solution for you. This is where travel technology companies that collaborate with both their customers as well as travel suppliers are often able to design travel technology solutions with features that can really help a business succeed.

Finding the right travel technology solution for your online business will play an important role in determining your success. Finding the right technology partner may be even more important.

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Travel Technology Packaging Solutions

Travel Technology Packaging Solutions

Travel technology solutions that are easy to use, mobile friendly and can be easily customized to client look and feel are key to competing in today’s online market place. Finding a solution with the ability to handle multiple currency and languages to truly meet a global audience on a computer, tablet or smart phone is key if going global. Mobile First should be your philosophy for all development, not just for the front end but also the administrative console as well. This way Agents as well as customers can use their tablets, iPads, phones to book and manage travel with a booking engine that is completely mobile friendly.

The ability to combine travel products either pre-packaged or dynamically online have become increasingly popular with today’s consumer. Most custom packaging products allow a travel agency to tailor make holiday travel plans and then convert them into packages to be sold online. There are some travel technology companies that have developed dynamic packaging engines around Air + Hotel Accommodations and even Tours or Activities, but very few that have successfully launched a global cruise booking solution. A cruise booking is one of the most complex travel booking transactions and only a few industry leaders offer live connectivity to cruise lines globally including ability to book into group or charter inventory. The productivity gains the fast and flexible travel technology that these companies can offer is amazing. Agents can quickly compare multiple cruise lines and prices in a single search. The best continuously updates and innovatively caches the data on their servers for quicker responses increasing agent productivity and earning power.

Some products use cruise as the base of the transaction and then add other travel products like air, hotel accommodations and even activities as part of or around the cruise. Some have unique features and the capability to offer a predefined package tailored by a vacation expert or to make their own cruise holiday package that includes flights, hotel accommodations and even activities.

Most of today’s Dynamic Packaging products were developed as extensions existing travel booking engines. These packaging engines were designed to package and price cruises, flights, hotels and other travel products in real time. The dynamic packaging module takes advantage of the existing connections with various suppliers and the dynamic and innovative rules engines available allow an online travel agency to deliver the proper marketing message to their users whether that be an agent and/or their customers.

Much of the innovation within many travel technology solutions occurs in what’s known as the ‘Rules Engine. This valuable tool allows a travel agency owner to customize and deliver the right marketing message to both agents and their online customers. The typical Rules Engine can be rigid and time-consuming to manage, but some innovative travel technology companies have changed this. Rather than a limited selection, they offer different rule types allowing agents to choose from options such as on-board credits, rewards points, value adds, discounts, mark-ups etc. They can be easily set and applied automatically based on a variety of predefined filters.

Finding the right travel technology solution for your travel business is important, finding the right travel technology partner can be even more important

 

Driving Efficiencies Through Innovation

Driving Efficiencies Through Innovation

The innovative technology that is available today has made us all more efficient in so many ways. Smart phones allow us to have telephone conversations from just about anywhere and we are all just a few clicks away from checking our email or social media. Not sure how to get somewhere? Check your smart phone for directions. And today you can purchase just about anything right from your phone as retailers become increasingly focused on mobile ready technology.

There’s a wide range travel technology available today depending upon your specific needs. Everything from easy to use “out of the box” solutions for those just getting started to unique custom business solutions designed to specifically meet the needs of your business are available. There are even “out of the box:” solutions that can be easily customized to support your own unique brand identity. These solutions can be valuable features for online travel agencies looking to build and protect their brand.

In today’s mobile world, travel technology solutions need to have a User experience designed to maximize sales while making the research and booking of travel arrangements easy. Efficiencies in the way that a travel agent interacts with their customers can help save the time it takes them to create a travel related booking and increase an agent’s overall sales volume. For example, having the right special offers in place and being able to quickly identify them right in the availability display can be just as important as the ability to easily adjust a product selling price in today’s competitive online environment. Many of today’s online booking engines include powerful business rules features that allow business owners the flexibility to easily pre-define price adjustments and “value add” offers using wide variety of filters including type of service, supplier, travel dates and booking channel to name just a few.

Travel technology should provide your business access to all booking channels. This includes traditional business-to-business (B2B) as well as business-to-consumer (B2C) and even business-to-business-to-consumer (B2B2C). For those looking to expand their sales network to include home based agents, the ability to extend the use of the online booking engine to these groups will allow you to expand the reach of your sales network. Mobile ready applications are another key feature to look for.

Innovative travel technology solutions that quickly and easily combine travel components such as Cruise + Air + Hotel together to create Custom Packages have become increasingly important as travel agents look to create unique packaged offers to their consumers. The Dynamic Packaging of components has also become increasingly popular with consumers looking to create their own unique packaged experience. Booking Engines which automatically offer a hotel reservation after an airline reservation is complete not only make the booking process more efficient, but can also help your travel business increase hotel bookings significantly and drive up your overall sales volume.

Finding travel technology that will have your online business driving efficiencies through innovation is important. Finding the right technology partner to help make this happen is the key to success.

 

Collaboration Developing Travel Technology is Key

Collaboration Developing Travel Technology is Key

There are so many online travel technology solutions available in the market today offering so many different product options that finding the right one for your business can often be overwhelming for many. Of course you’ll want to find a solution that accesses the content you are looking with the administrative tools you’ll need to adjust a products selling price or offer a special promotion. Most of the online travel booking engines in the market today come with these basics which can be enough to get you online. But is simply getting your business online enough in today’s crowded marketplace?

A handful of large Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) control a significant portion of the mass market where price is a main driver. These online conglomerates have amassed such “buying power” with travel suppliers that they are able to secure the lowest prices available at the highest commission rates, making them difficult to compete with on price alone. Many have made significant investment in technology and infrastructure to improve their efficiency which has secured their competitive advantage even more.

But there is hope for those looking to compete online with these giants, it’s just a matter of doing your research, developing your strategy and implementing your plan. Quite often, online sales are a driving force behind a company’s decision to change technology. Online sales can save a business both time and money making it the most cost effective method to serve today’s consumer. The innovative travel technology solutions available today allows technology providers to design and develop flexible & fully scalable applications that can easily grow with your business. Many can even provide the ability for you to customize the application templates to maintain your company’s own unique branding. And to serve today’s growing number of consumers who use their mobile device to purchase travel products as well as those that switch between devices during the research and booking process, many are choosing applications that use responsive technology that can automatically adjust the screen layout based on the type of device being used.

Experience has shown that some of the best travel technology solutions are the result of collaboration. Software Developers, Suppliers and Travel Agents all provide valuable input on how to design and develop the ultimate online travel booking engine. Each of these participants in the sales process play an important role and any technology should consider the individual needs of each. This type of collaborative effort can help ensure an online solution that automates processes and increases revenues while it reduces the time and effort required to complete a transaction.

Input and feedback from Suppliers as well as Travel Agents ensures that the technology connecting them meets each of their individual needs as well as identify areas for process improvement more efficiently. For example, Easy to Use applications designed by a specialized team working with travel agent users are able to deliver an online booking engine that reduces the amount of time required to train agents and gets them selling faster. Finding a technology solution 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 that uses a collaborative approach can be just as important.

Hotel Bookings Anytime, Anywhere

Hotel Bookings Anytime, Anywhere

The explosive use of mobile devices over the past decade has made mobile technology an important part of any travel business’ strategy to attract and serve customers. Have you ever turned around and went back home to get your mobile phone, even if you are going to be gone for just a few minutes? It seems like many of us have become so accustom to the convenience these devices provide, that they have become one of our most important, if not critical possessions.

Retailers recognize this opportunity and many have capitalized on the trend and can make their products and services available to their customers anytime, anywhere. Airline reservations are just a few clicks away and many applications include a hotel booking engine as well.

You’ll want to start with the basics like a mobile ready website so that customers can find your business quickly and easily online using the device of their choice. A good way to start your research may be to learn what your competitors are using for their online technology and see if something similar might work for you. Businesses of all size are realizing the potential of mobile ready technology to gain more customers and increase sales and are taking their business mobile. Today’s online consumer can shop for and purchase everything for their trip using their mobile device including airline tickets and hotel reservations and they can even purchase Travel Insurance for it all as well.

As Millennials become the largest segment of consumers, make sure your business is ready to serve this generation the way that they choose to shop. While there are no precise dates for when this contingent of the population starts or ends, typically a millennial was born between the early 1980s and the mid-1990s to early 2000s as a group. This is the generation that grew up with laptop computers, cellphones and helped fuel the explosion of the use of smart phones globally. They are quick to embrace new technology and make a majority of their purchases online. They also travel more than generations before them and often start their research for their travel accommodations using a hotel booking engine that is mobile ready.

When it comes to online technology, you need to be open to learning something new every single day, or you will quickly find your online technology outdated and unable to keep up with today’s mobile economy. To prevent this, one topic that should stay on your radar is mobile ready hotel booking engine. As you research the online booking engine options available, you should consider that more businesses will be offering their services online than ever before, ensuring that mobile ready travel technology is here to stay. The benefits of flexibility and ease of use improves the customer engagement in a way that millennial customers demand. A strong mobile strategy can increase sales while improving customer engagement and loyalty, a combination of factors for growth that your business is sure to benefit from.

Finding a hotel booking engine with the right combination of options for your business can be critical to the success of your travel business. Finding a partner with travel technology solutions to help you reach today’s mobile consumer anytime, anywhere they shop for travel 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.

Travel Technology Solutions Can Help Your Business Grow!

Travel Technology Solutions Can Help Your Business Grow

Travel technology continues to evolve at lightning speed and has significantly impacted the way that Suppliers as well as Travel Agents attract and interact with customers. In today’s world, travel technology solutions are a key element to the success of any travel business whether a small to medium size traditional retail agency or one of the large online travel agencies (OTAs) that dominant today’s online travel market.

Many “out of the box” solutions do not have the flexibility needed and are too generic for many businesses. A custom built application can be expensive to develop and maintain putting them “out of reach” for most except for the largest companies. When considering online travel booking engines, look for one that automates processes, has the business rule features you need and is easily customized to support your unique brand identity.

When trying to reach a limited amount of targeted customers, the traditional method of face-to-face meeting at a retail travel agency location or speaking with an agency call center is usually enough and in some cases can help strengthen the relationship an agency has with their customer. A good travel agent does more than just “take travel orders”, they are a resource that can assist with making the right choices for a trip and can often provide access to special deals and amenities. They can help today’s traveler avoid making a disastrous mistake with their travel arrangements and can often help make them feel like a VIP during their trip.

Whether your customers shop online or through a retail travel agency, travel technology plays an important role in their interaction with your business. The best applications provide both Business to Business (B2B) capabilities for retail travel agents and call centers as well as Business to Consumer (B2C) to serve those customers shopping online. But there is more to selling travel on line than having a website, there are travel technology solutions available today that are built using responsive technology. These mobile ready applications automatically adjust their display based on the type of device being used. A critical feature to reach the growing number of consumers addicted their mobile devices.

The right technology solution also plays an important role in setting a business up for future expansion. Whether that be through organic growth, reaching out to a new ethnic markets or expanding into a new geographic region, your travel technology needs to be ready to expand with your business.

Look for applications that are designed to meet the unique requirements of Global Marketplaces and can easily handle multiple currencies as well as multiple languages. However, going global involves a lot more than language or currency since each market can have it’s own requirements and set of local supplier content that is critical to success there. You’ll want to find a global application that has worked closely with customers and suppliers to localize the product including access to that specific local content critical to the market.

Finding travel technology 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 reach today’s mobile consumer where and how they shop for travel can be just as important.