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.