Moments: Evolution of Travel Industry

By Noura Habashi- Account Manager at dlc.

Ever since I was young, my family used to contact certain travel agency that they dealt with for years to arrange our trip. We always used the traditional way until I started to use the internet to do the job myself.

 

Here was a debate between me and my family. They argued that dealing with the travel agency they knew is the most trusted way to arrange the trip as they guarantee the quality. It also doesn’t take a lot of time nor effort; it requires only a phone call and maybe a visit. Also, they have their trusted tour operators that they work with. However, I always tried to convince them that doing the job online allows us to compare prices and get the cheapest rates.

 

In general, with the increasing use of internet, people now prefer to arrange their trip on their own either by using online travel agencies to arrange the whole trip or contacting tour operators to assure better prices by removing the middle man (agency).

 

Traditional offline travel agencies will continue to exist only if they focused on a specific target market. Their niche target market should be elder people and business men. Most elder people won’t do the effort of searching online and go through the hassle of comparison to find the best deal. Many are also not familiar with the internet. They prefer contacting a trusted agency that they can actually visit and know someone there to arrange the trip for them. They prefer quality and ease over price. Business men want a specialized trip to cater their needs. They also prioritize time and quality over price.

 

A combination between offline and online services is the best strategy for travel agents by using technology, they will cut costs. Software programs as ERP and CRM automate everyday tasks, thus, cutting costs by decreasing number of employees and time required. This increases productivity and efficiency. It is also convenient because it allows employees and managers to check the updates and work outside the office (if they are on holiday or sick).

Travel technology allows agencies to categorize their customers in classes and provide insights about their preferences. As a result, it helps them to customize offers to cater for their customers’ needs. Finally, using an online booking engine and a website, the agency would be more visible to people. This will increase brand awareness thus increasing their customer base.

 

In fact, The travel industry is a booming industry. According to Skift, it is the second-fastest growing sector globally, with 3.9 % annually  over the next ten years. However, not all travel companies use technology. They have a problem embracing technology. As a result, they miss out the opportunity to manage their daily tasks more efficiently, market their business online and cater for their customers’ needs; noting that most of their customers are technology users.

4 Simple Benefits of Using a Booking Engine

There are many advantages of using internet booking engines. Some of these advantages will be far better than others but all of them can have a positive impact on your business and many of them when used in conjunction can give you a greater return than if you were to use only one or two of the features in isolation. As flight booking online continues to offer more and more air travel content, options, and varieties, the market is going to continue to grow and thrive. Actually, according to an Allied Market Research, the Online Travel Market is estimated to generate $1,091 billion, globally, by 2022. The biggest question of all is what are some of the best benefits available to you?

 

  1. No commissions:

One of the most important things about a BE, is that, by using one, you can cut out many of the additional fees or commissions that you usually have to pay when you book through a traditional portal. For example, if you are trying to book individuals on a flight without your own internet booking engine, then you are going to have to send those customers to a place that does have one.

 

Another great benefit is that if you are going to have your own internet booking engine you do not need to send them to another website – you can advertise on your own website. Because if your customers have to see advertisements, they should at least see yours!

 

  1. 24/7 Booked flights:

Another major pro of having a BE, is flight booking online. Flight booking online is crucial for your business to be able to grow and thrive. If you work between let’s say 9 AM to 5 PM like other traditional businesses, when do you expect your clients to come and actually get their tickets? Most of them will be at work as well. You certainly do not want to be working odd hours or a different split shift. Rather, by having your own internet booking engine you will allow your clients the ability to book their own flights when and where it’s most convenient for them.

Many studies have shown that most flights are booked after 5pm when individuals are home relaxing and dreaming about their next trip. If you can make yourself available during the day’s sweet zone, then you will be able to greatly enhance your business, as well as serve your customers better. Don’t let some other entity steal them away by offering air travel content that includes flight booking online when you yourself can host your own internet booking engine.

 

  1. Efficiency Maximization:

Maximizing your efficiency means making money faster and by doing less work. There are many aspects of online booking that have become automated in recent years. If you have not taken advantage of this automation then you are still likely manually inputting information into physical or digital copies yourself. Your time is valuable, it could be better spent selling new bookings or assisting clients you have already received.

 

Powerful online booking tools like TTS Web-book are an excellent way to take the workload off of you. But what can TTS Web-book and other online booking tools actually do?

 

One of the most important properties of any online booking tool is information-gathering. Your online booking tools will be able to gather all the information needed from a client. By setting up a customized page, you ensure that you get all of the required data to ensure a booking. In addition to this, it allows you to keep your clients files on record in case a deal comes up for their favorite vacation area. Being able to gather all this information and have it organized in a single place is one of the primary strengths of an internet booking engine.

 

A different core strength is that it will not allow for double bookings. Instead it will only allow bookings if bookings are available. This means you do not have to go back and forth and check calendars or booking dates but rather the system itself will protect you from making these very human errors. In fact, a good internet booking engine will also update a booking status if it has been reserved. This self-updating, error prevention, customer service enhancement tool is an essential requirement for anyone who is serious about succeeding in the travel industry.

 

  1. Online Payment Management:

This one is very important as it is the mechanism by which you receive payment from clients and by which your clients receive a guarantee of services. One of the major advantages of internet booking engines is that they will also be able to handle your online payment management as well. The handling of online payments is a critical consideration for any of your internet booking engines. Not only does this help reduce the workload but saves from the whole payment process; taking a check, going down to the bank, depositing at the bank, making sure that the check clears, or going around with a reams of cash.

Now your clients can simply complete their booking from the comfort of their own home using a secured credit card and you do not have to keep either valuables or checks in your office or on your person.

 

What’s also great about online payments is that they always include a receipt as well. Just like with any normal transaction, your clients will get a receipt emailed to them or the receipt will come up on the payment screen once the payment transaction is completed. You can even set it up so that you receive a duplicate receipt as well for your digital records. Being able to keep and take payments in a digital way allows you to search through your records for payment information for past clients and to be able to identify any possible missteps along the way for your client.

 

With greater ease and access, online booking engines are definitely the way the travel industry will continue to grow and thrive for many years to come, and provide better customer service by meeting the needs of their clients at anytime anywhere.

 

4 Proofs that ERP is A Game Changer in the Travel Industry

 

We all know how an ERP can boost the company’s performance, and could even triple it if used right. An ERP automates various business operations, streamlines day-to-day processes, optimizes sales and customer engagement, manages HR, creates numerous reports, and provides travel agents, hoteliers and tour operators with the resources necessary to manage their businesses. Let’s now take a deeper look at each of these main functions.

 

  1. Business Operations Integration:

The primary function of ERP is the integration of multiple business processes into a centralized application. This eliminates duplicated and excessive data, and provides quick access to multiple operational data, which makes it easier to analyze data, generate various detailed reports, and accurately measure detailed KPIs organization wide.

 

Mainly, applying the system to the entire industry will make everybody in the market updated with the latest market and industry information. Moreover, it automates the communication among suppliers, whether between a travel agent, hotel, a restaurant, or any other providers involved in the service delivery chain. This function eliminates lead time between replies/ confirmations.

 

  1. Sales and Customer Interaction:

An ERP collects a large amount of information and display them on a single dashboard, making it easier to access customer information – names, addresses, previous interactions, locations, social media profiles – in minutes, which increases customer engagement and retention. All of this information is then used to cross sell and eventually reaching maximum profit.

 

Taking this to the industry level, businesses will have the maximum info available about the customer in hand, up to his likes, dislikes, past experiences, travel choices, and every little detail that could benefit giving the customer exactly what he needs quickly, effectively, and efficiently.

 

  1. Human Resources Management:

If you’re still living in the ages where HR just hires/fires employees, then it’s time to keep up. The human capital is a business’s most valuable asset. When it comes to ERP & HR, the capabilities are limitless. ERP allows companies to create work schedules, handle payroll information and ensure there is enough staff for different tasks. Also, it collects a wide range of employee information, from staff turnover to average tenure, team velocities and performance, KPI reports, and much more information that can never be acquired manually. HR staff then use these data to forecast labor demand and acquire new staff.

ERP, in our theory, will help businesses measure their performance against the entire market, thus revealing their weakness points for them to resolve the issues causing it, and emphasize their strength points, and helps them maintain it. It could also, give accurate real time data about the latest market trends, market share map, and many other critical info.

 

  1. Reporting, Reporting, and Reporting Again:

ERP provides businesses with accurate reports on almost any key metric possible. From sales averages to cost averages, to conversion rates, companies get to have access to an unbelievable range of data at their fingertips. They can even segment data to discover trends among lucrative demographics, such as frequent flyers. All this information allows travel companies to manage cash flow, create marketing campaigns and cut costs across their organizations.

 

Taking the reporting features available up to the industry level, and we’ve got an unstoppable machine of data generation. The possibilities and capabilities in this field in particular are genuinely limitless. Everybody will have access to ANY possible data combination required to have any reports or statistics they might need.

5 Business Problems Solved by ERP Software.

5 Business Problems Solved by ERP Software.

 

  1. Poor Communications

    OTAs usually assign the entire company for a single lead to be properly processed, and this means that all of the departments need to communicate and collaborate to maintain a smooth and quality rich business process. Generally, OTAs suffer from poor internal communication between different departments. When employees fail to pass on information effectively, negative outcomes, like lost service orders, task management, lead follow up, etc.

    An ERP system helps you dodge such problems. ERP unites all business functions, becoming the one piece of software into which all information is input and processed. With ERP, you can rest assured that there will be no delay before key information reaches the relevant parties. The time between the completion of one business task and the next is kept to the absolute minimum.

 

  1. Manual work, double work & repetitive tasks As your company expands, the number of customers needing your attention will become unmanageable. Your employees work load will definitely keep increasing. Also, Manual data entry and processes become even more subject to mistakes and time-consuming when performed on this much larger scale.

    For instance, your accounting team may spend an enormous amount of time entering data for sales invoices, and cross-referencing their spread sheets. Just like any other manual process, one minor typing error or a misread figure could result in major negative consequences. Good ERP software eliminates these problems. It automates tasks, thus reducing the probability of errors, and giving your employees’ the time they need to get on with other work.

 

  1. Having to deal with multiple platforms

    When teams are using un-integrated software, processes become very complex, and time-consuming. For example, if somebody in sales doesn’t notify the reservation team of their latest client, Ground Operations team will not have the real time information needed to make sure that the client is handled properly

    ERP software brings all of the information recorded by any department into one single database. This centralization of information means everyone has access to the latest data when they require it. There is no need to update multiple systems or waste precious time forwarding an email after another anymore. As an additional benefit, because all department of the company run on one piece of software, the software upgrades needed are kept to a minimal.

 

  1. Customer Retention Without an ERP system to keep track of customer records, it may be difficult, if not impossible, to serve your customers in a maximum manner.  Most ERPs come with a Customer Relationship Management module, which allows employees to keep track of records of transactions and communications against each customer.

    Storing these data in a single database gives you the power to allow any employee, no matter which department, to access this information when dealing with a specified customer. The transaction history is a particularly useful feature, opening up opportunities for cross-selling or up-selling, Equipped with ERP, your company is empowered to better serve the needs of its customers and improve profitability.

 

  1. Unleashing your full potentialThe more information you can access inside your company, and the more recent and useful these data are, the easier it will be to make good decisions for your company’s’ benefit. With all costs, sales figures and marketing data being inputted into one system, ERP enables you to gain real time insights into your business at any time.

    A good ERP will have a reporting module that allows you to run scheduled or on-demand reports based on any data within the system. These reports can be interactive, tabular, graphical, geographical or free-form. These reports have a variety of useful applications. For example, you might run a report to discover what customer type tends to become a repeat buyer. With this information, you can better target your marketing and improve the profitability of your business.

    With ERP, you can gain answers, not only to your questions, but to your customers’ queries too. With all the necessary data being accessible in one central system, your sales reps will be able to give precise answers to questions like ‘When can you complete my order by?’ because they will have the up-to-the-minute stock level information required to provide an accurate response.