For many years, corporate booking solutions have been like the Top Super Sport Cars, beautiful, wanted by all but available to just a few and there are good reasons why that’s still the case today.

Corporate booking solutions that have existed for many years have been built on what we consider today old technologies – they are usually very complex resulting in high cost to setup and maintain.

Business model dealignment

Another negative aspect of legacy CBT (Corporate Booking Tools) is the business model. We live in a world where travel agencies that focus on corporate business usually generate their revenues based on tickets issued by charging a ticket service fee. However, the cost of the corporate booking solutions is usually based on transactions, being the most common cost per booking.

You can immediately see a huge disconnection between the two business models. On one side, the travel agency provides to their corporate customer a piece of technology that allows them to make as many bookings as they want and each booking generates a cost, but if the corporate customer does not request a ticket to be issued, the travel agency has no revenue. That’s a huge problem that has prevented many travel agencies from providing CBT to their customers.

The complexity of legacy corporate booking solutions

The other aspect is the complexity of those solutions. Because over the years they have evolved to support the requirements of huge global and multi-national accounts, the outcomes are very complex configuration schemes that usually need specialized teams just to setup and maintain. In my old days at BCD Travel I managed a team of very experienced professionals that dedicated their time to setup and maintain these solutions. That all makes sense with big corporate customers because the complexity of their requirements justifies it, but is it the way for all other thousands of corporate accounts that don’t need all that complexity?

Traditional travel agencies are losing their corporate business

What about the small and medium enterprises that also want and need a corporate booking solution? Usually they are left out and that’s hurting the traditional travel agencies because those corporate customers are finding their answers in specialized areas that the big OTA’s (Online Travel Agencies) have created to cater for those needs.

In general, modern technology solutions are affordable, simpler to use and available to a wider audience. Why isn’t that the case of corporate booking tools?

TTS answers the SME’s corporate booking solution needs

This is where solutions like the recently released TTS Corporate play an important role. What TTS did was to create a solution based on three principles: Software as a Service (SaaS); Easy to setup and maintain; Aligned business model. Let’s see what this means.

Software as a Service

Travel agencies are not and should not be IT competence centres. Although many have been forced over the years to increase their IT departments, they have also seen that it’s a bumpy road which keeps increasing the costs and not always generating the equivalent benefits.

Travel agencies should focus on their core business and that’s not IT services.

TTS Corporate is made available as a SaaS or in another words, some piece of complex technology that the experts, in this case TTS, hosts and maintains in all its technical perspectives and the travel agency just needs to operate it.

TTS Corporate is built in a way that business managers from the travel agency can understand and use without depending on IT technicians to operate and press the buttons. It uses the travel industry language and implements the travel industry logic. Travel agencies don’t need to worry with any technical aspect of keeping the services operational 24/7.

Easy to setup and maintain

From setting up the travel agency account, all the way down to setting up the corporate customers, the users, the travel policies, the fees and all the other parameters, everything is built in a way that travel agents can understand and operate. No training required, no need to read operation manuals or IT knowledge. During the design phase of TTS Corporate, the rule of thumb was that it has to be as easy to setup a travel agency and their customers as it is to shop online on Amazon. All screens, all fields, everything is done in a clean and easy to understand format that uses the language that travel agency professionals feel comfortable with.

Aligned Business Model

Although the above is really nice, so are super sports cars but the issue with those is that the majority of us cannot afford them. This is where we make the super sports car affordable.

TTS was actually the first tech company in this industry to implement a CBT (Corporate Booking Tool) using the freemium model (See more at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freemium). What this business model means is that for the first time, a corporate booking tool is affordable to any travel agency to service any corporate customer. It starts as Free, yes, free, totally free. Any agency can sign up for a free account, actually there is no other way to start a TTS Corporate agency account besides free, and continue to use it as a free service.

The free plan, that has no expiration date, offers the base and standard features of a CBT that will for sure be more than enough for travel agencies to service the SME. For more demanding corporate customers, the premium version is available, adding more features to the package, but even within the Premium where a cost is involved, instead of a transactional cost, there’s a monthly fixed cost per company and that’s it. It really does not matter if they make one booking or one thousand, the cost is the same.

The other good side is the flexibility travel agencies have to move the more demanding customers to the premium while at the same time keeping all the others on the free model.

The beauty of the Freemium Model

The beauty of the freemium model is that it puts the pressure on the solution provider, not on the travel agency. It’s the developer, in this case TTS, that needs to keep improving and releasing new features that are attractive enough to convince the travel agencies to pay an extra for those features.

Will TTS Corporate replace the other CBT on the market?

Definitely not. That was never the goal. For big, complex, multinational and global accounts travel agencies should continue to use the solutions they use today. They are the best at what they do.

TTS Corporate was built as the perfect solution for all the others corporate customers, the small, the medium and even some of the big ones that can fit and benefit from the simplicity and easy to use features provided.

TTS Corporate is not a replacement CBT, it is a brand new solution that will allow travel agencies to expand their corporate business beyond what they have today, that will allow them to service more corporate customers, all under a brand new business model that has no surprises and no risks. It’s making technology accessible and affordable like it should be.

Now, the question is: what will you do with this information? Will you keep losing your corporate customers because you cannot provide them a CBT or will you go to corporate.tts.com and start your own free account? It’s your business, it’s your decision.

by Rui Figueiredo, COO @ TTS