Travel agencies located around the world face a massive amount of pressure when they are trying to cater to the demands of the travel industry. The travel industry is growing at a rapid pace and it is important to make sure that processes within the agency are optimized to ensure the smoothness of day to day operations. While half of the traveling services can be booked online, such as accommodation and tickets, but many people still rely on travel agencies for many reasons. Travelers in today’s world are provided with the opportunity to search and book their travel plans online. However, most of them still prefer to get the assistance of travel agencies. Having complex itineraries can be considered as the main reason for this. For example, they come across the need to reserve multiple legs of the journey. On the other hand, they come across the need to travel along with a bigger group with various schedules. They have tremendous pressure from OTAs which have all processes automated, they have smaller margins with a decreasing trend, which makes very important that all the processes inside the travel agency are the most efficient possible and automated to the most.
Benefits of Automation
Automation can provide a large number of benefits to the travel agencies. Ability to reduce costs can be considered as the main benefit out of them. That’s because travel agencies are reducing the total number of manual processes that have to go through from the hands of the employees. Then the agency will be merging them to an automated planning system. By doing this, travel agencies will also be eliminating human error. This can ensure perfectness in all the business operations. As a result, travel agencies can provide an enhanced experience to their customers at the end of the day. The responsiveness of today’s travel agency can also be enhanced with the help of automating workflows. This can also help to take the travel agencies to the next level and achieve outstanding results at the end of the day.
Actual Workflows and Automations
When you take a look at a typical travel agency, you can see how it faces a series of workflow challenges on a daily basis. They are mainly centered on booking, itinerary creation, confirmations, and notifications. Although, travel agencies are already using some automation in their daily workflow:
- Automatic PNR integration in their back-office system.
- Custom Remarks with Automated Booking Integration. With the correct remarks, the booking integrates seamlessly in the back office, identifying the correct customer, file, cost center, etc.
- Programmable keys are being used by the travel agencies to execute commands with few clicks and increased productivity.
- Automated PNR rules can automatically make the complicated much easier. With the Automated PNR rules, the agency ensures that every travel agent complies with the policy and necessary information in each booking.
- Corporate Booking Tools. Using CBT’s such as TTS Corporate, KDS, Concur, and many others, travel agencies have introduced an automatic booking management system, where corporate customers can optimize their travel management processes. Corporate booking tool makes it easier for the customer to search and book and comply with travel policies.
THE USAGE OF TICKETING SOLUTIONS FOR SUB AGENCIES
The consolidation business is booming, allowing IATA agencies to issue tickets to non-IATA agencies, or even to IATA agencies that do not want to increase their bank guarantees, or want to have access to private rates from the Consolidating Agency. Efficient ticketing software is necessary to the travel agency, to allow their subagents to have ticketing autonomy while ensuring that the travel agency has no risk in doing so. A ticketing software increases the speed and improves the efficiency in the ticketing process by sub-agencies. A ticketing software can display the live fares for the subagents, allowing them the search, book and issue tickets without needing to contact the Consolidator agency. Solutions such as TTS Consolidator allow the subagents to issue tickets autonomously, as long as they have credit in the solution. The process of credit control is also automated in the Ticketing Solution, allowing the Consolidator agency to have peace of mind in this process and to grow their consolidation business effortlessly.
AUTOMATED TRIP BUDGET FOLLOW-UP
As travel agencies know, not all budgets provided end up in a customer purchase. Knowing this, it is of the utmost importance that travel agencies have an automated follow-up process in place. With today’s technology, it’s very easy to automate emails and tasks to ensure that all budgets provided have an appropriate follow-up and, at the end of the day, ensure that all efforts have been made to convert that budget in a customer purchase. This kind of automation can raise the budget to purchase ratio.
In a world that AI and automation are trends, travel agents have done a great job with keeping up with the required standards by the modern world. Nonetheless, the work is never finished and constant update is needed João Taborda to evolve and not only meet the standards, but even raise them. The travel industry has been one of the major progressive industries when we are speaking about technology and has continuously shown that it will keep on delivering the best technology available to those who work in the industry. Companies such as TTS – Travel Technology Solutions assist the industry in solving unsolved problems by developing innovative solutions.
Article by João Taborda, Head of Sales @ TTS