And how the Online Booking Engine is helping them
There was a time when travel agents needed nothing but a phone and a notebook to conduct their business. Customers would call them to book their vacations, and travel agents would find them the best solution for their travel needs. With the rise of the internet and the DIY culture, those times are long gone. Travelers, old and young, want to be able to go online to book their own trips and find their own experiences. Now, it is the job of the travel agent to find the right tools to facilitate that process in order to stay in business and not be left out of the game.
What is the right tool for my travel agency?
In 2014, 94% of personal travelers and a whopping 98% of business travelers disclosed booking at least one service for their trips with an online booking engine (Ipsos MediaCT, 2014). After seeing those numbers, it is not surprising to find that, in the past 10 years, travel agencies that adopted an online booking engine report a dramatic rise in their sales and overall profits. Most travel agents, however, have the same pressing question: What is the right booking engine for my business? Keep reading to find out.
What should you look for in an online booking engine?
In order to drive sales while maintaining control of your business, you must be aware of both your customers’ satisfaction as well as your business needs by keeping in mind these 4 imperative factors:
- When customers go online to book trips, they need to have a seamless experience to prevent dropped shopping carts, so a booking engine should offer fast response times and an easy booking process. A booking engine designed by UX specialists is the way to go.
- To personalize customers’ experience and drive sales, an ideal booking engine would allow you to show each customer only the content you want them to see.
- In order to enhance your profits, a booking engine must give you the option to fully customize markups and commissions.
- To be on top of all transactions and business activity, a booking engine should provide detailed reports by customer, date or supplier.
- You should be able to receive all communications related to the day-to-day of your business directly to your phone, computers, and tablet, so when thinking about purchasing a booking engine, it is important to look for one that sends notifications about cancellations, delayed flights, price changes and everything else you need to know to conduct your business.
- To never miss a detail about a reservation, a booking engine needs to to store all aspects of the reservation under the customer’s profile, that way when you need to know if a reservation was cancelled, if a payment has been made, or who is the provider of the services, you can find it in one easy step.
- To be constantly connected with your customers to inform them about every aspect of their reservations through their preferred method of communication, a good booking engine should give you the option to send and receive e-mails, system notifications, SMS, and Facebook messages to your customers, while at the same time storing said messages under their profile in the back office of the booking engine for easy access.
- The more connections a booking engine has, the more possibilities it has to offer the product your customer is looking for, so a booking engine needs to be equipped with the greatest possible amount of integrations to make sure customers buy from you.
- Travel agencies are not all equal: some are giant corporations, some are in the process of becoming one, so a great booking engine should be able to offer you what you need to manage your empire, or grow your business at your own pace while being transparent about pricing.
When deciding which booking engine to purchase, make sure it offers the precision to delight your customers with a flawless user experience, the knowledge to keep you informed about every aspect of your business, the connections to attract and keep customers, and the power to grow at your own pace.