Gone are those days when travel agents had to manually enter data into spreadsheets and manage information related to travel bookings, inventory availability, and anything related to travel purchases. Thanks to online booking systems, the entire process of travel-related data management can now be performed using a software solution that facilitates reservation management.
But what is an online booking system? Online booking systems make use of smart technology that automates the entire manual data entering the process and completely eliminates the possibility of human errors that are otherwise possible in manual inputs. These online booking systems streamline the booking process for businesses and customers by automating various processes like payment scheduling, inventory management, etc.
What are the various travel booking systems that travel agents use?
The GDS or Global Distribution System
The invention of GDS or the Global Distribution System is marked as a beginning for internet-based travel services. It is an enormous database that helps travel agents and travel websites store and update travel inventory information.
The Global Distribution System makes it possible for travel agents and businesses to access real-time inventory information, availability, rates, promotions, discounts and offers on restaurant reservations, car rentals, flight tickets, hotel rooms, and other travel services. Due to the availability of reduced prices and a variety of options, Global Distribution Systems are likely to help travel businesses to quickly sell out in huge numbers.
CRS or Computer Reservation Systems
A Computer Reservation System also known as central reservation systems, have similar functions to GDS but are limited to Airlines. Simply put, They are automated reservation systems that help travel businesses store and retrieve information, manage payments related to air travel.
Computer Reservation Systems these days also help agents and travel businesses store and distribute tourism products or services related information. They have not become a part of PPS or Passenger Service System which also host information related to the DCS or the departure control system. Example – Hewlett Packard’s EDS
OTAs or Online Travel Agents
OTAs or Online Travel Agents are one-stop solutions for all traveler needs. OTAs facilitate access to a wide range of travel-related services such as restaurant bookings, travel package bookings, hotel accommodation, flight bookings, vehicle rentals, tour-guide reservations and other travel-related activities.
They help customers compare prices, the filter offers according to their expectations or budgetary restrictions, read hotel or destination reviews, etc. This not only helps travelers make the best choices that suit them but also helps them get a clear picture of what they are getting into. They are excellent tools for travel agents and travel businesses of all sizes as they are easy to use and improve sales due to their participation in online marketing.
Top 4 Use Cases of an online booking system
Though online booking software’s primary focus is on payments and bookings, it still covers and helps execute a wide range of operations. Here are the most popular use cases of an online booking system –
1. Helps customers compare
One of the best things about online booking systems is that they help customers easily compare various travel packages or options. From hotels to flights, everything is placed in a logical order. It helps customers easily compare and make decisive choices that are in line with their budget and expectations leading customers to make the best suitable choices.
2. Caters to various customer needs
Be it business trips or solo vacations, customers these days have a wide range of needs and requests now more than ever that which businesses have to cater to. Intelligent booking systems enable customers to use filters that help them quickly catch hold of exactly whatever they are looking for.
3. A one-stop solution for all travel needs
Online booking systems help businesses incorporate options of cross-selling. Unlike traditional travel businesses that lack the flexibility and scalability to add new products and categories, online booking systems make it possible for businesses to add various other options like restaurant reservations, car rentals, theatre tickets, etc making their business a one-stop solution for all kinds of travel needs.
4. Helps increase organizational efficiency
Online booking software can not only make back-office operations simple and easy but can also increase the overall efficiency of the organization as everything from inventory to customer service is automated.
This online booking software can also automate major routine admin operations while making sure that there are no errors or delays which are otherwise caused in traditional booking systems. This results in increased productivity levels and efficiency at the same time.
Benefits of having an online travel booking software
They help cut-down costs
With online booking software customers no longer have to wait around for someone else to do their bookings, this leads to a decrease in telephone-based sales which cost a lot of manual labour. Now that customers are able to book travel packages by themselves businesses will no longer have to invest too much in telephone-based sales. This will significantly bring down staffing costs.
They generate better sales numbers!
It is no secret that online booking systems can be run without the interference of human labour. This makes it possible for travel companies to stay in business 24/7. This makes it possible for businesses to book more and more travel packages throughout the day leading to higher sales numbers and better brand visibility.
They streamline the transaction process
Another best thing about online booking systems is the ease of transfers or payments that they facilitate. Customers hate having to delay payment as it can indicate a lack of inventory and can put a halt on their travel plans, but thanks to the software this no longer is a problem. Booking software provides a streamlined and standardized mode of payments that makes the transfer of funds easy and quick.
How Travel CRMs help
Travel CRM or Travel Customer Relationship Management is software that helps travel businesses execute customer management operations in a smooth and streamlined manner. Travel CRMs help travel agents and businesses take care of various operations like lead generation, customer support ticket registration, automated ticket or agent assignment, help desk ticket remediation, facilitation of self-service portals, and so much more.
Due to the automation of such tasks, travel businesses are able to handle customer relationships in the most efficient and effective manner leading to an increase in sales, CSAT scores, First-Call resolution time, an increase in profitability, etc.
In addition to this, Kapture CRM also allows businesses to facilitate self-serve portals to escalate the remediation process and to step up their customer service operations. Investing in a Travel CRM can also improve customer retention rates and lower customer acquisition costs.
How Travel Booking Systems create an impact
The world is moving fast, so are the customer’s expectations. Keeping up with the technological shift and creating a digitalized space has become the need of the hour.
Online booking systems not only help businesses completely automate various business operations but also help improve process management and enable a streamlined process of reporting. They make it possible for businesses to adapt and cater to various customer needs and expectations at the same time making the software a must-have.