In post-pandemic times, we have noticed a significant increase in the rising demand for digitalisation and the use of technology. E-commerce and online purchasing have become huge parts of our daily lives and have transformed the typical consumer buying behaviour. Long gone are the days of physically travelling to stores to purchase items. Similarly, nowadays, online travel agencies offer online booking for hotels and flights. Why go through the trouble when you can easily shop online for your favourite clothes, order your meals, and book your next vacation — all from the comfort of your home?
Thus, it's safe to say that travel agency software is one of the most popular trends in the tourism industry. Thanks to online scheduling engines, booking a holiday for the family or going on solo travel experiences has never been easier.
As a travel agent, you want to make sure you offer a convenient and comfortable experience for your customers AND yourself. But, with such a wide variety of travel agency software, how do you choose the best and most convenient one? An easy way to judge is to look for top-rated modules — pieces of functionality that each software contains — which make the process of booking easier for you and your customer.
Some of the top modules include:
- Tour Creation
- Payment Gateway and Management
- CRM for Bookings
- Channel Manager
Keep reading to find out how each module mentioned above is crucial in the ideal travel agency software.
1. Tour Creation
Tour creation is probably one of the fundamentals of any travel agency software. Travel agents should be offered options to create and personalize tours which includes adding the tour details: names, descriptions, highlights, inclusions and images to make the tour/activity more exciting to customers.
Another significant aspect of the tour creation module is organizing the availability. Travel agents can manually set when they would like the tour to be available for purchase, for example, according to high/low travel seasons.
Finally, we come to pricing. In the ideal travel booking engine, travel agents should be able to adjust pricing according to different age groups: children, adults and seniors. Pricing can also be based on the number of people attending. Ensuring this feature is a part of your travel booking software is crucial.
2. Payment Gateway
Payments, cancellations and discount management should be a smooth process for both client and you the provider. You want to make sure your customers are able to pay, cancel or receive discounts without issue. Ideally, payment gateways integrated with the travel booking software allow payments to go straight into your account and not through a third party, which can incur unnecessary transfer fees.
We suggest looking for a travel booking software system that facilitates Stripe Connect. This features offers direct payments to your account with the automatic deduction of all necessary transaction fees and not a cent more. Therefore, ensuring your travel booking engine has an efficient payment management module is essential.
3. CRM: Customer Relationship Management
This module helps travel agents track all their clients and store all necessary information. Having all bookings displayed in a CRM makes it extremely easy for administrators and travel agents to keep track of all bookings, payments and upcoming tours/activities.
The ideal CRM allows interaction with customers and solves any potential issues regarding bookings, cancellations or refunds. Through CRM, travel agents can manually switch bookings to another date or process refunds if the need arises.
Another important aspect of CRM is providing effective customer service. With a CRM in place, travel agents can reply and respond to any customer queries within minutes.
Ideal travel booking engines such as TripAdmit offer manifests — a reminder of an upcoming tour/activity — for travel agents. Daily, weekly and monthly manifests help travel agents remain vigilant of any approaching bookings. This helps travel agents scope out the upcoming bookings in advance and plan accordingly.
Users can also use this feature to filter individual tours and locations if they operate in more than one location at any given time, this is useful for providing upper management with performance data for locations they can't be on the ground in 24/7.
In addition to offering good customer service, a manifest will enable an admin to assess what staffing roster needs to be in place in order to adequately meet the demands of the impending influx of customers or guests.
5. Channel manager
It is no secret within the travel industry that several large companies have a sizeable monopoly in the online booking space. Adding your share to each of these company channels has the benefit of boosting revenue due to their sizeable reach, but amending each tour on each channel for every change can be a time-consuming task for any admin.
However, a good piece of travel software will allow you to easily add your offering to each of the major channels through API integration. Furthermore, any changes made to tours/activities on your website will automatically be modified on any third-party channels that display your tour/activity.