Showing posts with label DMC. Show all posts
Showing posts with label DMC. Show all posts

Travel Technology Outlook 2015

Travel industry is changing drastically with the advent of travel technology. For the last few years, it has established a niche platform for the travel operators and assists them to enrich their efficiency with relevant products and services and thereby enhance their business performance. Travel technology outlook in the year 2015 can be regarded as the prospective tool for the travel industry.

If you are one of those tour operators who wants to get par with technology then you must try to focus on the following tech trends:

1) Travel metasearch: With the expansion of online travel booking there is an increase in customer search layer and marketing funnel. Online Travel Agents can be benefitted by Travel Metasearch, which will help them to invest in cost per click to divert customer bookings to their own websites. Travel metasearch has achieved growth in 2014 with an expected growth in 2015.

  • It has been analysed that whoever has the best skill to convert clicks to bookings will have greater capacity to outstrip the other competitors.
  • Travel metasearch can maintain an outstanding relationship with the OTA partners. Its technology enables them to sell more inventory than anyone else through its dynamic pooled inventory distribution design.
  • Seeking the benefits of travel metasearch, Priceline, Expedia, Trivago and Kayak have invested in meta-search channels.
  • Travel meta-search provides opportunity for direct booking in contrast to online search by large online travel agents which is often considered as “battle for eyeballs.”
  • Its results, in improving the customer experience and conversion rates.

2) Email marketing: As the number of e-mail users is increasing globally, so it has created platforms for the marketers to fully implement e-mail targeting and personalization strategies. Success in the e-mail marketing space is dependent upon the quality of the content.

The E-consultancy email census report of 2014 projects 20%, 22% and 24% of dealers, has identified three important points to focus on this year by 2015.

  • Analytics.
  • Specific data quality and
  • Distribute appropriate communications.

3) Social Media: People realized that social media like Facebook, Twitter etc. serves as a business and marketing channel in recent times.

Social media is a channel where consumers are the king. They are located in the opening, central and the last part of the purchase path.
  • Promoting products with a team made up of social media and digital marketing members can optimize your advertising cost through targeting millions of brands on a Facebook Page.

4) Mobile Booking: Mobile travel bookings are projected to rise across the world. One of the largest segments of e-ticketing through e- mobile booking is expected to see a flow in 2015.
  • According to a consulting firm, in the year 2015, the US is projected to comprise one quarter of the online travel market as it advances from just 2 % in 2011.
  • Asia Pacific marks more than 20 % of travel bookings made on a mobile device along with Brazil and Germany which is less than 10 %.
  • On a global basis, mobile bookings are growing faster than desktop booking that ensures 20 % against 2 % over the first six months of 2014.
  • Smartphones and tablets account for 21 % of hotel bookings, while a peer-to-peer apartment rental is the category with highest mobile penetration of 34 % globally.

5) Google Glass: Despite of the fact that technology in its current form is trolling consumers the airport truly seems excited to be using Google Glass. The airport authority created an app that allows the Google Glass wearer to quickly call up flight information according to the gate rather than call to report.

Though it may sound magical to you but it’s true.
  • Glass was being deployed around the airport and on the runway, being used to both track the passenger’s journey through the terminal and for getting information to operations folks on the ground.
  • The use of glass worked for the airport that made information efficiency and it will certainly help other sectors of the travel industry to set free ground resources in the coming years.
Conclusion: Travel technology will undoubtedly carve out a niche for itself in specialized global travel market in 2015.It will certainly trigger the individual DMC to incorporate the ultimate technology trend to expand business in this competitive era.

Online payment options for Destination Management Company

You have a thriving travel business and have also setup your online presence? Great! It must be heart-warming to see queries coming in magically through your website. The next thing to do is setup a way to accept online payments from your clients. If you are new to travel technology, you could leave this to experts ( or try it on your own. In either case it is only better to have some know-how of it before taking the plunge. 

There may be many questions, in your mind, about the various online payment solutions and you need to analyse clearly on what would be the best payment option for you. As per reports, website s having more than four payment options are likely to have higher sales figure by 12% as compared to those offering only one. This means multiple payment options can enhance more online payment processing and in return mullah for you.

Following are the keys to identify the right online payment solution:

  • Merchant account: Setting a merchant account is the first step towards receiving payments. Merchant account is a bank account that allows a customer to receive payment through credit and debit card.
  • Payment gateway: Payment gateway is a processor which helps in secured transaction of credit card information between the merchant and the customer and also between the merchant and the payment processor.
  • Payment processor: This processor assures secured information and anti-fraud measures between the customer and the merchant.
  • PCI compliance: Payment mode is set in such a way that meets the rules and regulations as per Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS).
  • ACH payments: It must have ACH (Automated Clearing House) payments options to support electronic credit and debit transfers, allowing customers for transaction through bank accounts for any type of bill or purchase.

Following are the global leaders of online payment solutions.

PayPal: PayPal is considered as the most popular payment options, processing about 11.5 million payments per day in recent times. It’s a secured digital payment revolution processing with 162 million active wallets and which are available in 203 markets. PayPal gives people better ways to connect with their money. It offers an easy solution to send money without sharing financial information and with the flexibility to pay using their PayPal account balances, bank accounts, PayPal Credit and credit cards. It allows customers to get paid in more than 100 currencies, withdraw funds to their bank accounts in 57 currencies and hold balances in their PayPal accounts in 26 currencies.
Fee: PayPal takes 2.9% and $0.30 per-transaction and has no setup or monthly fees.

Dwolla:  This new online payment option is the competitor to PayPal. It has common features like the PayPal. Recently, it has supported payments to over $ 1 million per day.

Fee: There are no transaction charges less than$10 but it charges$0.25 over $10.

Google Wallet:  Google wallet is the new name for Google Checkout. It is regarded as the updated mode of payment option to send and receive money.

In competition with Paypal, Google introduced Google wallet as online payment solution. Google wallet permits users for safe, simple and has quick transfer to and from your bank account. The options like credit card processing and the ability to send out invoices are the common features of google wallet and PayPal.
Fee: Google Wallet/checkout fees start at 2.9% and $0.30 per transaction for sales less than $3,000. The percentage they charge depends on their monthly sales volume.

WePay:  This is a payment processor which assists internet users and merchants to accept online payments with credit cards and bank account. WePay is also trying to focus on specific user with their newly added e-store page tool and help customers to take payments conveniently.
Fee: WePay charges a 2.9% transaction fee (with a $0.50 minimum) for credit card transactions and $0.30 for bank payments. It does not have any setup or monthly costs.

Authorize.Net: This is one of the popular payment gateways with over 300,000 merchants on its site who utilizes Authorize.Net to accept payment. It is one of the common payment modes for e- commerce website and also the travel portal. For five consecutive years, it has seized the Achievement in Customer Excellence (ACE) award.
Fee: It takes a $0.10 per transaction fee.Authorize.Net has a $99 setup fee and monthly costs of $20.

Amazon Payments

Amazon Payments permit its consumers to receive money using its API (and to send money out via ACH). These days the entire popular crowd funding site uses Amazon payments as their online payment option.
Fee: Amazon payments fees start at 2.9% and $0.30 per transaction for payments over $10.The fee is 5.0% and $0.05 per-transaction for $0.10 per transaction fee.

Stripe:  Stripe is one more payment solution that acts as a merchant account for its providers, helps in handling all PCI compliance and merchant approvals. It provides an excellent payment solution for web developers who would like to integrate a payment system into their projects utilizing Stripe’s robust API.
Fee: Stripe fee is 2.9% and $0.30 per transaction with no setup or monthly fees.

Braintree: It is a popular online payment options because of its features to handle global payment, as well as payment gateway, merchant account, credit card processor and mobile payment processor. It also supports ACH payments and can be used as a payroll system.
Fee: Braintree fee is 2.9% and $0.30 per transaction for qualified cards. There is no set-up or monthly fees.
ProPay offers similar features like PayPal. It has the capacity to receive and send money anywhere in the world and can generate recurring billing and a built-in shopping cart. The added advantage that ProPay has over the others is that it is also accepted by eBay and it can process credit and debit cards on your iOS or Android phones.

A key thing to note is that these global players might not be present in all countries and you will have to check for that beforehand. Through the above information, I have tried to give you a basic familiarity with terminology and various options available in payment industry. If you are going to make a decision soon, I would recommend a detailed discussion with some expert on available payment options in your country.

When should you upgrade your Travel technology platform

Got a minute? Think about the speed at which technology is changing around you. Last year's gadgets already need replacement. Your cherished photographs and videos now appear 'blurry'. When you are running a business and are answerable to a lot of people, you need to be on top of this change. Any one of these can be detrimental to your yearly plans. Within a short span the technology you use for your travel business can become outdated or it somehow fails to cater to your requirements. Well, that should be a good reminder that you have to upgrade your technology infrastructure. It is a challenging job to look for loopholes in your current IT system but here are a few checkpoints for evaluating your tech platform.

Responsive design: Is your company website built on principles of Responsive design? It allows designers and developers to create website that can accommodate a variety of screen size, panning, scrolling and easy navigation. If you are unable to update any of the cited features then you should upgrade your platform because-
  • With the extensive use of smart phones and tablets in recent times, it has become mandatory to use responsive design to project your website and its service on all screen size. 
  • To attract user’s attention you need to implement responsive philosophy where you can create an ideal path for them to follow. 
  • It is easy to gather information on what device is being used for browsing or the visiting time of the day, their location and their visits how long they’ve been on the site. 

Mobile strategy: Mobile has become an integral part of the travel industry. There is a massive growth of mobile device. It is projected that the total number of people using 'apps' on mobiles is going to surpass desktop and laptop by 2015. Things to keep in mind -
  • Out of every five smartphone users two will definitely use their mobile device to make a purchase. 
  • Mobile users want organized information as per their requirement. Without a dedicated mobile app, its not going to happen.

Day Room Booking: Normally customers plan a trip and look for night stay but the scenario has changed to day room booking for the recent time. This concept of day room is very popular within European and American countries where as this concept is in the early stage in Asian countries. You can upgrade your system to support day room booking as this concept can generate more sales for you because-
  • Day room booking is meant for transit customers. 
  • Meant for customers waiting for connecting flights and refreshing. 
  • Meant for Executive meetings - a new MICE segment?. 
  • No booking fees and also you don’t have to pay the tariff for the entire day. 

Booking segmentation: Booking segregation is increasing as an important tool for the travel platform where you have to opt for individual count and the number of days of the vacation. Here children’s age segregation plays a pivotal role on the charges of the booking in the travel portals. If your system is unable to provide lower charges to children then you need to upgrade. Segregation of booking charges is important because children below 5 years are not charged whereas children in the age group of 5 to 10 are charged full or half that differ with the individual company rules and regulation.

The future of the travel industry will flourish with the drastic changes in technology. So simply by redesigning your website and better browsing will help you to an extent but you need a consistent technology upgradation process to compete online. You will also have to adapt the latest in travel technology just to keep the ensure the current business growth and its about time that you incorporate this in your company policy. The best way would be to go for a SaaS travel software platform (like which ensures that you are always ahead of the curve and ready to run with the latest travel technology.
Grow 2.5x in 2015 (img:src)

With the beginning of a new year your agenda would definitely be to increase sales. 
Focussing on the right tools can help you lead the competition and achieve your goals.

Attend trade shows: Experiencing the art of knowing and exploring different trade values can be a key tool for your growing organisation. Most of the trade shows are focussed on B2B deals, it is a good opportunity to connect with buyers and sellers. So, if you want to expand in a new territory, finding partners can be a lot more easier among peers who are attending the same trade show as you are. But you will have to keep a tab on which trade-show to attend and which ones to skip.

Scout for Channel Managers:  This might be the most obvious strategy for most of you. If you want to increase sales, just increase the reps, increase the channels. It follows the basic unitary principle taught in junior Maths class and it works out almost always. Hiring good channel managers can impact your sales numbers in matter of weeks.

Replace your old Technology: Technology is evolving each day. Keeping track of the latest software can open up unexpected opportunities for your business.. This is specially relevant in travel as technology has not touched this industry as much as it has some other like manufacturing, for instance. New technology could help you find better leads, high worth clients or automate your entire process. Chances are you might end up saving on annual IT bills on switching vendors. This becomes all the more true with newer and better tech providers in the market.

Get a travel CRM:  One of the key tools for your organisation is the travel CRM. The role played by a travel CRM is pivotal as it manages interactions with current and future customers which helps in organising, automating, synchronising sales, marketing and customer service. You see, we have listed all the stages in a booking cycle and that is why this is what makes it a key software for any business to have. The better your team uses and maintains CRM, the better is your growth.

Analyse Customers’ Choice: As your organisation is customer oriented so it is mandatory for you to keep a track about your customer and about their preferences. Any query and feedback helps you to rectify your shortcoming and also provide you the opportunity to tempt the customer to avail the offer pitched by you.

Promote your USP: Highlight your USP to position your company at a different level than your competition. It makes the customer convinced about the service and the value of your product. A delighted customer will always come back in future. Promoting your USP also helps in winning referrals as your satisfied customers don't have to put in effort while describing your values. Its already on their minds.

Price it right: Pricing is very important for any DMC. Right pricing should justify your service and product so that your assurance towards profitability is more. Even a small increase in price can bring dramatic change in your sales. By Pricing, I don’t mean just your margin, you also need to take care of currency conversion factor. Far too often, travel businesses rely on manually updated conversion rates which marks up your inventory by upto 5% as compared to businesses who depend on automated real-time exchange rates. So the key to correct pricing is to factor in all the parts that go in it.