Showing posts with label Travel Inventory online. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Travel Inventory online. Show all posts

How to distribute Travel Inventory online?

Today travel operators, big or small, have a desire to move their business online. They know online distribution is the fastest way to sell inventory. It also allows to have direct connectivity with global suppliers. This blog post is lesson 101 on distributing your inventory online.

Following are the steps through which tour operators can sell online -

Step 1 : Get Cloud based Reservation System: Cloud based inventory management systems are on on-demand web-based software applications for travel management companies that allows them to better manage their inventory contracts. Most of the reputed systems, like moxiter, allow you to manage each of your travel products (hotels, transfers, tickets, cruise, etc)
    1. Easy to Adopt.
    2. Access from anywhere.
    3. Save time on rate calculation.
    4. Tracking inventory in real-time.

Step 2 : Digitize contracted rates: Travel agencies have contracted rates for their business which is mostly in PDF format. Once you have got the inventory management system, its time to digitize the contracts that you have with various suppliers. This is the most important step, as you must ensure that the staff responsible for feeding contracts is well-trained for the system and makes absolutely zero error. Going with the optional service of contract-feeding offered by your system provider is recommended.

Step 3: Invite your agent network: With contracts fed and system in-place, its time to get your business online. Invite your agents to try your brand new online reservation system. Travel agents are generally hesitant to change the way of doing business so you will have to clearly outline how it would benefit them.
    1. Receive orders via your site.
    2. Process through your supplier directly.
    3. Efficiently control and manage the system.

Recommended way is to start by inviting 5-10 agents who you have good relations with. Remember that every reservation system needs to be customized according to your business processes and now is the time when you need to get that done. Once satisfied, invite all your travel agents, sit back and relax!

Step 4 : Channel Managers: Your existing business has moved online. Great, now you will reap rewards of efficient operations and short turnaround time. But where is increased direct business? You have a digitized inventory, that is a goldmine you are sitting on. Time to look out for proper channels to sell more or generate new leads. For a B2B Company it is important to channelize inventory through XML, APIs, agent booking tools and also white-label travel booking engine. Options at hand are aggregators and OTAs which come in handy at this point to forge partnerships in geographies you have not existed before.

Step 5 : [optional] B2C website: Your B2B business is soaring and this step is optional. In my interactions with over 150 DMCs, only few have wanted to get into B2C because greater profit-margins come at greater cost. But if you are ambitious and want to have a of your own, here is what you need to do. Get a nice looking B2C website up and running with all the payment options configured. You need to keep in mind that direct customer needs are to be handled with finesse.

I hope you enjoyed reading this. If you have any questions or want to share your experience of moving your business online please drop a comment below.