Let’s be realistic. While adopting latest travel technology applications such as tour operator software or travel agency software is an essential thing to get the required edge, there is a possibility that competition is doing the same thing. While ticket booking is made easy through the booking engine software, the question still remains –
How are we going to differentiate ourselves from competition and from online travel agencies which have made huge progress in the travel segment?
In a fast moving and tech driven ecosystem, companies are trying hard to push ahead on the technological front while leaving a scope for improvisation on the service front. Service isn’t just about providing what you have set shop to; it is going a step ahead and delighting the customer / traveller. One way to delight your customers is to create convenience along the travel service chain that begins at travel planning and moves to the stages of ticket booking, travelling, accommodation etc. It is here that the partnerships and relationships with the suppliers such as hotels, cab companies and restaurants matters.
The first thing that comes to any traveller’s mind after she alights from her transport is Hotel! Proper accommodation and rest are a very integral part of a travel itinerary. Partnering with different kinds of hotels for different travellers needs and budget is one way you could establish yourself as a specialist agent and move ahead in terms of customer service. In fact, in a competitive scenario such as the one we are in – hotels too are in the need of increasing their occupancy rates and growing business through quality partnerships.
Food! We need not even deliberate on how important good and healthy food can be, more so in a travel mode. Imagine the delight of your customer as she gets confirmation on her seat reservation at her favourite restaurant even as she books her ticket! Partnering with restaurants is a great way to delight your customer while also extending your business footprint. So, ensure that you partner with reliable and good restaurants at the destination points.
Resorts play a major role as they are the one-stop shop for the traveller’s requirements from food to stay to leisure activities to even treatments for certain ailments. Partnering with reliable resorts, especially in places that are cut-off from the cities and in places that are on the coasts, makes for a viable business proposition while hiking up the customer service levels.
Homestays and Local Joints:
A great way to target budget travellers is to partner with local homestays and food joints that offer comfortable stay and quality food. Homestays are a boon when it comes to back-packers and budget travellers. Local food joints are another way to explore the gastronomic habits of the traveller(s).
Event Management Firms:
Perhaps, an unassuming supplier but nonetheless a very important one is the event management firm. The current day traveller, especially, the millennial is looking for more of an authentic experience that is much closer in cultural terms, to the destination point. Fairs, festivities and other cultural events that take place in and around the destination towns make for a wholesome travel experience. Event management firms need not always be the well-established firms, they can also be individuals who organize and conduct events in specific places. Collaborating with them lends a new dimension to customer service and offering.
The local tourist guides play a vital role, especially when it’s about smaller and relatively undiscovered places. In fact, having undiscovered places on your list of ‘’destination spots’’ also helps you become a specialist even as you partner with the local, reliable tourist guides to help your customers explore the areas. Another advantage of having tourist guides is their ability to respond to immediate changes in the itinerary of the travellers; they can arrange for travel, accommodation and even food as the travel plans change, merely because they are well-versed with the areas.
Imagine the level of satisfaction your customer gains as she has a cab waiting to transport her to the hotel as soon as she lands at the airport. All this, because you have collaborated with the local cab company and arranged for her ride. Another delight can be when the cab or local transport picks her up at the hotel and takes all around the city and even to the nearby tourist spots as per travel plan. This could well be an unforgettable experience for your customer.
Consumed by the advent of technological changes it’s easy to forget two important things that can make a vast difference to you as a travel partner – Specialization of services and Partnerships with the suppliers. One way to differentiate your tour operator software is to ensure that the traveller has a seamless and hassle free experience as she moves through the travel loop from ticket booking to accommodation to transport to food and leisure. This can be achieved by having a long standing and strong partnership and relationship with the other stakeholders such as – Hotels, Restaurants, Cab companies and Leisure management companies.