Over the last 10 a long time, the travel business scenario has modified significantly. Today selling travel products is dependant on ‘best’ rates. To sustain in the battle to offer the ‘best deal’ and ‘best fare’ towards consumers, travel business owners have been forced to reduce bulk of their possible profit margins.
I still remember if a service fee of $6 was some sort of norm across online sales of fresh air tickets. Commissions and contracts were there for travel agents. Cancellation fee on lodges were healthy.
The emergence of large online traveling agencies changed the rules of the business across the world. Fuel prices and global economic conditions included in the challenges of earning healthy margins. Travel became by far the most competitive business. Commissions dried up. Segment fees reduced and “no fee” became the revolutionary best seller.
On the Travel Technological know-how side, along with successful implementations, I have heard stories of quite a few failures where travel businesses were struggling to derive what they wanted from technological know-how. Most of the time the key reasons behind failure has been:
Over ambitious technology goal using a constrained budget Lack of ‘competitive’ Traveling Technology expertise Poor IT team in addition to management, suffering from ‘over promise’ and ‘under deliver’ In this particular ecosystem, how could a travel business went about defining an effective Technology Strategy intended for itself?
As a travel technologist, I’ve got many motivations to say “buy the software”, but in my experience that’s season pitch. After carefully analyzing various successes and failures in the profession, here is what I feel I’ve got learned:
Step 1: Identify what Travel Technology you would like
Well, it is easier said in comparison with done. Most of the time not articulating the technology needs well would be the biggest hurdle in Technology Strategy. To be a travel business, here is what you could potentially do to clearly articulate the desire for technology.
Pen down the technology needs on the organization as envisioned by the small business owner / key management personnel Consult with people external towards organization such as technology consultants, Traveling Technology companies, GDS account managers, CRS / Suppliers and Travel Technological know-how bloggers Let a technology company interview you and recommend an alternative. This is generally free most on the times. Pursuing one or more these three exercises diligently will build enough knowledge base as to what your internal Technology Strategy should possibly be. Identify and validate these thoughts having inputs from internal operations and advertising and marketing teams.
Step 2: Build vs. Invest in?
This is considered the most difficult question. The answer lies in dividing Travel Technology needs in three buckets.
Out of the Box
Precisely what is proprietary?
It is important to identify your differentiator to be a travel business. Most of the time period, proprietary defines a piece of technology which reduces OPEX corresponding on your business operations or is the biggest revenue generator corresponding on your business model.
What is a custom made need?
Is there any part of your technology needs that is certainly sourced through an existing technology alternative, customized per your need?
What can be outside the box?
This might be the most effort intensive component of your technology needs and may call for a tremendous investment to build. Getting an outside the box solution that meets the flavor your requirements and configuring it per your needs, is the ideal technique. How to evaluate an out on the box solution is in itself an all-inclusive process.
Now we come to your next complex part of this exercise.
Step 3: Identify the right budget and dealer
Identifying the right budget and the vendor is the most prevalent shopping problem in every business segment. It takes a lot of time to reach to a decision.
Let’s compare technology acquisition towards decision of buying a laptop. There are various vendors to choose from. There usually are laptops priced from $300 to $3000. Your responsibility to buy would be shaped because of the life of the laptop, and the continuity of business (your job) it will guarantee.
Similarly, the continuity of this travel business would significantly depend within the Travel Technology you choose. That is why identifying the right budget, and the seller is a complex decision.
I would attempt to breakdown accomplishing this of identifying a vendor into much easier steps since just asking a vendor for just a quote would not necessarily help choose the right one.
Expertise – Does the vendor has expertise from the travel business?
Support & Servicing – Travel is usually a service business. Irrespective of whether the goods is ‘off the shelf’ or is it being built for you, longevity and promptness of support is critically crucial to maintain a personalized quality of service on your customers.
Customization needed vs. Customizability -What would be the future customizability of the software? (Applicable to both outside the box or custom built software) No matter if customization done today decrease future price tag of changing the technology? This is usually an important question to ask and search for answers to.
Value Add – Another important evaluation parameter for deciding on a vendor is to check what aspect /component of the software is available absolutely free and would remain so in one’s destiny.
Stability – Your guarantee of service on your customers depends on the stability of this vendor. It is important to seek answers to questions like is the vendor going to be in business for long? How are you safeguarded when a vendor goes out of business?