Are you thinking about setting up a travel agency or planning to expand your existing one? To meet the demands of today’s customers, you are almost certain to need a well-built and appealing website. So that you maximise your market penetration you are also going to need a website with the capacity for accepting and managing bookings, payments, reservations, flight and cruise line schedules, train timetables and a database of operators and existing and potential customers.
This is the function and purpose of a travel booking system.
Travel booking systems were first developed by airlines – using the then industry standard programs such as Apollo, Pars (Worldspan), Galileo and Sabre.
Since then, many more systems have been developed with particular emphasis on the customer interface with travel agencies and the ability to book and pay for every kind of travel arrangement from holidays and city breaks to business trips.
Travel booking systems – functions
Travel booking systems are typically designed to keep the principal engines of your business permanently interconnected – and to use those interconnections to deliver the speediest possible response and transaction time, essential to meeting the industry demands of today.
The main engines of your travel agency are likely to be:
• your ability to automate every aspect of the travel planning booking process;
• the interface between that booking system and your customers’ needs and requirements – allowing your sales to increase them to book and pay for any kind of holiday or travel plan online; and
• an interface with your partners and suppliers (of, for example, holiday packages, flights, hotels and high cars) which allows them also to make reservations through your booking system.
Not only does such a system provide sharper focus to your business activities by keeping all bookings in one, centralised place, it also allows you to create the bespoke tours and packages required by your customers. By aggregating the various components of any travel package (flights, hotels and local travel facilities), you are able to add together the net cost of each individual aspect and simply apply a single mark-up to the price you need to charge.
Where can I buy an online booking system for my website?
At CSI Media, our preferred solution for travel booking systems is a web based package by the name of Travelberry.
This allows us to design and create your own bespoke booking system for incorporation into your particular website in a way that increases its appeal, attracts a greater number of visitors, and so boosts your sales.
During the basic setup, we focus on search engine optimisation and the management of content – by resort, accommodation, region or promotional offers, for example – which provide seamless links to all corners of your website.
The ability for customers to make payments and manage their bookings is facilitated by your accepting deposits and final payments, highlight special offers and offer discount voucher codes, whilst all the while keeping you in firm control of the margins you want to mark up.
The information you provide to customers is also elaborated through the incorporation of Google maps and its route planning capabilities.