Automation is one of the current trends in the business world, reducing company’s resource expenditure, and resulting in time and money savings. The travel sector, always one of the first to adopt new technologies, is a market that can greatly benefit from the implementation of this innovation.
From local businesses to online travel agencies and the aviation industry, automating processes can progressively and systematically reduce wasted resources and help define and improve the important work steps. These are a few of the ways in which automation could revolutionize the industry.
Simplifying Booking Processes
In today’s world, customers find the best deals and look for lower prices from their own smartphones, obtaining accurate information in real-time. To compete in this environment, agencies need to quickly adjust to market variation and articulate several conditions, in order to promote engaging offers and promotions without hurting their profit margins. This can be a time-consuming challenge. Competition’s prices and offers must be tracked; this process can be automated, reducing your business’ response time and increasing offer effectiveness.
Once potential customers are engaged, several parameters will influence their decisions; small details in the app or website structure define if the booking is completed or abandoned. Automation tools can monitor the client’s behaviour and routing, detecting platform weaknesses and improvement opportunities. Post-booking processes, such as checking if the booking is complying with legislation, communication with the customer, notifications, and ticketing can be automated to reduce dedicated resources and avert human error.
Centralizing Information and Increasing Accuracy
Scattered information is an operational risk; if you represent a travel agency, either presential or online, keeping the information pertaining to customers and suppliers, flights and stays, reservations and human resources in separate platforms – is a disaster about to happen. You can obviously lose information, but in some cases, you may fail to deliver a certain service, create duplicates and overbooking, or mix data.
All this information can be stored and articulated using any travel business operation application, albeit in SaaS model for your business. These platforms, typically built and made available on-demand, allow you to manage and access all the important processes in the same place, with real-time update and contradiction alerts. A travel business operation management application along with a CRM reduces mistakes and mishandling of information, thus enhancing efficiency.
Information processed and stored in this software can be used to create customer profiles and help the agent improve and customize the service. The platform can also be used to send instant notifications when travel parameters are changed or when prompted (to alert customers concerning documentation, check-in times, etc.). Procedures such as supplier payments, inventory reposition order and others can also be automated and triggered by user-defined parameters. All of these and many more possibilities reduce the risk of human error and allow you to dedicate your efforts and resources to more important aspects.
Getting More Sales, Faster
Customers like faster replies. If a customer sends the same inquiry to various travel agencies and is expecting various replies to compare prices, it is not certain that the lowest budget wins; speed has a part to play. If this information request includes flights, overnight stays, tour bookings, etc., comparing suppliers, quality, dates, and reaching a fast conclusion becomes increasingly difficult. A management system holding all this data and able to search and compare local and international products and suppliers can greatly simplify and accelerate this investigation. The agent, having all the information easily available and filtered, can give a personalized touch, or customize the proposal and still beat the competition. Should any parameter of the trip be altered, updated solutions can be obtained without doubling the research time.
An important characteristic of these systems and automated replies is that you can address inquiries out of working hours, 24/7. This increases the number of engaged clients and overall productivity. Resorting to digital and social media marketing campaigns can also augment the number of leads your business gets and help with customer re-engagement and follow up.
Coordinating and Exploring Customer Data
Allowing agents, managers, guides, and international partners to store and access relevant information concerning customers can make the difference on the service level you offer. Sharing databases and articulating management systems lets you quickly address and resolve any issues that arise. It accelerates the inquiry response and gives you the tools needed to provide superior customer service.
Learning algorithms can help you define your client’s profile based on data, requests, and marketing channels. With a fine-tuned system, customized suggestions and offers can be made to specific customers, increasing sales, and more importantly, improving customer satisfaction. Since you will be targeting your audience with increased accuracy, your overall business productivity is optimized – instead of spending time and money flooding clientele with offers that do not apply to their expectations.
In a time when services are increasingly being provided without human interaction, small details and adaptations to individual buyers make people feel better accompanied and cared for. Suggesting restaurants that fit the client’s tastes or presenting special offers on their birthday are examples of subtle but effective ways to stand out from the competition. Automate the repetitive tasks and give your agents and staff the time to add a premium, individual treatment.
Optimizing Efficiency and Productivity
Automating your business may seem modern and exciting, but do not forget the most important factor: is it cost-efficient? According to Forbes, intelligently automating your business’ processes can save between 40-75% of your costs, within a variable payback period (stretching from months to years).
Data mining algorithms, automated statistical analysis and high-volume processing power can quickly and accurately go through your daily, repetitive tasks and provide employees with useful and ready-to-use information. This gives them time and availability to step away, look at the overall performance, and find improvement opportunities.
Integrating your software with partners’ platforms, such as Amadeus and Galileo, can save precious time and avert errors, by booking directly and sharing information. Many other operations besides ticket booking can be automated. The creation of reports presenting key performance indicators and relevant data can also be programmed and customized.
Increasing Safety and Trust
Safety, security, and trust are on the top of the list when it comes to travel priorities. If the physical and psychological integrity of customers was already something to be preserved and considered by travel agents in the past, recent events have brought to light some additional factors. Today, there is a pressing need to worry about health, hygiene, and data privacy. Failing to do so can result in grave consequences for the trust client’s deposit in your agency.
Having this in mind, modern automated processes can help you care for your travellers. Integrated systems can resort to GPS tracking and external databases to keep you updated concerning the risk level that travellers are exposed to. Real-time governmental and corporate data can be used to trigger alerts or notifications if conditions are dangerous or in the case of disruptive events.
The automation of internal processes and the articulation with external databases and platforms must be made recurring to the best security practices to avoid information leaks, or any event that could potentially harm customers. For this, new methods and solutions are developed every day, granting that a smart investment in security leaves you with a watertight system.
We are in the era of computers. This is not news, but today this means so much more than the internet and emails. It means big data, machine learning, artificial intelligence, and comprehensive systems that can greatly relieve human workers from boring and repetitive tasks – and get better results while they are at it! Glass half full managers will immediately see this as an opportunity to improve productivity, employee and customer satisfaction, and service quality. A less optimistic administrator might look at the costs involved but can reach only one conclusion: it is worth it.
In order to stay competitive in today’s market, one must give confident, grand strides. Adopting a customized CRM for your business and sector equips you with an unbeatable set of tools, and a greater control over your sales and operations. In the travel industry, where information is usually vast and scattered, across countries and even continents, you cannot risk making mistakes, and each passing day the competition is fiercer. Automating processes and joining information from various providers leaves you the time to present the clients with that extra level of service and care.