If you are just starting up a travel agency, or have one that you want to move online, you may want to know what aspects could get complicated when you enter the online world. In this article we will show you the most important things we have identified from our experience of working with hundreds of agencies all over the world.
By telling you about these things we do not mean to scare you, but to better prepare you for your next moves. Let's start by defining what is a good online platform for travel agencies in general. What is the main function of an online platform? The answer is clear: a good online platform should automatically get offers from your suppliers (airlines, hotels, wholesalers, etc.), display them in a user-friendly way, get bookings and payments, and send them directly to your suppliers.
Today’s online travel landscape offers multiple suppliers to choose from. This is one of the things that can get complicated. Should you choose many suppliers or just a few? Our opinion is that you have to balance the pros and cons.
If you use only one or two wholesalers, you will have the advantage of getting a higher sales volume through only one channel. This means that after a year you can negotiate an incentive from the supplier besides the standard commission.
Sometimes offers from different suppliers overlap, i.e. the same hotel could come from different suppliers under different names and with different room names. If you have too many suppliers, then your final user experience will suffer. Your customer will see the same hotel multiple times or, if you map them, one hotel but with too many different rooms. Of course, a good platform can compensate for that, but it represents an additional complexity for your system, which may or may not ultimately be worth it.
If you have multiple suppliers and insufficient volume, then bookings will be divided between those suppliers, each with a small volume, so you will not be able to negotiate extra incentives. There is no perfect supplier. Some are better with some destinations and worse with others. It's better to discuss this upfront with the supplier in order to concentrate marketing efforts on the destinations where your wholesaler is stronger.
The other complex part of having an online system is the marketing part. Our articles will give you a clearer view, but the main message is clear: without marketing, a website alone will not suffice. It's much more cost effective to concentrate marketing efforts on a few destinations than marketing anything to anyone. You will reach people interested in those destinations and for those you will have good offers. See how things are connected?
To wrap up, the most important things in an online travel business, besides the platform itself, are the suppliers and the marketing strategy. A good platform like Travitude, with the right suppliers and the right marketing strategy, is the key to success on the long run.
If you would like to read more articles like this, please subscribe to our 20+ email series in which we talk about online travel in today's landscape. Or if you would like to find out more about our platform, you can schedule a demo Zoom call with our sales team.