A B2C booking engine makes it super easy for anyone to book a flight, make a hotel reservation and find a good price for car rental. There is, of course, much more that B2C can offer, but these are the main services.
In the travel industry, both forms of these relationships are used extensively and they regularly overlap.
For example, a travel software development company might be contracted to design and develop an online travel portal for an established travel agency. This is a simple example of B2B.
The travel agency will then be able to provide their customers with a wide range of options to book their next vacation. This is B2C.
Let’s look at this in more detail, including the varieties of B2B and B2C in the travel business process.
B2B travel website development services enrich the potential of travel agents, tour operators and other businesses connected with the travel industry in the global market.
This business model is the point of access for all important travel related products used by travel agencies everywhere.
Online travel portal development services
In the diverse field of international travel technology, a travel portal is a one stop shop for travel companies, providing an online marketplace for them to grow their businesses.
Software companies that develop these portals provide personalised and real time access to whatever the travel business needs, from hotel reservations to guided tours.
Travel portals allow for a marketing strategy implementation to target different sectors and get more bookings.
Using this web based booking system, travel agents have access to a payment gateway and can manage bookings for their clients with a very user friendly interface, with instant confirmation of all bookings.
These smaller travel agencies and tour operators can access data and make bookings by having a strategic partnership with the owners of a B2B travel portal.
They then switch to B2C travel to deal directly with their clients, acting as a bridge.
For example, by using travel portal solutions, sub agents can benefit from fully automated services and support at any time, making their handling of clients more flexible.
Travel companies are able to pre book a number of rooms in partnered hotel chains across the globe, and then offer a percentage of them to their sub agents for resale to the end customers.
Services would include partnerships with car rental agencies, tour operators and other travel suppliers. Sub agents generate income via agent commission.
A B2B online travel booking engine allows for a real time booking inventory and is extremely efficient for providing a great service to the end customers.
One major drawback is cash flow for the businesses. Sometimes full payment is made many months after the bookings have finished, and a new travel company will have to factor that delay into their budgeting.
White label travel solutions
If a travel business has a strongly recognised brand, they will probably have white label deals with subcontractors across the globe.
White label means an arrangement that has been made with subcontractors, such as tour operators, to provide a service using the company name.
This gives customers brand awareness and continuity, removing any confusion about who is actually providing the service.
These travel solutions enable travel businesses to offer amazing vacations with minimal outgoings, giving consumers a chance to experience innovative travel ideas.
They are extremely cost effective for the travel agencies in that they will only be responsible for marketing tools, such as logos, uniforms and assorted giveaways.
Additionally, if the white label travel service is overseas, there will be a local contractor representative to counter any problems that may arise. Sounds like a good option for a diving holiday in Thailand!
With the back end out of the way, we now concentrate on the technology that the consumers use and travel agencies rely on to promote their travel business.
Traditional travel agencies
The word might have gone digital, but there are a few who prefer to fly under the tech radar.
Some people still prefer to deal directly with real travel agencies, enjoying the hunt and any special offers on holiday packages that are made during the conversation.
These are the people who will never use mobile applications to plan and book their holidays.
Maybe they have been using the same travel agents for years, way before the rise of the smartphone, and there is a certain feeling of comfort, together with a seamless travel experience.
Using travel agencies also allows for multiple payment options, like the old layaway service of old.
But when you think about it, the only real difference between walking into a travel agency and using an online travel mobile app is the location. A brightly coloured office with lovely images on the walls, or a well lived in couch.
Both approaches get the same job done, and booking holiday packages is really much faster with a face to face meeting with a travel agent to see what travel packages are available.
Here is the overlap of B2B B2C travel. Using B2B travel agency software to get direct access to the information, the travel agent changes the business model to a B2C booking system in the shop, and bingo, the holiday package is complete.
When it comes to hotel promotion, B2C travel is usually the preferred option, when hotels directly target customers on multiple sales channels using social media platforms, email marketing and more.
By using these online travel sales channels, the hotels are looking for guests who are flexible, might enjoy a prolonged stay, and possibly spend more on extra services and room upgrades.
Additionally, a hotel booking system can handle the B2C customers better, as the financial side is completed immediately at the end of a visit rather than waiting months for payment from a B2B arrangement.
Corporate clients, on the other hand, will delay final payment until their selection of bookings has been completed.
The number of people who use online travel apps on their phones is rising, and the travel companies are investing in those apps to cover all the bases.
With a travel app, the user friendly interface and quick search response makes it an attractive option for end customers in a fast paced world.
Adding payment gateway integration, customers can literally book a complete holiday package while eating lunch in a cafe.
Smartphone users like the self service tools that come with mobile travel apps, and the instant confirmation that locks in the booking.
The major players, Kayak, Booking and the like, provide a booking engine for flight tickets, a hotel booking system and other travel services, such as car rental.
They sell travel services to their customers all on a single platform with online bookings across the globe.
Their payment gateways are swift and very secure, using an intuitive user interface that accepts multiple credit and debit cards and internet banking.
Travel portal development makes everything geared towards providing the best possible experience for the customer.
Every piece of travel software is designed to optimise the app and give top class service to delight travelers.
Travel companies know that their customers are fickle and can easily drop an app if it underperforms or isn’t accurate.
As you can see, B2B and B2C travel is different, yet similar. There is always going to be an overlap of the two, as seen with the business model of the travel agents using both B2B and B2C with a long term client.
There is a consistent chain from the development services to the travel business online to the travel agent to the customer.
Mobile apps take out the travel agents in person, but there remains the online travel agent.
Travel portal development benefits everyone in the industry, from the tour operator to the dry cleaning business that works in harmony with the hotel.
The recent announcement of reduction in flights from Heathrow due to the sheer number of people who wish to travel indicates that the travel business is recovering well, but some of the major airports cannot handle this increase at the moment.
When flights are restricted or cancelled, travellers will have to re-book and accept the increased prices, or lose a non-refundable hotel booking.
Prices may be rising, but there will always be a determined traveller who can find the best deal.
If the objective of this article was to compare B2B and B2C, the only difference I can see is the potential for delayed payment to the travel companies that rely solely on B2B travel.
This could be disastrous for new travel operators who are lacking in cash flow and will be unable to pay for necessary outgoings such as rentals and repairs.
But I am sure that anyone who enters into the world of business travel has already worked that out, and will hopefully have made preparations for this.
Time to jack up the credit limits?