But savvy travel agencies and tour operators have been able to use travel management software to their benefit, with significant cost savings.
There are some startling projections for travel related services in the future.
Business travel, for example, is expected to reach more than $1.5 trillion in 2022, and will only increase when restrictions have been lifted completely.
Online travel agencies are experiencing a surge in bookings for general travel as well, to the point that a major UK airport issued a request to airlines to limit their flights.
With the majority of travel app development being aimed at the DIY market, it is in the best interest of the travel industry to stay on top of providing high quality services and trips for the next generation of travelers.
How do digital solutions help travel companies? We took a look and decided that a combination of travel mobile apps, web based software and third party integration was the key.
Here’s what we found.
There are hundreds of travel apps available, each trying to fulfil the needs of their clients, and there is a travel software development company behind each one.
They are responsible for producing the app as outlined in the software design document, and then maintaining and upgrading it as necessary.
If designed for a niche market within the travel industry, the travel app needs to do exactly what it was designed to do, with a smart, high performance interface, a search function and a choice of payment methods for reservations.
The travel app market is immense, and covers a wide variety of services, from a simple currency converter to ‘all-in-one’ software solutions.
Online travel agents
Self sufficient travelers will be the most likely to use travel apps to create their trips. But for others, it is simply a better idea to use one of the heavy hitters in the travel industry, who provide all travel solutions in one place.
The largest one stop solution, naturally called Booking.com, is responsible for selling around 25% of global vacations.
The travel technology that Booking uses is perfect for people who need organised vacations, where all they have to do is show up.
Their mobile friendly app interface is easy to navigate and any online purchases are completely secure.
Research shows that the majority of online bookings are made on a Sunday afternoon, when the family can sit down around the dining room table and work out their next dream vacation.
With 63 million downloads on iOS and Android in 2021 alone, it is a powerhouse that allows users to find their perfect holiday, giving them a choice of quality travel suppliers.
But the beauty of travel technology means there are businesses that can offer similar services to customers without a huge financial input.
How can smaller travel apps compete with Booking? The best solution is by using application process interfaces, or APIs, in the booking process.
Airlines, hotels and travel agencies are sharing their data with other travel platforms in a classic ‘give and take’ process.
By linking APIs to the services that the business wishes to provide, it will be able to offer more rounded assistance to a client.
A wide range of travel providers is available for linking to the travel apps. A single API can create new offerings and acquire more customers for a smaller app.
Online booking system
There are many specialist companies offering travel software development solutions, with different plans for startup travel agents to those who are looking for more control and greater insight into their products.
For a relatively small monthly fee, new travel agencies have access to an online booking engine, with additional features such as a mobile app and client manifests.
Online booking systems streamline the entire process for customers and businesses by automating inventory management.
With these SaaS tools, travel agents can use Global Distribution Systems (GDS) to manage their online bookings with ease.
Global Distribution Systems (GDS)
Reservation management, the booking of flights, hotels, car rentals and other travel related services, used to be slow and cumbersome. The possibility of human error made it a time consuming task.
Applying travel management software to this problem resulted in the creation of Global Distribution Systems.
The GDS travel software concept initially began due to the growth of flight ticket distribution for airlines, and it became difficult for large enterprises to keep track of available and sold seats.
The computer network collects schedules, inventory and prices from the travel provisors and makes them available to the travel agents, with all information provided in real time.
GDS integration is a must have web based reservation system for all travel agencies to allow them to offer top quality service to their travelers.
Web based solutions
Travel management software allows businesses to increase productivity and sales, while strengthening customer care and maximising ROI.
Particularly used in the hotel and hospitality areas, there are travel software solutions for online check-in, credit card processing, e-commerce platforms and much more.
Property management software systems are essential for hotels, especially when dealing with multiple sources of online reservations.
They can also send availability data and pricing structures to online travel agencies.
Analytics are crucial to a business in the travel industry to improve customer services, and a review system adds more data to the marketing pool, great for loyalty programs and engagement with clients.
Software development companies in this field provide additional services including seo optimized marketing, tools to improve administrative processes, and website design.
Artificial intelligence can predict future growth areas and ways to reduce overheads.
With high performance digital and infrastructure management software solutions, a travel business will be able to concentrate on its customers and their travel experience.
Destination Management Companies
There are many integrations a travel agency can use, both physical and digital, but in the travel industry one of the most important ones is Destination Management Companies.
DMCs are usually small, local travel businesses that provide onsite travel services, such as tour operators, safari guides and other personalised trips.
They present their customers with a travel experience that can only be described as unique, having honed their skills and services over a number of years.
Using these local experts, a travel agency will be able to offer different channels of tourism to their clients, enhancing their tour operator packages and finding more customers.
Safety and security
A DMC is going to be highly proficient with a proven safety record for more adventurous tourism, for example bungee jumping or white water rafting.
The best part of using a local company is that there is a physical presence in case of tour changes, weather problems or simply unique places that aren’t on the regular tourist map.
Many DMCs offer a wide variety of services themselves, or have partnered with other tourism suppliers to provide the best solution for a vacation in a particular location.
A travel agent might offer a relaxing beach holiday, and will team up with a local DMC who offers jet skiing, scuba diving and mini cruises as a solution to complement the holiday.
Independent hotels can also work together with a local DMC to further improve the quality and choice of entertainment for their guests.
When someone uses a mobile travel app, they just see the screen and the information provided. It’s a personal thing.
But if they take a look behind the scenes, they will see travel technology building solutions to make their vacation memorable.
Travel software development is moving along in leaps and bounds, providing a robust and pleasant method of booking a holiday on a Sunday afternoon, or any time.
Management software provides the backbone of the hotel and hospitality industry, ensuring the smoothest path from check in to check out, and any trips in between.
The companies that give access to local tours and regional adventures provide a different layer of service to the market, making vacations remarkable and one of a kind.
It is a win-win situation for travelers and businesses, and that makes the industry look very positive for the future.