Unless you follow best practices as a tour operator, your reputation will be at stake and losing business to others will be a stark reality. The most critical aspect refers to customer bookings (especially confirmations) and payments. If you are able to deal with the customer payment ownership and confirmed seats, then you will be in good digital space. Many agencies fail here, and tour operator software is essential to bail them out. It helps in keeping reputation secure and it can even redefine your status regarding the customer payment ownership. This involves planning, developing and execution in a methodical manner. It also involves individual suppliers, affiliates and other partner vendors of diverse range.
Right software investment provides value for currency
With the help of travel software for tour operators many global agencies are connecting to their subsidiaries and increasing their brand awareness. If you are able to have a presence in different travel segments, it will automatically redefine your position in the market.
Dealing with different agents will mean having diverse currencies and conversation rates when customers make payments. Even booking confirmation is related to it in a big way. Larger global companies like Thomas Cook or Cosmos deal with customers who pay in various currencies. For them suitable booking software is critical to the business and also very beneficial.
If you are stuck with a smaller or individual vendor, he may not be able to accept any currency other than the popular US dollar for exchange and the rates of conversions also make a difference to the earning potential. If you are an online operator, the payment component needs to be taken care of at the earliest. This can happen only when the distribution strategy is in place. It allows maximum global exposure no matter from where the bookings come from.
Currently, the customer has access to the internet and may use any travel portal to book tickets. They are not bothered about the process of getting their flights booked but they are certainly worried about where the payment goes once the confirmation comes. Once they get a good deal or a cheap ticket they are ready to pay online. But the portal from which they do the booking needs to handle the ownership of the payment. Having a secure structure of the automated software is a priority. Keeping the customer happy is the vendor’s responsibility. If the customer has a pleasant experience they will talk about it, if not they will rant on social media. Thus the customer ownership can be redefined for better branding of business.
The vendor’s responsibility towards payments
The tour management software that you use for customer ownership will depend on:
- When a customer comes online, he will perceive the owner of the product/service the person who comes onsite.
- Who sends the confirmation for booking? If it comes from you then the ownership is directly yours.If the booking is done by an agent then the customer will hold the agent responsible for the ownership.
- When a customer has queries, who he deals with becomes the owner of the booking process. If the product belongs to you then be directly responsible for it. If this happens, it is an opportunity for branding too.
- A customer will pay you directly or the agent. Whosoever he pays, will assume the ownership status. If a customer is going for a longer trip in more than two places who handles the journey-you or the agent?
- Many customers may not even know with whom they have booked. If they have made a payment to the agent, they assume he will have the ownership.
What happens when you do not control the ownerships?
It may be your holiday plan that a customer chooses to pay for. But the agent is paid and accepts the ownership. Customers will deal directly with them if there is any issue. If an agent is handling then they should be made responsible for the ownership and the package for the customer. Even if the agent is involved, it is your name that will be dragged in the mess. There should be an agreement to this effect in case the customer is not satisfied. When a customer chooses your tour management software to make the booking for the trip, he accepts the deal and believes that the payment will be honored with a pleasant time. If you understand that the partner vendors are an extension of your business then agreements can be in place with the right automated systems and uniform standards can be maintained. A direct system that competes with others may not be a good idea.
A neutral booking system that takes care of ownership and also vendors is the key to succeed. Maybe you could use a limited version specific to a particular travel industry or have a broader base with a more complex booking system. It will determine the extent of your distribution system and ownership.
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