Panama PayPerS – the last S comes from System, Online Reservation System. Is an Online Reservation System a piece of technology that only those with great tax shelters can afford?
Nowadays, when travel industry moves almost completely to online and brick and mortar travel agencies are something that will soon become history, this is a question that makes a lot of sense for the industry’s players: How much do I have to spend to have a (new) reservation system?
If you, or the company you are working for, have this dilemma, read the next guide for finding the best travel technology supplier for your needs.
1. What are you doing? B2B, B2C or both?
If you are a company selling to other companies for sure it is easier for you to find a tech provider as most of the IT companies with travel industry dedicated products are offering B2B systems. Why? It is simple. It’s easier to manage the B2B travel business compared with addressing end consumer needs. In B2B the clients are buying through agents and the agents can find the way to search and book products even if the reservation system is not very appealing in terms of UI, with a sexy design and clear routes.
If you are in the B2C area, it is clear you have to dig more for the right products and every time it is a compromise between the budget you have to spend and the facilities you are requesting. Anyway, there is not a lot of good products on the market and it is very easy to be fooled by false promises.
Advice: Spend 10 times more time in prospection if you intend to sell to the end-user and try to find a customizable products that to fulfill your requests.
2. What are the travel services you intend to market in your reservation system?
65% from the revenue is coming from accommodation. This is worldwide. It is possible in your system this percent to be bigger. Maybe 85%. So you have to have a strong platform for selling hotels.
Even if lately, extra services are sold very well and big market players found a lot of ways to do an outstanding cross selling, you stay focus on hotels as you will sell a lot of accommodations if the system will allow you. Of course you can sell flights, car rental and any other service but what is clear is that the accommodation selling facility has to be fast, easy to be used and very precise as the errors have to be paid by somebody and most of the times you will be the one paying the bill.
Advice: Request references about actual clients when you decide a short list for tech providers and ask about errors. If actual clients are complaining on this, run!
3. Do you need to manage your own contracts with the suppliers?
This is big. If you want to take products from GDSs, XML providers, aggregators and so on, it is not the same game like managing your own contracts with the hotels, transportation companies, assistance providers, museums, football clubs, attractions or any other entity which offers goods that could be consumed in the travel industry.
I will give you an example: you can sell combined products, part from XML providers and some others managed by you, but if the own contracts management system is not good enough in order to allow you to mode all industry’s rules, than you simply lost your money. You paid a huge amount probably and for a single detail that cannot be controlled by your system, you simply cannot use it. What you have to do? To ask the tech provider to add that functionality or to change the solution. Both can be pretty expensive.
Advice: During the demo sessions, while you are prospecting tech companies, ask the person assisting you the demo to add in the contract management system the most complex, the most complicate contract you ever had with a travel service supplier. It is possible the demo to suddenly stop and you know why. If they can add it, than you know you are on the right way.
4. How much do I have to pay?
The price cannot be very cheap and, of course, it shouldn’t be a fortune. When you will ask about the price, 99% of the times you will get: depends. And it really depends. On the number of services you want to offer, on the number of XMLs you want to integrate, on the market you want to address, on the traffic you expect to have and on many other variables which supposed to be discovered while multiple discussions between you and the tech company. The price should come the last one. First they have to ask you one thousand questions in order to find out what are your needs and what are your desires (which are completely different, but this is another discussion). If you get the price too quick and without the questions first, something is not good, it can be a trap. Eyes wide open.
Anyway, based on the number of suppliers, services, facilities, markets and so on, you should expect a price which will vary between few thousands and few tens of thousands. Of course, if you are really big, you can pay even hundreds of thousand, but I don’t think this is the case. If you would be so big, for sure you wouldn’t read my guide of buying travel technology.
Advice: As there could be a lot of companies that you might consider while prospecting, a good way to find the really short list is to remove the ones that are giving you first the price or have the price for their products in the company profile or on their website. Remember: the price is something that should be deducted based on an audit.
5. Where should I start to search for good companies?
Of course, you should start with Travel Connection Technology J but there are more of us with good products. Romania is really prolific in terms of travel tech companies so for sure you will find at least 3 or 4 companies which could gracefully fulfil your needs. India is another country with a lot of IT but you have to pay attention, as, except the biggest companies there are a lot of Mickey Mouse companies, promising you everything and delivering nothing, so they might be a good recipe for losing your money and getting a lot of frustration. Poland and Germany is offering great technology but the prices can be really big. In UK you can find the oldest companies offering this kind of products, but there is a risk: the technical solutions for some of them good be really old and even if the systems might work now, with the technology change rhythm, you can wake up one day that using a dinosaur. I really don’t know about North America companies but I know that there good companies in Argentina and for sure another option is Spain.
Advice: Choose European technology (I would tell Romanian it’s even better) as the mentality is client dedicated and the technology is every time the newest one.
6. If I should consider only one fact, what that one should be?
This is a hard one! If you should consider only a fast thing I propose you to think to your biggest fear related to buying travel technology. What is your biggest fear? That the system will not be good? That the system will be too slow? That the system will not cover a very important aspect of your business and you didn’t know from the start? That it is not compliant with all the rules and practices? And this list could fill pages… You should have a mechanism to protect you against all these risks.
Advice: Check our 200% money back guaranteed policy! If you are not happy with the product in the first 6 months you are fully covered. 200%!!! You have up to 6 months to decide if you made a good choice. If not, we will return all the money and you can keep all the business done through Traviola. More than this: you can request from us any kind of export of your data (resellers, invoices, reservations, business history and so on) if you find useful for any other program import.
More than this: we do not put any condition on refunding the money. We will only ask for 2 questions:
– What is the reason you are not satisfied with our product?
– What is the bank account you want your money to be transferred?
This guide is for making a bit of mind order for somebody who is on the long road of finding a reliable technology provider for his business. Please find more information about our products on our website: www.travelconnectiontechnology.com.