BOOKING SYSTEM, RESERVATION SOFTWARE, TRAVEL MANAGEMENT PLATFORM: WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?
The travel technology category is a broad one. Companies supplying everything from VR headsets for destination or hotel room tours, to booking systems, to virtual payment solutions, are included under the travel technology umbrella. There is one area within our industry where products are labelled with multiple names. But what are these names? And are they all descriptors for products that do the same thing?
- Travel reservation system
- Travel reservation software
- Travel booking engine
- Travel booking software
- Travel booking system
- Travel management platform
- Tour booking system
- Tour booking software
- Tour operator software
So, would all these products be the same thing? The answer is probably YES they would. We say this because new and prospective customers for our Travel Studio and Travel Builder solutions continually measure them up against competing products labelled as any of the above. It’s not a travel/reservation/booking solution, system, platform, software or engine you are after in particular. A product labelled as any one of those things could be what you are looking for.
If it’s not necessarily the name, then what should tour operators, travel agents, DMCs and wholesalers be looking at when selecting their new reservations or booking technology?
SIMILARITY WITH OTHER CUSTOMERS
This can be measured either geographically, in terms of size, or indeed by business type. For example, a supplier may have significant experience implemented their software in South America or working with large Destination Management Companies all over the world. By finding a travel technology supplier who has worked successfully with companies similar to your own in the past, you increase the likelihood that they will be able to deliver for you.
Whilst we live in an incredible connected world, it’s still useful to choose business partners and suppliers who are physically located in a convenient geographical and politically stable part of the world. For example, around global hubs like London or in your own country, wherever that may be.
Gap analysis is all about making sure that the travel booking software under consideration ticks as many of your boxes as possible when it comes to functionality. Given the nature of travel, there will almost always be some gaps and it is important to make sure they are as small in number, significance and size as possible.
Should you want to cover any gaps or expand your business, software development may well be required. Look for travel technology supplier and product that is experienced in development and has sufficient development resources. You want a system that can grow with you as well as you growing with it.
The best product support team for you could well be one that operates in your timezone, especially if that is part of a 24/7 service.
PROVEN AND MATURE SOFTWARE
Depending on your requirements, investment in software could be financially significant for your company. Whilst start-up companies might claim to offer X at price Y, their product is extremely unlikely to have been tried and tested in real live booking environments of a number of years and in many different scenarios. Whatever decision you make, it’s essential that you see a long term solution in terms of reliability and not just functionality.
SECURITY AND STABILITY
Nine of of every ten startups fail. Given that the investment in a travel system and technology partner is a large and long term one, this statistic is not to be overlooked. It may be prudent to consider a financially sound, profitable company that continues to experience impressive growth after many years of business.
Budget is and always will be a huge factor in any purchasing decision, especially for smaller players. The message we have in this area is that in general, you do get what you pay for. Examining each of the factors above for any given software or company, might give some clues as to why they are priced at a certain point.
In conclusion, you may need to Google all variations of descriptions to explore the market, but be sure to take a closer look at your options, particularly focusing on the areas above.