Your Travel Management Platform Doing More for You

Are you satisfied with your travel business performance? Is 2024 going to be a year of growth?

According to the UN Travel report just released, 2024 could be an amazing year for the travel sector. However, the net effect of broad optimism can cause travel business owners to be more complacent about improvement. The reasoning is that if the market is growing and more new business will roll in, there’s not much reason to improve on business processes, service optimization, and developing new revenue sources.

That’s unfortunate because how businesses thrive and succeed is via innovation, where managers look beyond market trends and the status quo. Successful managers see their company as a leading brand and a long-term, viable business. When your scope changes to long-term, you look to build a better foundation.

And that would mean business automation, service extension, boosted value proposition, and digital marketing innovation, among other improvements.

Getting Serious About Delivering for Customers

If you’ve reviewed the list of travel management software and tour experience software/services, you’ll see a lot of companies toying with minor improvements in areas they view as important.

So how much should a travel management software do for your company? Should it focus on upselling current customers to premium services? Yes. Should it provide marketing functionality to help clients improve their marketing? Yes. Should it deliver automation and flexible payment systems to make transactions easy? Yes.

Travel managers increasingly want comprehensive, all-in-one software, with simplified user interfaces. But they also want specific niche services for their specific markets. They want to leverage the software to allow clients to offer value-added services to their clients.

For example, tour operators want software to schedule and book tours for travel consumers, but they want the software to be white-label and let them innovate to generate more services and more upsell opportunities. Becoming the client’s marketing enabler and supplier is a powerful benefit for them.

Upselling Involves Marketing

The most neglected opportunity of most travel software is to provide marketing innovation. Marketing is taken for granted and not funded properly, which means companies struggle for visibility and new client leads. Helping new clients build new leads and keep current customers loyal has astonishing value.

Upselling is the goal, yet customers aren’t easily persuaded. That’s marketing’s role.

Recently, a tour experience software provider advertised an open SEO/Content Manager role at $90k per year. That’s a substantial salary and shows they understand the value of marketing and promotion. And when salaries are high, it generally means more funds for promotion — promotion is essential.

For platform providers, it isn’t just about promoting your own software, it’s the power to promote your clients that is being explored more. And this profitable travel tour software company realizes it. That’s innovation with a real dollar payoff.

What Should Your Travel Management Platform Achieve for Clients?

Overall for your business, what should your software be delivering, and how could you innovate to offer more?

Comprehensive Booking Management: The ability to manage all aspects of booking (flights, hotels, car rentals, etc.) seamlessly in one platform is essential. This includes real-time availability, instant confirmation, and easy modification/cancellation processes.

Integrated Payment Solutions: Safe, secure, and diverse payment options that can handle multiple currencies and payment methods are crucial for global operations. This includes seamless integration with financial software for streamlined accounting.

Customizable Itineraries and Packages: The software should allow for the creation of tailored travel packages and itineraries that can be easily adjusted to meet the specific needs and preferences of different clients.

Multi-channel Communication Tools: Effective communication tools (email, chat, SMS) integrated within the platform for direct communication with clients and suppliers, enhancing customer service and operational efficiency.

Dynamic Pricing and Revenue Management: The ability to dynamically adjust pricing based on demand, competition, and other market factors, as well as offering various pricing models, discounts, and promotions.

Real-time Reporting and Analytics: Advanced analytics and reporting capabilities that provide insights into sales, customer behavior, market trends, and operational efficiency. This helps in making data-driven decisions.

Mobile Accessibility and User-Friendly Interface: Ensuring that the software is accessible on various devices, especially mobile, with an intuitive and user-friendly interface for both clients and staff.

Robust Customer Relationship Management (CRM): In-depth CRM tools to manage customer data, preferences, and history, enabling personalized service and marketing strategies.

Compliance and Risk Management Tools: Features that help in adhering to travel industry regulations and standards, as well as tools for managing risks related to travel disruptions, safety, and security.

Sustainability and Eco-Friendly Options: Providing features that support sustainable travel options, helping clients make environmentally responsible choices, and catering to the growing demand for eco-friendly travel.

Travel Business Marketing Tools

The neglected area of SaaS businesses is marketing.  Because SaaS focuses on recurring subscriptions and upselling, SaaS software companies often the cart before the horse.  While business development is vital to business travel software companies, marketing is crucial to awareness, brand support, and keeping competitors at bay.

And if your travel business customers excel with your software solution, it stands to reason that that success is returned to your company. Their sales and market growth catch the attention of the media who will boost your brand visibility and leads as well.

As an example of offering marketing tools to your product, Travefy recognizes the value add with SaaS-based travel tools. And it should be mentioned that marketing services can beyond SaaS tools, to specialized, sophisticated services. Your clients likely don’t market there brand and services well because they lack the skills, staff, budget and resources. Their weakness is your opportunity.

Marketing-Related Services that SaaS Software Firms Could Offer

SEO and Online Presence Tools: The software should include tools or integrations that help travel businesses optimize their website for search engines (SEO). This is crucial for increasing online visibility and attracting organic traffic.

Creative Promotional Campaign Innovations: Promotion services or App features help generate attention, make impact, and engage travelers, a creative theme helps to draw new prospects and current customers who may have exhausted their travel desire with new perspectives and experiences. It’s not enough to market your marketing today via Google/Facebook ad campaigns, it must be done with a creative flair that hits the heart of travelers as they actually are. It’s taking whatever travel intent exists and magnifying it with promotional campaigns.

Social Media Integration and Management: Capabilities to manage and schedule posts on various social media platforms directly from the software. This helps in maintaining a consistent and engaging online presence, crucial for brand building and customer engagement.

Email Marketing Automation: Features that allow for the creation, scheduling, and tracking of email marketing campaigns. Segmentation tools to target specific customer groups based on their preferences and booking history can enhance campaign effectiveness.

Targeted Advertising Tools: Integration with digital advertising platforms (like Google Ads, Facebook Ads) to create and manage targeted ad campaigns. The software should provide insights and analytics to optimize these campaigns for better ROI.

Content Management System (CMS): A CMS for easily updating website content, creating blog posts, and managing other types of content. This is essential for keeping the website fresh and engaging.

Customer Reviews and Feedback Integration: Tools to collect, manage, and display customer reviews and feedback. Positive reviews can be a powerful marketing tool, enhancing credibility and trust.

Referral and Loyalty Programs: Features to create and manage referral and loyalty programs, encouraging repeat business and word-of-mouth marketing.

Market Analysis and Competitive Intelligence: Providing insights into market trends, customer preferences, and competitor strategies. This helps businesses in making informed decisions about their offerings and marketing strategies.

Customizable Branding Options: Allowing travel businesses to customize the look and feel of their booking platforms to align with their brand identity. This includes custom domains, logos, color schemes, and more.

Personalized Marketing and AI-Driven Recommendations: Using AI and machine learning to analyze customer data and provide personalized travel recommendations and marketing messages. This can significantly increase conversion rates and customer satisfaction.

Improving Travel Management Software

That’s an Impressive List of Potential Improvements, however is there anything more potentially that could sweeten the value proposition of travel management software?

Here’s how travel management software can be more beneficial:

Predictive Analytics and Big Data: Leveraging big data and predictive analytics to forecast travel trends, customer behavior, and market dynamics. This helps in strategic planning, inventory management, and creating targeted marketing campaigns.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML): Implementing AI and ML for personalized customer experiences, such as customized travel recommendations, automated customer service through chatbots, and intelligent automation of routine tasks.

Virtual and Augmented Reality (VR/AR): Integrating VR/AR to provide immersive travel previews, enhancing customer engagement and helping clients make informed decisions about their travel plans.

Blockchain Technology: Utilizing blockchain for secure and transparent transactions, loyalty programs, and to potentially reduce costs by eliminating intermediaries in booking processes.

Internet of Things (IoT) Integration: Incorporating IoT for enhanced travel experiences, such as offering clients real-time luggage tracking, personalized room settings in hotels, or streamlined check-ins and check-outs.

Sustainability Tracking and Reporting: Providing tools for measuring and reporting on sustainability initiatives, helping travel businesses align with eco-friendly practices and cater to the growing market of environmentally conscious travelers.

Enhanced Mobile Capabilities: Developing a robust mobile app with full functionality, including real-time notifications, offline access to travel documents, and mobile check-in and boarding.

Collaboration Tools for Suppliers and Partners: Creating a collaborative ecosystem with suppliers, partners, and other stakeholders for efficient information sharing and streamlined operations.

Crisis Management Tools: Offering real-time alerts, updates, and tools for managing travel disruptions, ensuring safety, and providing swift support during crises.

Advanced Customer Support Features: Utilizing AI-driven support systems, offering 24/7 customer service through various channels, and providing multilingual support to cater to a global clientele.

Integration with External APIs: Allowing seamless integration with external APIs for expanded services like local transportation, event ticketing, or restaurant bookings.

Customizable and Scalable Solutions: Ensuring that the software can be customized to the specific needs of the business and is scalable as the business grows.

Travel SaaS Platforms Doing More

It seems SaaS travel management software platforms could be greatly enhanced with added features, services and niche capabilities.

Still, all of them are impressive from automation and AI to predictive analytics and personalized travel planning and mobile management. It’s a dizzying set of features and benefits possible.

For most travel software companies and their loyal clients, marketing services have to be the top benefit. Because while companies can hire programmers to build apps, capturing customers is a tougher task.

Customers must be won via competing and reaching consumers and convincing them to become a travel customer. The competition is intense. That necessitates a better marketing framework and a cohesive strategy to gain advantage over competitors.

The ultimate goal is to reach, make impact, generate engagement using content and promotional tactics, to build an exclusive brand that is the only one for customers.

Most businesses falter and fail because of weak marketing. It needs funding, creative planning, powerful effective content, creative promotion and smart, timely execution.

A powerful marketing suite provided in your travel management software makes their customer acquisition and upselling objectives a reality.

It’s one niche area of travel management platforms that’s been neglected and likely will be the next big thing.

And if you’re struggling to gain any visibility on Google, Facebook, Linkedin, Instagram or Twitter, you need to ramp up you own efforts. Your future customers want to be assured you’re the marketing leader.

Consider the success of TravelPerk, Tour Radar or Intrepid Travel tour management platforms. Would you say it’s their product that delivers 400k visitors to their site monthly and keeps finicky customers loyal? Or is it marketing?

The point to be made is that a company strong on marketing puts itself in pole position to win a market. Top companies get to condition what the market believes which alters valuation and buying decisions, and make it tougher for competitors to seem relevant to consumers.

Travel SaaS is the future and the 2024 travel market like the past 5 years will be impacted by the power of these platforms to optimize every area of a travel enterprise, corporate or consumer.

Review the top SaaS travel management platforms and Travel Tour Operator platforms and see what they’re doing to improve their outlooks.

Looking to add someone special to your Travel Marketing Team?  Call Gord at 416-998-6246.

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