Over the last 10 years, the travel business scenario has changed significantly. Today selling travel products is all about ‘best’ rates. To sustain in the battle to offer the ‘best deal’ and ‘best fare’ to the consumers, travel business owners have been forced to reduce almost all of their possible profit margins.
I still remember when a service fee of $6 was a norm across online sales of air tickets. Commissions and contracts were available to travel agents. Cancellation fee on hotels were healthy.
The emergence of large online travel agencies changed the rules of the business across the globe. Fuel prices and global economic conditions added to the challenges of earning healthy margins. Travel became the most competitive business. Commissions dried up. Segment fees reduced and “no fee” became the new best seller.
On the Travel Technology side, along with successful implementations, I have heard stories of many failures where travel businesses were not able to derive what they wanted from technology. Most of the time the key reasons for failure has been:
Over ambitious technology goal on a constrained Compiblog budget Lack of ‘competitive’ Travel Technology expertise Poor IT team and management, suffering from ‘over promise’ and ‘under deliver’ In this ecosystem, how could a travel business set about defining an effective Technology Strategy for itself?
As a travel technologist, I have many motivations to say “buy my software”, but in my experience that’s not a good pitch. After carefully analyzing various successes and failures in the industry, here is what I feel I have learned:
Step 1: Identify what Travel Technology you need
Well, it is easier said than done. Most of the time not articulating the technology needs well is the biggest hurdle in Technology Strategy. As a travel business, here is what you could do to clearly articulate the need for technology.
Pen down the technology needs of the organization as envisioned by the business owner / key management personnel Consult with people external to the organization such as technology consultants, Travel Technology companies, GDS account managers, CRS / Suppliers and Travel Technology bloggers Let a technology company interview you and recommend a solution. This is generally free most of the times. Pursuing one or more of these three exercises diligently will build enough knowledge base about what your internal Technology Strategy should be. Identify and validate these thoughts with inputs from internal operations and marketing teams.