As the travel industry has moved online to work remotely with the ongoing global crisis, technology plays an important role in assuring our continuous connection to the entire world. From reliable conference software to other tech products we use for e-mail or instant messaging, it is a fact that our daily life now relies on technology.
While an unfortunate way to learn a lesson on the power of digital, the dramatic downturn in travel could be an opportunity for companies to become more efficient.
The standstill of the travel market – An opportunity to prepare for recovery and your chance to shine
It is clear that the travel industry will weather the storm sooner rather than later. In several webinars that I have recently attended, there were travel leaders that mentioned how they are making the most of this time by investing in technology to prepare for a relaunch by the end of the year or at the beginning of the next one. Moreover, they are also using technology for another scope, to engage their employees and to keep them occupied. If everything were normal, they would not have had the time to implement the new software products and train their teams.
This would be one of the positive outcomes of the COVID-19 pandemic but unfortunately, not all companies possess the resources to build a new system so the limited budget drives a big question mark to travel companies looking out for the next step aid.
Not enough resources for tests or trials
You should think before buying software that it partially fits your needs or that is unbelievably cheap and allows you to test it before purchasing. Software that works (from chatbots, booking engines, back-office solutions, mobile apps) has to be considered with an immediate scope in mind. Testing technologies that proved not to work will come with a huge hidden cost of your time, of your financial resources and you may end up losing the fresh market opportunity.
Unfortunately, we no longer have the time or the financial resources to make tests, to analyze half or even a full year several software providers. We had that flexibility before but now we have the opportunity to act directly and choose the software products that proved to work in several similar travel companies. Technology must be robust and more importantly reliable, so that you and your team have no doubts or hiccups while you safely plan you relaunch in an insecure working environment.
In-house development or already proven solutions?
The coronavirus crisis has hit hard the travel industry in terms of both human and financial resources. Large travel companies that previously planned to develop their software products now face the problem of not having the basic salaries covered, before even going into paying developers.
Designing and developing your software suite has and will always need a large budget for an army of costly human resources. Then, good infrastructure is mandatory. All these resources can skyrocket your initial budget and take you by surprise to realize that the initial timing to build the solution has extended dramatically.
Fortunately, there are several alternatives and affordable solutions developed by tech companies. These companies have been working relentlessly for years building and securing a software suite, especially, for travel businesses. We are referring here to trustworthy software companies that have a proven history of unwavering smooth work for developing solutions that travel agents can really depend on.
Choose scalable solutions to plan the future of your travel business
For the moment and in the next months, the volume of searches and bookings will still be lower than in the previous year or even if we go back 4-5 months. This means that you will not need from the start a high volume of server hosting and maintenance, this will happen over time, slowly but surely.
In a few months or even years, you’ll constantly need to scale up the volume, you’ll want to easily add other tech solutions for more travel inventory, extra APIs, more selling channels, you’ll demand to monitor the business, the employees and providers to see who is bringing you the largest profit and so on. All these additional services and modules should be easily adapted to your base structure technology. For this to easily happen you will need a cloud-based platform where modules can added as simple as a 4-piece puzzle. The scalable nature of a cloud-based platform means that the technical relationship can be transitioned to operate when the volumes are higher and the rewards greater.
In conclusion, we can state with confidence that creating your travel technology, controlling the source code and paying monthly developer salaries used to work just fine. In an unsafe environment, it is crucial to double down on your travel activity and outsource other non-essentials to tech companies who focus on developing software, the cloud-based type.
About the author
George Dumitru is the CEO of wbe.travel – the European travel software house he co-founded more than 15 years ago. Driven by a passion for innovation in technology and backed with strong business acumen, George has created a suite of proprietary travel software products, evolving from a simple booking engine to a cloud-based enterprise platform.
More than 100 travel businesses have implemented wbe.travel software solutions. The platform was awarded, during the last 5 years on a yearly basis on the account of different customers, not only for its speed and complexity but also for reliability and stability.