With the travel boom showing no signs of slowdown, the travel industry is set to grow even more in 2020. If you are a travel agency looking to make the most of this market trend, modernize your website and overall business by focusing on your historical core competencies.
Identify your target audience, curate the best tours for them, outreach to your clients, sell packages and deliver your services to ensure your clients are happy.
When you have established these goals, you will probably want to know what technologies are available out there, so travel agencies like you can achieve these targets. To empower your digital stack and help you have an influential e-commerce website and a back-end technology to process your transactions, we list 7 tools you should consider. These are particularly essential when developing a new website and an overall travel content technology to Attract, Engage, Convert and Nurture your customers.
1. A Content Section to ATTRACT New Customers via SEO
If you are clueless on how to improve your website’s Google rank and easily acquire customers, be aware of a few facts. Google’s SEO (Search Engine Optimization) rank is now determined by more than just content with a strategic list of keywords. Search engines favor interfaces that deliver real experiences to users and generate genuine interactions on your website.
As a travel agency, you are not specialized in creating content. You need a content creation muscle to populate your interfaces with fresh local content personalized to your brand, with keywords that will boost your SEO strategies. Modern content platforms offer more than just content.
Arrivedo travel technologies include an SDK (Software Development Kit) and an API (Application Program Interface) to easily build interfaces that will help you deliver user engagement with curated content, and ultimately win on SEO.
2. An API to Obtain Travel Content (product) & ENGAGE Clients
You will need to seamlessly upload travel products from different tour operators, hotels, airlines, and others in order to sell them. To obtain all the content, you need access to live pricing via APIs that are fed with travel products from hotels, airlines and tour providers dynamically. Select technology partners that can provide you with bookable travel content for the destination you sell to your clients. Client engagement is fruitful only when you close the deal, and that is possible only if your client can make a booking without having to leave your page.
3. A CMS to Upload your Own Packages & ENGAGE Clients
As a tour operator, you would also potentially want to engage customers with your own tours. In this case, you will need to access a CMS (Content Management System) that is flexible enough to also add your own packages. Your CMS should let you add different types of tours and packages since they may come in many forms: airline or hotel components, multi-day activities, tours with participant limits, and others. Your solution should be linked to multiple product sources.
Additionally, through the CMS, your travel packages should feed the content not only to your website but also to other distribution players (via channel managers). Read more about channel managers on the 6th tool in our list of technological tool recommendations for travel agency businesses.
4. A Flexible Website Builder to ENGAGE Users
You might want to organize all the packages you have obtained through the API and your own CMS into a website that dynamically showcases regions, countries, or destinations. Alternatively, you may wish to show different travel categories or discounts depending on the interest of the client. You would probably also want to highlight packages for a specific holiday, or pre-fixed packages available in your stock for sale, which you would like to emphasize at a given moment.
You need a flexible tool where you can prioritize tours or alternatives at different times. Whatever your need is, you should not build your website from scratch. Instead, get a tool or partner with a company that has the API connectivity, the SDKs and the flexibility to support you with preliminary effort. Ensure that your effort is only required in setting your website up, and not building it again.
5. A Booking Engine to CONVERT Browsing Clients
Your tours should ideally be displayed on your site based on the stock available. Also, all of your packages should be connected to a payment solution capable of handling the complexities of multiple currencies, credit cards, returns, etc. Hence, you need a flexible payment solution that links your customers’ banks with your own bank account.
Upgrading your travel agency to a true e-commerce solution means letting your customer pay and finish the transaction when they are ready. Your website builder should preferably include a payment gateway, so you don’t have to build it all up, or connect to another supplier like Stripe or Braintree.
6. A Channel Manager to CONVERT Users on Other Platforms
With all the technologies above, you have a full e-commerce site. However, if you have your own packages to sell (as tour operators), you would not only want to populate your own website, but also sell your tours via other travel agencies’ sites. If this is your case, you need a channel manager to distribute your packages across multiple platforms to sell and convert more clients.
A channel manager is connected to different APIs to distribute your packages and let customers acquire your services when your packages are sold through other travel agencies’ websites or platforms. Travel Compositor has a solution that can help you with points 2,3,4, 5 and 6. Click here to learn more.
7. A CRM or Mobile App to NURTURE Client Relationships
Once guests have purchased your products, you need to communicate with them through a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software. You need this solution for sending booking confirmation, reservation details, and all the email communication natural to the after-sales service of a travel package. Go beyond a CRM for automatic email confirmations and reminders.
Send your travelers to a portal where they can see all of their information and have actionable interactions. They should be able to download an app or access a website where they will find information on all of their purchased products, including details of their reservations, amendment requests, potentially asked questions or anything that comes after a purchase is executed and the trip is on its course. mTrip has a solution for building a mobile app that can let you communicate with your clients. Wetu also has a solution to customize tours for clients, while processing back-end work for your, while also delivering a customer-facing solution to travelers. TourPlan has a solution to build packages, and to communicate with your guest with real custom-made travel products.
Are you considering digitizing your travel agency business? More than ever, this is now simpler than you can imagine. There are plenty of technological tools with connectivity, to integrate to solutions of different types of content, as per your need. Through expert technology players like Arrivedo, you can include third-party CMSs, APIs and SDKs. And in a few weeks, you can have your fully digital travel agency up and running, and connected to the entire world. Watch a FREE demo of our technology here.