In recent years, the travel business has become more popular as a new generation of travelers and travel buyers enter the market. According to the World Travel and Tourism Council and Travelport, $1.3 trillion spent on the travel business globally in 2017, with a 3.7% annual increase over the next ten years. Technology adoption has played a key role in this growth.
The travel industry has a plethora of technology providers, making it difficult to pick the best one. As a result, selecting a travel technology for a company should be a tiresome task. With constantly developing technologies, market changes, and an unstable environment, your travel technology partner should be able to always meet your demands with experience.
Technology partnerships have enabled travel companies to generate new revenue streams, leverage powerful IT solutions and brand influence, and gain access to professional business tools that would have otherwise been out of reach.
You need to feel confident that your technology partner not only has the capabilities to meet your current needs today but also has the expertise and market leadership to position you for success in the years to come as well.
The following are a few factors to consider when hunting for the best travel technology partners.
#1 – Industry expertise and strategy for leading the travel technology evolution
Although this may seem basic, it is extremely important to identify travel technology partners serving travel providers around the world in every form: from air to lodging to ground and sea travel services. Ideally, your preferred travel partner should have enterprise-wide systems and automated customizations that enable travelers to plan, shop, and book within corporate travel policy guidelines. As the demand rises for personalization and streamlined processes, the technology partners you are considering should have the proven capabilities to help you achieve the right balance of individualization and travel spend management.
Travel technology partners not only build solutions to solve corporate travel challenges today but also deliver next-generation solutions that improve travel management and the traveling experience.
#2- A Connected Partner
A technology partnership is much more than just a tool or service. It is a dedicated team of industry experts who help you achieve your travel program goals today while also providing scalable and flexible services in the future.
A well-established, working partnership with TMCs, suppliers and third-party technology partners becomes a critical factor for successful travel programs. This program may leverage different agencies, carriers, expense systems, or other third-party providers. Select technology partners who are uniquely positioned to lead business travel innovation, deliver tangible value, and strive to provide a frictionless traveller experience.
Additionally, you should evaluate travel technology providers who demonstrate strategic alliances to lead the industry’s evolution towards New Distribution Capability (NDC), next-generation retailing, distribution, and fulfilment. DC changes the way air products are retailed to corporations, leisure travellers, and business travellers by addressing the industry’s current distribution limitations: product differentiation, time-to-market, and access to full and rich air content. Over the next few years, this will become an increasingly crucial factor in managing business travel.factor in managing business travel.
Overall, you should look for a technology partner who understands your business, has a vast network of partners that can maximize your technology investments today and inspire change for the future and has established credibility for delivering results.
#3- A commitment to helping you achieve your travel program goals
A travel policy is the foundation of effective travel management. Your travel technology should fully understand that travel managers are challenged with balancing traveler expectations, and quality experiences, maximizing efficiencies and maintaining compliance while managing costs. As modern technologies and channels disrupt traditional travel policies, travel managers today face a more variable role than in the past. Business travel is an essential business-building activity for growing businesses, but it can also be costly and strenuous for the traveler.
A study conducted by Sabre in partnership with the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) found that 40% of travelers believe business travel impacts business results significantly, while 32% say it impacts job satisfaction. The study also revealed that job satisfaction is influenced by the following: an organization’s travel policy, booking and reservation process, employee well-being policies for travel, safety and security policies and initiatives, expense reporting process, and even the pre-trip approval process.
Travel technology partners should be capable of providing solutions managing business travel, from booking to expense management to a duty of care, with the consumer-like user experience, consumers expect, which is crucial to ensuring higher compliance and traveler satisfaction. Additionally, the solution they offer needs to be scalable, flexible, and adaptable to the changing needs of travelers. Also, their solutions should seamlessly integrate with booking, itinerary, messaging, virtual payments, expense reporting, and travel risk management.
It is not enough that your travel technology partner offers a comprehensive travel policy engine with sophisticated controls, custom rules, and parameters to ensure policy compliance; you also need a solution that is easy to navigate and guides the traveler on the right choices with messaging that communicates your travel program throughout the entire experience.
Advance corporate booking solutions should do more than just enable your travelers to shop and book travel—they should also provide access to comprehensive travel options and negotiated offers, automate processes, improve supplier, and contract management, clearly identify in-policy and preferred options, and maximize policy compliance and savings. One size does not fit all when it comes to corporate travel programs. You need the right technology partner who can help you configure your travel technology for today’s unique travel program requirements with the flexibility and scalability to evolve as your business grows.
#4 – A trusted advisor and advocate
Every travel technology partner on your shortlist should ensure their solutions are tailored to your unique travel program and traveler experience requirements. Whether it is migration or product implementation, each team should have highly experienced, dedicated, and accessible professionals who can share best practices and provide onsite support and online training to help you realize greater results.
The travel technology partners you select should understand the pressures of meeting business goals while staying on top of industry trends and changing market dynamics. They need to provide insightful analysis, advice, and technical expertise at every step, introducing innovative ideas to streamline processes and reduce costs.
In addition, you should choose a technology partner that is customer-centric, engaged, and listening to you through customer advisory boards, customer engagements, and industry events. And not just stopping there but elevating the voice of the customer through all channels within their partner ecosystem to make sure your priorities and needs are taken into consideration.
Choosing a travel technology partner is a big decision. Before you proceed, consider these crucial factors to ensure you choose the right one for your business. A successful travel technology partnership is one where the partner you chose has the expertise and drive to help you achieve your goals.
Techspian is an innovative technology company providing comprehensive GDS (Global Distribution System) content, industry expertise, and corporate solutions that combine business priorities with intuitive travel services.
If you are in the process of reviewing technology partners and would like to learn more about how techspian can help, contact us and our expert will contact you soon.