If you need to define one most important thing about any travel software, it would have to be reservation management. That beautiful user interface, those awesome reports, those interactive photo galleries… those are just extras. The core of any travel business are the actual reservations and the reservation management.
Reservation management processes differ from one product to another, as well as from one company to another. However, there are some important things regarding reservation management that any software solution must be able to help you with. Otherwise, reconsider whether it is the right software for you.
Automatic price calculation
It is important to have price calculations. It is, in fact, a must. When making a booking in your reservation management system, you need to get quick and accurate price calculations so you can give precise information to your customers. Always being precise and transparent regarding the prices helps you build a better relationship with your customers – and that can only lead to sales growing.
OK, so each of your products, whether it is a tour or a hotel, can offer some additional services. And this must be supported by the reservation software, along with the afore mentioned price calculation. However, people will ask for things that are not a part of the standard offer, but things that have just popped into their heads or a friend told them about. You will, naturaly, as you are working in tourism, say that there is no problem and that you will take care of the service for your clients. But will your software be able to handle it?
A client wants to book a hotel room. And a transfer from the airport. And a rent-a-car. And a… And, as we all know, clients do this. And these are situations you and your employees will come across daily. Check whether your reservation management software can manage this with quality, or does it require a workaround. Can it fully handle dynamic packaging? If one of your everyday operations immediately requires a workaround, how will the reservation software handle a real extraordinary situation?
I wrote in the beginning that reservations are the most important thing. Yes and no. Reservations are important, but payments for these reservations are at least equally important. You need to know at any point in time which reservations have been paid for, how much money you still expect, which of your customers owe you money, when each payment is due… All this financial information is linked to actual reservations and needs to be monitored through reservation management.
Having a reservation in your booking system is all very nice, but you need to communicate info about this reservation to both your customers, suppliers, accounting, tour leaders… Using text documents and spreadsheets is all very nice, but is it the correct way to do that? Can documents get generated easily from your system? The reservation should have all the information to be a good basis for this, for both travel documents like vouchers, rooming lists, supplier notifications and others, as well as financial documents like invoices, payment confrimations and more. If you are typing all of these manually in some software while your reservation management system is running in the background, you should really wonder if there is anything wrong with that picture.
A reservation has a life cycle. It can start from an inquiry about prices and availability. Then can get confirmed by a supplier. And then waiting a confirmation from the customer. Then it can become fully confirmed. And then cancelled. And all of these situations can become multiplied by thousands of reservations. How can one keep track of all of this? By using a reservation management software, of course.
„Hello, my name is John Smith, can you tell me how much money I owe?“. You need to keep the customer on the line and let him know in an instant. And you need to find his booking within seconds. Or find all bookings from a certain subagent? Or make a check in list for a certain date? Or find all charter airplane tours departing on a certain date? The reservation overview needs to provide you with this information quickly and easily, after all, it is a reservation management software, isn’t it?
Do you feel that we have overlooked anything? What would you say are the most important things when thinking about a reservation management software? What is the most annoying thing when you have to manage reservations? We would love to hear what you think, so please tell us.