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Automating the business process in the travel industry, part 1: Operations

As a software consultant for travel agencies and tour operators, I noticed the majority of them complain about the same issue which appears during their communication with suppliers – too much time is wasting away on confirming each reservation before a quote can be sent to a client.

And the process isn’t a short one. In order to create a quote, first, an agent has to choose the right product from the inventory. Then, they should check availability with the supplier – and wait for their response. Only after the supplier confirms availability can you email your potential client.

Don’t you think confirming multiple reservation items within a reservation manually is taking up too much of your valuable time – and keeping the client waiting for too long? Wouldn’t it be so much easier if all you had to do was click to create an inquiry instead of typing out multiple emails?

What’s hurting your business?

Using time inefficiently

How much time do you spend checking availability with your suppliers for a potential reservation?

Let’s look at an inquiry which consists of four services: accommodation, transfer, a one-day tour and a ticket for a museum.

For each of these services, you need to contact your supplier to check availability and get a confirmation before you can create a quote for your potential customer.

Based on our clients’ daily experience, this usually takes around 30 minutes!

Losing control

Here’s a scenario many travel agents will be able to relate to.

You’ve just received a client inquiry. The next thing you do is contact the supplier to check availability – by calling the supplier directly or sending an email.

Once you receive the response from the supplier, you’ll be able to send an offer to your client. So far, so good, right? Nothing could go wrong.

Except you have to leave the office unexpectedly and your colleague has to take over your tasks for you.

Now all you have to do is explain to them the offer details, forward them all the emails you sent out to suppliers, give them access to your email because that’s where the supplier’s response will arrive… Would you like sharing your details with your colleague? If not, your sale could fail.

Doesn’t this feel frustrating? Having all the information connected to one potential reservation scattered around in different sources isn’t very practical.

Losing the sale

Besides the time you spend communicating with suppliers, think about all the opportunities you are losing because your potential customer doesn’t have time to wait.

Modern travelers live busy lifestyles and choose to book just as quickly. Having your employees process all inquiries manually means business is only done during the employee’s office hours – forget about the weekend, vacation days or a sick leave.

And even during the office hours, the agent’s response can be immediate only if their time zone matches with their client’s.

Again, the result is more delay or in the worst case a lapse that can lead to further complications, or maybe even result in losing the client because you failed to provide a particular service.

This not only affects your client but can damage your agency as well. For example, if an agent forgets to confirm a transfer for a client, the client will miss their flight and the agency will have to cover the cost of the flight ticket.

Turn things around with Lemax

To help travel agents solve the problems they constantly face, Lemax team developed a module called Full sales automation. This solution for managing the complete communication through the system boosts productivity by reducing the length of a sales cycle for travel agencies and tour operators.

How does it work?

lemax_stages

Stages of the booking process

Let’s assume there are multiple services included as part of the reservation for your customer.

Using automation, you will reduce the time spent creating multiple inquiries to suppliers and simplify the process of receiving a response from them. How?

Lemax automatically sends email inquiries to suppliers to confirm the availability of their services with a simple click of a button labelled YES. Depending on their response, the notification you receive changes the status of each reservation item automatically from the initial state to the option status.

Once you receive the supplier’s response – hopefully, a confirmation, you can create the offer with a click of a button and then send it to the client. If the client accepts, it’s now time to send a confirmation to the supplier.

Once the supplier receives an automatic confirmation from Lemax, they confirm the booking by sending back a reference number. The item’s status is then changed to booking.

In case the supplier rejects a particular service, the item will be canceled and your employees will automatically receive a notification so they can look for another supplier or a similar service.

Finally, you can quote. It’s possible to automate that part of the sales process as well – you will learn about all the possibilities in detail in the next blog post, part 2 of the Business Automation series.

Time-saving module = money-saving module

As the number of hours spent per booking affects sales directly, Full sales automation module by Lemax certainly delivers a strong return on investment. You can calculate just how much by looking at the time consumption per one simple booking.

If you’re working at the average speed and taking approximately 30 minutes to request an availability confirmation from the supplier.  If your agency receives 500 inquiries monthly, it will take your agents 250 working hours to process them.

Imagine how that cost increases with the growing number of received inquiries and more complex itineraries which include more than 5 services.

Also, note that this calculation doesn’t include any additional changes and that it takes into account only the minimal time cost.

One benefit leads to another

As Lemax cuts down the time needed for managing your travel inquiries, you will witness many parts of your business starting to blossom.

Travel agents will have more time to dedicate attention to their clients, ultimately reflecting on an increased conversion rate and sales.

Communication with the suppliers will be fast and efficient, resulting in a positive outcome for customers and a simpler process for suppliers.

Don’t miss out – try automation now

If you’re frustrated that your salespeople are wasting time doing repetitive manual work, it’s time you start automating your business. Handling supplier inquiries automatically leaves more time for the travel agents to focus on the sale instead of doing repetitive manual work.

Interested in seeing how it works?

Learn more about our sales automation