While having an online booking platform previously gained you a competitive edge, it’s no longer the case today.
Because every modern travel agency offers online booking, no business will survive on that service alone. Instead, you need to supply innovative solutions to advance in a fast-changing travel landscape.
That means integrating technology that anticipates your customers’ needs, gives them more control over their travel plans, and gives them the convenience of a digital-first world. More than that, your technological solution must also provide your business with security, efficiency, and ease of use.
One way to achieve this is to integrate a booking management software or a self service portal solution.
What’s a self service portal?
Self service portal is a customer-facing travel management platform solution that allows your customers to change the details of their travel plans through an application or web page. For example, if they need to change a misspelt name on their tickets, they can easily do so via your mobile app.
As a result, your customers gain convenience and control over their travel itinerary, because they can change it from anywhere at any time. At the same, your business saves on resources by reducing your reliance on customer service operators to solve minor issues.
Why do travel operators need to offer booking management options?
Technology is rapidly changing the travel industry. And if businesses don’t adapt quickly, they’ll find themselves in the same position as Thomas Cook.
Thomas Cook was one of the most established travel agencies globally, with over 100 years of experience. Unfortunately, they couldn’t keep up with the latest trends and technologies and soon fell behind the competition.
In 2019, they had to liquidate their company in the middle of the travel boom.
While you might think that you’re not anything like Thomas Cook, you need more than just the standard online booking system to stay on top of the competition today. You need to provide technological services that satisfy your customers’ ever-growing needs. At the same, you need to offer something that your competition doesn’t.
And one way to do that is by offering a self service portal solution. Below are 4 more reasons why travel operators need it.
1. Enhances customer experience
Customers no longer choose a brand solely because of the products and services it offers. They choose a brand because of the experience that they receive.
So much so that 74% of customers will switch to a brand that delivers better customer service. Plus, 86% will pay more to receive better experiences. Not only that, Bain & Co. reported that a business can increase revenue by up to 95% by improving customer retention by just 5%.
So, what do customers want?
They want always-on convenience that they can access anywhere. Customers want quick and easy solutions to their problems. They want the option to solve their problems on their own.
In short, they want a self-service option for their travel needs, which can be done through booking management solutions. The self service portal option gives them 24/7 access to do the following:
- View all their travel details on a single platform
- Edit personal details and travel itinerary
- Chat directly with personal support staff
2. Improves operational efficiency
COVID-19 has made it a requirement for travel agencies to react quickly to any changes in the industry. But how can your team be agile when they’re overwhelmed by minor tasks?
By giving customers control of their travel bookings, booking management solutions unburden your team from manually resolving minor tasks. This means your team can say goodbye to changing your customer’s name and flight details and providing them with their complete itinerary, because the solution already does this for them. Instead, your team can focus on more vital and complex tasks that improve your productivity.
Additionally, booking management solutions makes you more adept during a crisis. For example, when a tourist spot suddenly closes its border because of COVID-19, your customers have the power to change their travel arrangements right away. They no longer have to wait in line to get ahold of one of your customer service agents, who are assisting everyone else who planned to travel to the same area.
3. Increases your competitive edge
It’s no big secret that the travel industry is an oversaturated market, with many businesses offering similar services. But what distinguishes one brand from another is the customer experience they provide.
We’ve already mentioned this, but we really can’t stress the importance of an excellent customer experience. In fact, 90% of businesses compete solely on customer experience. Thus, for your organisation to be ahead of the curve, you need to supply customers with above-and-beyond services. And a self service portal solution can do just that for you.
It allows your customers to make the travel changes they want directly and need without the hassle of going through a travel agent. This, in return, frees your travel agent’s time so they can quickly respond to customers who contact them with more complicated inquiries.
Beyond this, self service portal gives your tech-savvy customers a digital solution for their digital-first needs.
Never settle for less
The travel and hospitality industry is a fast-paced, constantly changing environment. And to stay a step ahead of the competition, you need to offer more innovative solutions to your customers.
One way to do just that is by offering a booking management solution. Not only does it provide a better customer experience, but it also improves operational efficiency, enhances your security, and increases your competitive edge. So if you’re looking for ways to upgrade your business, consider adding this solution to your list.
At Paxflow, we understand the struggles of finding the right solution to meet all your business needs as a travel operator. That’s why we built one instead that’s tailor-fitted to the travel and tourism industry.
One feature we made sure to integrate is a self service portal option for customers. For example, our PaxPortal solution allows customers to:
- Choose from 8 languages
- View the details of their book tours: date, time, participants, and meeting point location
- Download a PDF version of their ticket
- Change their contact details
- Reschedule their booking or change their meeting point
- Chat directly with customer support
Want to bring your tour business to the next level? Book a demo with us here.