Travolution Media presented a preview of Mr. George Dumitru speaking session during the first day of Travel Technology Europe 2019. wbe.travel’s CEO talked about the main technological challenges that small and medium enterprises have in the travel industry.
TTE Preview: wbe.travel founder on technology challenges and opportunities for travel SMEs
wbe.travel is celebrating its tenth year as a travel software developer. Co-founder and chief executive George Dumitru shares some thoughts on what he has learnt over the past decade and suggests ways of thinking which can help SMEs get the most out of today’s enterprise technology landscape.
Do you really need to spend on a mobile app for your B2B agents?
When we launched wbe.travel as a travel software business in 2009, mobile was still emerging as a mainstream consumer technology.
Today a native app or mobile web site is a must for any online travel business looking to serve the traveller direct.
But for travel agents in a call centre, retail outlet or at home the mobile trend is taking a different direction.
Travel agents need more flexibility in terms of their user experience and booking flows than direct consumers, who often already know where and when they want to go when they get to the booking engine.
Agents dealing with a client face-to-face or on the phone need to have multiple tabs open at the same time, to be able to compare different flight and hotel options, in real-time.
Agents with access to a full range of inventory, visible in front of them, must not only find the perfect booking for the traveller, but also optimize their own revenues by knowing which hotel is offering the agent the best commission or incentive.
But the mobile experience extends beyond the booking process itself, which opens up valid user cases for enterprise apps for travel agents.
General managers, chief executives and financial directors of small to medium sized travel firms need to stay in touch with their agents while on the road. Specific B2B apps which can share intelligence across the entire business are valuable assets.
Owners of SMEs in travel have a vision, a dream of what they want their business to be, but need to align these aspirations with their available budget and resources.
Our advice based on ten years as a product company for SMEs is that you do not need to be Expedia.
It is possible to choose the mobile features which enhance productivity and efficiency, deliver a quick return and provide the platform for growth in the niche you want to operate in.
Investing in business intelligence, or making sure that the deep links you provide to consumer-facing price comparison sites are accurate and robust, can deliver a greater return than forcing your agents to use a B2B mobile app, despite what your IT vendor may suggest.
Do you trust your IT supplier to do what’s right for you, not them?
The internal and external conversations around mobile highlight another bigger picture challenge for SMEs – who do you trust?
All vendors claim to have the best system, the best inventory, the best prices, the best support. The decision about which IT partner to trust with business-critical platform is one that SMEs cannot afford to get wrong.
One challenge we – the vendor – faces is managing unrealistic mindsets. People running small travel companies are experts in travel and often do not have in-house technical expertise.
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