2021 in review: Software developments and stronger partnerships for the greater good of the travel industry
The second year of the pandemics actually showed us that the online world is stronger than ever before. That meant for us more involvement, more developments and more partners to support the travel businesses, our clients in the online world.
“Pay as you grow” with cloud subscription to enhance the profitability
The first topic that comes into our mind, to sum up 2021, is cloud, and especially cloud migration. After all, cloud travel technologies can open multiple opportunities to leverage new capabilities that simplify processes, optimize customer experiences, and enhance overall profitability. “Companies have been moving to the cloud for many years but Covid has only accelerated that.” said the co-founder of wbe.travel in an open conversation with Mark Frary at Travel Technology Show.
George Dumitru, wbe.travel’s CEO had several discussions during this year about how the cloud could work in your business favor. He even detailed, in an article before the Travolution Summit, how cloud technologies with monthly subscriptions can aid start-ups and SMEs that are either offline and want to go online or have an online presence but it’s not good enough.
The most important talk he had was with Phocuswire’s team about the shift wbe.travel has made in its business model, from a license-based model to a modern, up-to-date standard of cloud-based software solutions with a monthly subscription. Subscription-based SaaS is where enterprise technology is heading and will be the next big change in travel tech. It all came as a natural evolution in travel software as a consequence of COVID-19, from “nice-to-have” to actual “need”.
At the beginning of 2021, in an interview with Lee Hayhurst, George was already talking about how the pandemics have helped us pave the way for a new business model “Pay as you Grow” to react to the most challenging year in the history of travel.
In March. Mr. Dumitru was invited by ITB Berlin to offer travel companies some insights about what they need to ask from their tech providers: more flexibility in payments and scalable systems in the cloud.
The near future of travel agencies vs the OTA world. The rise of niched travel businesses and B2B wholesalers
In an insightful panel that Uzakrota hosted online in March, Dumitru talked about the change of balance in the travel world, with the potential rise of Travel Agencies and B2B Wholesalers over the OTAs, which might keep the same level of business or even go down a little bit.
While Covid is still here and has hit for the second year with lots of uncertainties, travel professionals should take a moment, reflect and try finding the key, star niche at which they’re very good at. Focus on that, develop it and lean on travel software could be their partner in helping them reach the desired goals. The OTAs are here to stay. This is just to sum up what our colleague Radu Ciubotaru the Business Development Director advised travel companies, after engaging in thousands of direct meetings during his time in the industry, during an open panel about the digital future of travel agencies.
Software developments for the greater good of the travel industry: speed, smart searches and beautiful layout
Since the B2B segment is rising and will be definitely thriving in the near future we’ve made several upgrades on the B2B Booking Platform. One of the most appreciated new elements we’ve added is the Loyalty points program. This was designed for our clients to incentivize their customers and keep them as close partners that book in their platform.
2021 also gave us the opportunity to launch a tailored software offering for niched businesses that have similar challenges as a typical travel agency but with a “twist”. That twist comes in the form of a particular need, such as curated content or unique identity and a special design of the booking engine.
When it comes to speedy searches, rich results in no time, we are one of the best in the travel tech segment. We say that with full confidence for our full offering and the 2021 releases. One of those is the upgrade to Microsoft .Net 5.0 Framework we did in the first part of the year. With this, our clients can now get up to 10 times faster access times for XML requests. Searches, bookings, users and lists can all be accessed faster than ever before.
Since everyone is now online, making the most of their gadgets we thought about offering the travelers and resellers an easier way to find their desired hotel. This is why we’ve designed the Smart Search, the OTA-like feature to help them find easily the needle in the digital hotels’ stack. This feature offers intelligent suggestions while typing.
The Smart Search is available in all selling channels and it all started with the new B2C Booking Platform we released. The facelift of this selling channel brought numerous new features such as side-by-side hotel comparison, night mode for the entire booking engine experience, non-refundable filters for XML supplier hotels and many more.
The B2C Booking website was built on top of the latest wbeApi, developed as one endpoint for multiple travel APIs. The wbeApi is a multi-supplier travel resources hub, an endpoint for multiple connections of travel suppliers of hotel and flight services, delivering in a unified structure.
wbeAPI brings countless benefits and can be used whether you have or not travel inventory or you just want to mix it with your existing one to increase the offering to your clients. Besides the obvious shortest time to market and minimal need for testing, there is also a considerable advantage in cost saving in the long run.
An even stronger network of partners as travel suppliers to boost our clients’ sales
The leading industry professionals agreed on two major topics: collaboration and partnership, innovation development for the interconnected travel industry and in the end for the savvy travelers. We, at wbe.travel believe that partnerships are key in the constantly changing industry we serve. This is why we chose, for our clients, the travel companies, new, innovative and resourceful travel suppliers to integrate in their platforms.
At the beginning of 2021, we announced the elite program of the year – “Premium Plus partners” where chosen Travel Suppliers adhered to our plan of zero costs for installation and no monthly fees. Tale Travel was the first to join the initiative, offering a rich listing of +800,000 Hotels, Apartments and Vacation homes in over 17.000 destinations via third party suppliers.
After just a short while, Cosmobeds – the new Destination Management Company connected with a portfolio of +10.000 worldwide directly contracted properties: Hotels, Resorts, Apartments, Villas.
We added afterward Yalago – the world-renowned Leisure BedBank offering +12,000 directly contracted hotels and +300,000 hotels offered via third-party suppliers.
In later summer Paximum came in to provide a substantial portfolio of +900,000 mapped hotels worldwide, coming from +60 global bed banks and +5,000 direct contracts.
The second most important project we did was the integration of Hotelmize that promises to help our clients increase their profitability up to 35% by using innovative technology to rebook reservations. We invited Dor Krubiner, the Founder and CEO of Hotelmize, to better explain how the idea came to life, to find the hidden opportunities of profit optimization.
A third palpable benefit we brought this year is with the recertification we completed with Mystifly. This came after the successful migration to the newest API, to exchange data and functionalities more easily, with enhanced security, for our clients to easily benefit from global airfares from 700+ airlines including 180+ LCCs and Multi-GDS, offered by Mystifly.
Later in 2021, we added an additional way of increasing the profits of our clients by loyalizing their customers with great prices for accommodation properties. This solution is offered by our latest ally – HyperGuest that acts as a global hub for +150 Channel Managers, Property Management Systems and Central Reservation Systems. This connectivity implies that the travel firm that uses HyperGuest through wbe.travel can access directly, with 100% hotel connectivity, more than 15.000 properties spread globally. The travel company simply skips intermediaries, the middle man, the third parties and cut large costs at the same time.
YieldPlanet Channel Manager joined our list of suppliers to offer our clients the possibility to optimize their online distribution by working with a balanced array of channels. Yield Planet is integrated with over 400 channels to help you reach a global market. Their partners include OTAs, Sharing Economy OTAs, Tour Operators, wholesalers, PMSes, CRSes, GDSes, RMSes etc.
We added on top the best-known two-way Channel Manager HotelRunner to help travel agencies and wholesalers better manage their sales channels easily, feeding all channels simultaneously. It helps to save time and reduce costs and maximize revenue.
Amadeus Value Hotels came in as a natural integration to provide travel agencies with +400,000 properties with a choice of destinations, and room types. All room rates are net, so you, as a travel business, have the option to mark them up and earn additional revenues for your agency.
Asa London or as we know it by “Angela Shanley Associates” the award-winning UK & Ireland specialist Inbound Tour Operator became an official supplier for wbe.travel’s clients. It feeds a niched inventory of over 800 hotels that they’ve contracted, from key city locations such as London, Edinburgh, Dublin, Cardiff, Manchester and Birmingham.
Heartwarming feedbacks and new travel companies that trusted us
We are deeply honored to be their stepping-stone, their ally in the hard battle of Covid, to provide them the key weapons to overcome their competitors and conquer new markets.
Marsel Kalemi revisited his choice for the partnership with wbe.travel with great satisfaction. The first impression of “Love at first demonstration” hasn’t changed and instead, it only grew even stronger from the great impact it had on his business development.
The same was for Enver Mehmeti, the CEO of Vas Group, that brought a truly added value for the travel industry in the Balkan area with his software solutions from wbe.travel. He told us in a one-on-one interview about the challenges he faced and how he introduced and presented the new technologies to his B2B partners and what he’s planning next.
Our Arabian Travel Market visit and the test drive of the B2B Booking system convinced Arrival Gate to become our client. Al Mouwasat Travel chose wbe.travel, to equip its business with complex software for when Saudi Arabia opened in May, during ATM.
For the tailored solutions, speed of the system and multiple functionalities such as the new wbeAPI, the niched travel businesses Vacayou Wellness Travel and Travel Gay chose wbe.travel as their tech partner.
After carefully observing all our communication and analyzing several tech offerings in the market Travel Pass Lebanon chose us to be their partner in the B2B rising world.
After our official launch of the new 1-month free trial version of the system, Bookitnow a travel company from Singapore decided that we have the best solutions for his growing business. And the list goes on. We thank all the travel companies that have trusted us, that stayed with us, that chose us for improvements and have boarded with us in this long, harsh journey.
A well-received award at the end of a long journey
wbe.travel was named World’s Leading Travel Technology Provider at Uzakrota annual Travel Awards ceremony. “We make a frank promise to all our voters and clients to keep on delivering useful and modern tech solutions to help them overcome the obstacles and reach the development they all desire” concluded George Dumitru – wbe.travel’s CEO, after a long, hard-working year.
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