Travel Weekly, the number one media portal for the travel industry, invited wbe.travel’s CEO to state his opinion about tech adoption in travel agencies and best practices for choosing a software provider as your partner.
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Find the right firm to service your needs, says George Dumitru, chief executive and co-founder of wbe.travel
As Covid restrictions lift around the globe, and many report record booking days, the UK travel sector is right to feel optimistic about 2022.
But while a sense of relief is welcome, many travel agents and tour operators still have concerns.
One such dilemma is whether their technology does everything they need it to do, solves the problems they need solving, has a cost structure that matches how much money it actually helps generate, and is flexible enough to cope with the ups and downs of the new normal.
That can only be answered once you know what you want. Our experience as a technology provider to all flavours of travel agents and wholesalers in various markets around the globe – more than 45,000 agents use our system – is that most travel companies do know what they want.
However, it became evident to us that, for many travel companies, finding the right technology partner to support their specific needs was a bigger headache.
Changing the script
Most travel companies will have had the pleasure of listening to commission-hungry tech salespeople trying to persuade them they need their system on a three-year licence because it does A, B and C, even if you’ve already told them – repeatedly – you need a system that does X, Y and Z and you need a flexible contract.
Technology itself continues to improve and is capable of solving even more problems even more quickly. But travel companies should be aware that many travel tech suppliers are offering terms and conditions different from what you might expect. The sweet spot should be when a supplier’s business model is as flexible as the technology it is developing.
At wbe.travel, we changed how we charge in response to what agents and resellers told us would suit them best. We looked at what was happening in the business technology world and realised travel tech could be done differently. That is that, today, your technology costs should be linked with the volume of business transacted, not fixed in advance, without the need to ‘own’ anything.
Finding your way
Having one single tech provider for everything is a hangover from a time when there was not a choice of global giants, sexy start-ups and new-to-travel players. Tech today makes it easy for different systems from different providers to talk to each other.
On the one hand, choice is a good thing. On the other, it can be confusing.
That is why travel companies need to know what they want in order to curate the choices available, but they also have to have the tech that allows them a choice in how and what they curate.
This clarity is needed for both what they sell as well as the tech they use. And when the tech is talking to each other, mid and back-office systems and processes can use the same workflows as before.
Work it out
However the new normal pans out there will be a role for technology, and that role is business-critical because technology is there to make life easier, solve problems and to help agents and operators make money.
The difference between tech providers is not necessarily what their systems can do, it’s how it is priced, how much heavy lifting the provider is prepared to do to free up agents’ time and whether or not the supplier is self-motivated or has a genuine interest in partnerships and collaboration.
Does your tech supplier have your back?
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