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The Travel Booking Engine Evolution
As a new generation of travelers considers planning a vacation, their path to purchase has become increasingly complex compared to the generations before them. Growing up amid the technology revolution, today's consumer is tech savvy and will naturally move across different devices, websites and selling channels when researching and planning a vacation. And with all the shopping being done online, the data captured from the research and shopping activity should be driving a new level of traveler engagement.
Today's travel booking engine needs to be able to deliver the right information on the preferred device at any point in the research, shopping or purchase cycle.
This includes the increasingly important mobile research part of the travel purchase process. The way consumers interact with a travel agent needs to keep up with the advances in online bookings, so the service a travel agent provides is seamlessly integrated with a consumer's online research and shopping.
And with all the information collected when someone is online, the identification of common preferences through data analysis should produce passenger segment profiles that assist a travel agent in the travel planning process. For example, Singles, young Families and older Couples may each look for a different experience and will probably research, shop and purchase their travel using different methods. A traveler's income level may determine they type of accommodations they require. First time travelers need to be normalized and simplified to educate the new purchaser on the value of different options. A travel booking engine needs to employ techniques such as collaborative filtering that provide examples of what a similar customer purchased can be used to help with the shopping experience. Using past data from similar customers shopping history to recommend options that meet the new purchaser's needs can eventually lead to a more personalized booking experience.
Today's travel booking engine needs to provide information about the specific amenities a hotel property may offer such as free internet or breakfast. Hotels offer varying levels of comfort and service, so matching a client with the right hotel is important. The ability to sort a search for hotel rooms by a particular star rating or the average nightly rate can speed up the process dramatically for example. Detailed descriptions and photos of guest rooms and public areas can help in choosing the right property. Consumers have become accustom to reserving a specific seat on an airplane or requesting a special meal during their flight, so your travel booking engine needs to be able to handle these requests. Live access to content is critical to make sure the most up to date availability and pricing is used. The booking engine needs to have powerful business rules feature that will allow you to adjust a product's selling price or include a specific marketing message about a special offer.
Finding travel booking engine with the right combination of options for your business can be a critical decision. Finding a technology partner that will help you reach today's mobile consumer with the content they are looking for can be just as important.
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