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Whatever your Business requirement, Tripfro offers completely managed best fit travel technology solution.
What Is Travel Distribution?
The travel distribution system is an evolving creature, there are always new players, consolidations, new technologies, and devices. So how do you as a tourism operator keep pace? The first step is to understand the landscape and who are the initial players in online travel distribution.
However, large-scale distribution remains a challenge, particularly for companies that sell multiple products, have contracts with multiple suppliers and work with hundreds and thousands of agents.
How Does The Travel Distribution System Work?
The travel distribution system has customarily been very structured with clearly defined functions for a single role in the chain. However, online technology and company mergers have transformed the tourism industry, with an increasing amount of crossover in the roles and functions of different sectors of the distribution system. Businesses are engaging a mix of distribution partners to ensure the most impressive way of reaching their target consumers.
As this distribution system continues to evolve, it is essential to understand the structure of the companies that you work with and their relationships with other organizations. With the growth of the internet, many traditional travel distributors such as wholesalers and travel agents are taking an online approach as well as providing their services from a retail shop front. There has also been a development in online travel agencies (OTAs) that operate solely in the online environment.
Both online and traditional distribution partners have the opportunity to work with each other and directly with products and customers. Therefore, it is vital to understand each partner’s role and how your product can advantage of its part in the distribution network.
Why Work With Travel Distributors?
Travel distributors allow you to develop your customer base far beyond the reach of your own limited marketing budget. They are essential to the inbound tourism industry as overseas consumers still rely heavily on the advice of local travel experts when planning and booking their holidays, particularly in long-haul and emerging markets.
Travel distributors can also offer market intelligence, insights, and advice on a specific market. The travel distribution system covers all the channels through which an international traveler can buy your product. Other than approaching you directly, international travelers may book your product.
IT Solutions for Travel Distribution:
The travel industry is empowering consumers to book online using dynamic channel distribution methods. As the market is highly competitive and intuitive in response to the fares, consumers rely on comparing provides to get the best deals. Thus, there lies an incredible opportunity for travel agencies to provide attractive deals with a focus on consumer choices.
The Travel distribution system covers all the channels through which travel is bought and sold. Distribution channels and consumer purchasing behavior varies from market to market and one requires understanding the structure of the distribution system specific to one’s target markets.
When considering how best to distribute your product to international consumers, it is necessary to understand each channel and the relationships between companies within the distribution channel.
Suppliers and wholesalers with their own inventory of flights, hotels, and other products rely heavily on b2b channels, as it’s difficult for them to physically serve end customers in various markets.
The two main b2b channels for such companies are OTAs and independent local agents. In this post, we will see the role of the local agents in the distribution chain and how travel companies can use technology to get the most out of distributors.
Key Entities In The Travel Distribution:
Suppliers such as hotels, airlines, car rental companies, and other owners of inventory
Aggregators/wholesalers (GDSs, Bedbanks, Consolidators, etc)
Inbound tour operators that work through a network of b2b agents
Local travel agents/distributors that handle a small region and sell products on behalf of tour operators or suppliers
Online Travel Agencies, or OTAs – which sell through travel portals and internet booking engines (Expedia, Booking.com, etc)
Metasearch engines & Price Comparison sites.
Essentials of Independent Agents/Distributors In The Travel Value Chain:
The Tourism industry consists of an informal global network of independent businesses or travel distributors which form a necessary part of the ‘travel distribution chain’. This network enables both domestic and global consumers to explore reserves and pay for travel products.
Travel distributors are typically SME agencies that don’t essentially have travel inventory of their own and work with host companies to serve local demand by distributing the host inventory to end consumers.
Travel distributors are an essential link between suppliers and larger players, such as host agencies and wholesalers, allowing them to broaden their business horizons way beyond their marketing budgets and geography.
Travel distributors are particularly necessary to the inbound tourism industry as overseas customers still rely a lot on the advice of local travel experts when planning their holiday, particularly in emerging markets.
Travel distributors can also offer insights and recommendations on the marketing mix to match the demand in the local markets. Additionally, since they have personal connections with local consumers, they often provide flexible payment options and credit lines to their clients, something that larger firms and OTAs don’t typically offer.
So clearly these agents are highly important in the distribution chain, particularly in the vacations segment. However, managing a large network of distributors can be extremely challenging for suppliers and travel providers operating in the b2b space, particularly for companies still relying on manual processes or outdated tools.
Top Challenges In Managing Distributors:
Communication hassles – your team spends hours exchanging countless phone calls and emails with agents for rates and availability.
Long sales cycles – lack of real-time pricing with agents means a lot of back-and-forth communication, resulting in severe delays in responding to customer booking inquiries which can eventually drive consumers away to OTAs/other faster sources.
Managing markups and commissions – when you are working with hundreds of distributors in multiple geographies and multiple currencies, managing their markups and commissions owed to them can become a nightmare. Using disparate tools for reservations, agent management and accounting leave a lot of room for costly accounting errors.
How TripFro Simplifies Distribution?
TripFro with its Distribution and ERP capabilities enables large travel providers to aggregate content from multiple third-party suppliers, combine it with their direct contracts, dynamically apply pre-configured business rules and redistribute the inventory through a unified API across all their marketing channels.
Our distribution engine is an SOA (Services Oriented Architecture) based solution that allows companies to scale quickly while providing them the flexibility to integrate their existing technology.
Within the travel technology market, there are solution providers that offer solutions to various types of travel businesses under one roof, but also vendors that focus on a specific segment within the industry, e.g., leisure travel agencies, or DMCs, or TMCs the best fit is for you.
Using our unique web-services-based architecture, they can pull and push data from their existing systems, be it their CRM, Accounting system, or their PMS/CRS through APIs. A centralized system makes it easy for large companies to manage and control their distribution channels.
Another important thing to note here is that the extensive supplier integration experience that travel technology companies possess allows them to recommend the right suppliers in each region to get the best possible inventory for their B2C and B2B customers. Plus, they have ready connections for all major XML suppliers and can integrate their APIs into your website in a matter of days.
Following Are Just Some of the Ways TripFro Facilitates:
This helps companies minimize their development time and cost and helps them launch their travel products quickly. They retain full control over their front ends, allowing them to customize and package their products the way they want to fit different markets and brands.
Ability to manage multiple company portals and their individual policies from a single admin system each portal can be configured in its own language, currency, content allowing large companies to localize content and effectively target specific markets.
Ability to aggregate multiple third-party supplier feeds for flights, hotels, and ground services through a single API and redistribute the entire inventory along with their own direct contracts across multiple channels such as B2C, B2B, B2B2C.
Configuration of third-party API suppliers and supplier-specific business rules and policies.
Ability to integrate multiple payment gateways and real-time currency conversion to enable clients to search and make online reservations across various regions in local currencies.
Ideal integration with third-party systems such as Accounting and CRM Systems, Channel Managers, and PMS using Single Sign-on (SSO) to protect existing investments.
Management of direct contracts and negotiated rates for hotels, ground transportation, activities, catering, etc.
Centralized Management of operators and agents and configuration of particular business rules for them.
Unique ‘SaaS out-of-the-box capability that enables companies to provide their downline agents and affiliates with co-branded cloud-based portals with admin interfaces and aggregated feeds.
Some Of The Top Benefits Provided By This Solution Are:
Multi-channel Aggregation and Distribution
Centralized management of own as well as third-party inventory
Extensive markup and revenue management for b2b channels
Complete co-branding for all your distributors (b2b2c)
Multi-level hierarchy (your distributors can also create members under them and so forth)
Support for local currencies and languages
Incorporation into existing systems to protect investments
Chosen Display of Inventory (according to region, supplier, channel, etc)
Increased Efficiency And Productivity through automation
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Tripfro gives you the highest quality travel technology solution to power your brand.