For Tour Operators, it always comes down to cost; but investing in tools that will improve productivity, manage workflow, reduce errors and give your travellers a professional look and feel are an absolute must, writes Linday de Heer.
Embrace the tourism technology movement and become part of this exciting space that allows for a competitive advantage when managing your bookings.
Here are some tips to bear in mind when looking at the costs associated with the implementation of software in your organisation.
Be ready to make an investment in your organisation that will bring about process change throughout your company; you cannot put a price tag on a well-run business.
02 Research & Development
Find out whether the product will continue to be developed and grow or stagnate and soon become out-dated. This is a long-term investment and you need to secure a relationship with an organisation that is going to be keeping abreast with industry trends.
Will your current technology infrastructure work with your software of choice? Check what upgrades and purchases need to be made in order for the product to work on your current network.
Does the software provider offer support and personal contact? Having someone to talk to when you are experiencing difficulties is vital. You should be aware of what the end-user will be experiencing on a day to day basis and take care of your consultant experiences.
Will you be given thorough training? No system can be fully utilized without training, and it is important that your provider has training facilities available to the users that also allows for updates and refresher training once the product is being utilized.
If your company’s needs change, are you able to increase or decrease your package with your software provider? Look for a product that offers some flexibility and competitive pricing when it comes to your future growth.
What currency is the product being sold in, and would you prefer to support a locally produced package? Supporting a South African organisation should be a preference, as well as considering the hideous exchange rate when looking beyond our borders.
Do you have the support of your staff in the move to this technology? Ensure that your staff are on-board and understand the benefits that the software will bring to your organisation. Without their support the implementation process can be unsuccessful.
Choose a company with a proven track record and ask for references. There is no better way to confirm your decision to move with a software provider than to ask current users for their feedback.
Look at the day to day benefits of the product, including turn around-time from query to quote and how the booking process is managed. This coupled with the reduced risk of errors and professional branding will ensure that the return on your investment is a generous one.
This series of articles was aimed at demonstrating why software is a far more sustainable way of managing your tour operating business. Manual systems are no longer effective or competitive and the hope is that some of your doubts or concerns may have been addressed.
Not all organisations can fund their own software development to produce a bespoke product, but there are plenty of products out there that have been tried and tested and have proved to be hugely beneficial in the companies that they serve. You don’t need to be a huge organisation to take advantage of these software packages; from 1 user to 50+ users the benefits far outweigh traditional manual methods.
If you have specific questions relating to this article email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call +27 21 683 6006.
About the author: Lindsay de Heer is the Managing Director of Equilogic (Pty) Ltd – a South African software company that specialises in Tour Operator management automation. For more information visit www.travelogic.co.za
Online at ‘10 Tips on Quoting & Booking Processes‘ (page 15 September edition); ‘10 Tips for Embracing Change‘ (page 17 August edition); ‘How to keep itineraries current‘ (pages 11 to 13 March edition); and ‘How to streamline your Tour Operator business‘ (page 14 May edition).