Many people all over the world love to travel. In 2011, international tourist arrivals recorded a growth of more than four percent or 982 million. The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) is also forecasting a growth between three and four percent for international tourist arrivals this 2012.
This significant growth in tourism has led major players to upgrade their technology in order to get a significant share of the market. And with more travelers opting to do their bookings and payments online these days, it is a must for companies in the travel and tourism sector to improve the tools they use to ensure faster processing of transactions.
There’s no denying that companies in the travel industry today have already automated many of its daily functions. An important tool being used now is the point of sale (POS) technology integrated with the global distribution system (GDS). This is a priority by travel management companies (TMCs) and vital for travel agents to ensure productivity and correct transactions.
In recent years, companies were seen focusing on striking a balance between standardizing and customizing their systems. The standard procedure was maintaining the GDS passenger name record (PNR) covering all required fields in the travel reservation process regardless of geographical location by controlling the point of sale. The customization was implemented in booking flows depending on the needs of different corporations or regions.
Moving forward, travel companies need to invest in the integration of their web content and POS software particularly in terms of ongoing maintenance and support. A priority should be the provision of a clear cut travel policy which should also be updated when the situation calls for it such as during an economic crisis.
In addition, the point of sale interface must contain the necessary information of the trip. Other services and data that need to be integrated are trip notification and schedule changes, travel advisories, itinerary aggregation and tracking of unused tickets among others.
As point of sale software advances, research has shown several areas where travel management companies should focus on. These are on adapting a hybrid reservation system, consistency in passenger name record, corporate compliance and delivery of excellent customer service. Regardless whether the point of sale was internally developed or provided by a third party, what counts is that it is able to ensure a steady workflow for the agent to achieve increased productivity and gain more satisfied customers.
Sam is a freelance writer who contributes articles covering the tourism and travel industry as well as the tools and technology used in online reservations today. He loves to travel to different countries if time permits. Sam recommends the POS software for travel operators.