Whether you are newly registered with your Register of Operators (Atout France for travel operators in France for example) or you wish to improve the management of your events, stays, trips, tours, the travel software is today the ideal partner for any professional.
Are you looking for the best travel software for your agency?
Depending on the activities you offer, some travel software will be more or less adapted to your agency.
In order to help you in the choice of your travel software, Ezus details the different functionalities as well as the checks before selecting its travel software.
1. What is travel software?
A travel software is a computer program that allows you as a professional to better manage your activity as a tourist agency, whether it is to build tailor-made stays or trips.
A travel software concerns travel agencies, incoming agencies and tour operators or even event agencies for packaged services: Travel / weekend incentive, company seminars, etc...
Tourism is also concerned by digital technology via solutions called #TravelTech or #EventTech. In order to remain innovative and competitive on the market, it is important to facilitate your activity thanks to a complete and practical software.
2. The different functionalities of tourism software.
Since the 2000s, there have been specific software packages for travel and tourism operators. Many functionalities are common and make the daily life of travel professionals easier.
What are the functionalities integrated in the best travel software?
The management of your catalogue of products & tourist packages.
A travel or event agency sells a product containing activities, catering, accommodation, transport, staff, venues etc...
A good tourism software will allow you to assemble your products correctly in order to package the right offer for your target group.
The Dynamic Packaging has had its time and its technologies such as the software created at the beginning of 2000 especially dedicated to Tour Operators with, for example, Orchestra.
Dynamic packaging is dead! Long live Open Packaging!
Tips and advice:
- Favour tourism software that will allow you to modulate the classification and creation of your packages.
- Preserve your tailor-made know-how by keeping your personalisation from your catalogue but also in the presentation of your products on a project.
- Beware of travel software that still works with "product block" systems highlighted in a quote.
The integrated CRM for your Business Relationship.
CRM (Customer Relationship Management) is above all a sales and customer loyalty tool for your customers.
A plethora of CRM-specific software packages exist on the market: Salesforce, Active Campaign or Hubspot are the references in this market.
A CRM specific to Tourism must contain fields according to the interests of your prospects: for example, birthday, centres of interest, age, etc.
Thanks to a tool for managing your Sales Relationship, you will be able to develop your business better.
Tips and advice:
- Check that your Sales section can connect to your Productions section to avoid double entries or errors.
- Set up statistics, objectives or other statistics on your dashboard. Make a distinction between your actual turnover and the forecast.
- A more efficient way to manage your marketing campaigns from your CRM.
🚨 Be careful to control the admission rights of your employees on your Customer files so that they do not export any of their files.
Automatic generation of your Travel Documents.
Of course, travel software must be able to edit your Travel Documents in a personalised manner. That is to say, according to design templates to highlight your know-how, but also to be able to modify these documents directly to specify each element.
The different documents you can generate on a travel software are:
- Brief (optional) summarising the essential elements of the client's request (destination, type of event or trip, number of people, budget, interest, transport etc). The brief can evolve in its qualification and serves as a basis for your Commercial Proposal. It can be sent to your suppliers at the production, booking and logistics stage of the project.
- Commercial Proposal presenting the progress of your programme in order to convince your client to buy. This document can contain pages presenting your team, a summary summary, a budget section etc... It is the first and most important document that you send following a request to validate the project.
- Budget can be sent separately often in pdf format to make a summary estimate of the project amount. It can also be sent in a proposal, especially if a total budget is sufficient. The estimate will give a detailed description of the products sold.
- Quotation is your legal offer including your products and their prices that you propose to your client. It is often sent following a validation of the commercial proposal (sometimes at the same time). In some cases, it is not necessary or can even replace the proposal. The sending and the role of the quotation document in the sale differs if your agency sells on high baskets, if the tourist package concerns a group and according to the type of trip proposed.
- Commercial contracts can also be sent to remind you of the conditions of travel insurance, cancellation/refund guarantee or other clauses specific to your activity. The quotation is often a commercial commitment but a contract can also be sent depending on your sales cycle.sommaire is a summary of the programme which will be communicated to the validated suppliers but also to the customer.
- The summary can be included in your proposal or in your travel diary.
- The Roadbook or roadmap is the organiser's daily schedule of the programme. It contains all the practical information needed to ensure that the trip runs smoothly. It is sometimes possible for the client to consult his Travel Notebook on his mobile phone.
- Supplier List is a logistical document for the organiser, the receptionist or the person in charge in the field so that all the contact details and information concerning the programme suppliers are at hand.
- Vouchers are used to obtain the tourist service. This service can be paid in advance or not, such as a hotel reservation, an airport transfer or a car rental.
- Invoices for your client. This can be several types of invoices such as deposit, credit note, regularisation or closing invoices.
Tips and advice:
- Make sure that your documents can be personalised.
Tailor-made creation of Programmes/Circuits/Events.
This is the heart of your job as an organiser: knowing how to create a programme that corresponds to your client's needs. The creation of your tourism products is done either upstream for your "standard programmes" or according to project requests. For an organiser who personalises his programme for each request, it is important to have an efficient tool.
No more loose sheets or creating programmes on a Word, Excel or Powerpoint, there are many digital tools to help you plan your trips.
For example: Ezus allows you to design journeys day by day and link them to your catalogue for your presentations or prices. Other tools such as X allow you to create itineraries on interactive maps.
Tips and advice:
- Adopt the software solution that suits your type of travel (roadtrips, tours, trips to a destination, events, etc.).
The calculation of your margins and your budget.
For a tailor-made agency, the most time-consuming thing is often to apply the right rates to the right services.All the more so as your suppliers may already offer you preferential rates or your margin may change according to demand.
Some software, such as Ezus, allows you to do interactive budgeting, i.e. to apply customised rates to each of your products. Whether your prices are pre-recorded in your catalogue or automatically retrieved in real time via a GDS, you will need to be able to modify them in order to calculate your margins correctly.
Other budget fields can be added such as fees, extras, general discounts, etc. Thanks to this functionality your agents no longer need to be experts in Excel formulas.
Tips and advice:
- Adopt software that allows you to save default rates.
- Don't take a rigid system where the prices of your suppliers are imposed on you. You need to be able to change the rates and apply your calculations.
- Make sure that certain required fields are present: VAT regimes, commissions, net/gross margins.
The management of your projects, your tasks, your follow-up.
These functionalities are specific to the job of project manager or sales representative. They allow you to follow the progress of your requests in order to better translate them into files.
In addition, they are also monitoring tools that allow you to move forward efficiently with your team. As a branch manager, it is also possible to see how each project is progressing.
A good management software will be able to record the account activities in real time. A good management software will be able to record the account activities in real time and in the best case, you will also be able to synchronize your emails.
Tips and advice:
- Don't go into complex software or even Gant diagrams... A system of tasks per manager with deadlines is already sufficient.
- Ideally, you should receive notification emails in case of non-completion or news on your project sheets.
Invoicing specific to Tourism.
Invoicing is a central issue for tourism agencies, especially travel operators or event agencies. Indeed, several VAT regimes exist: common law, non-taxable VAT, profit margin scheme.
More info at How to manage the VAT of a travel and/or event agency?
Tips and advice:
- Make sure that your tool edits both provisional (or proforma) and final invoices. These are the provisional invoices that you can modify for your client before final invoicing.
- Distinguish between your Sales section with commercial documents (proposals & quotes) and your Production section where invoicing and logistics are involved.
🚨 Beware of certain software claiming to do invoicing. Your generated invoices must contain the required information and cannot be modified (creation of a credit note invoice in exchange).
The logistics management of your suppliers.
Your travel software must be able to retrieve the list of suppliers concerned in your programme. Once your event has been validated with your customer, you need to validate the options set on your suppliers.
Some functionalities exist to automate the sending of reservations and to check the availability of your suppliers.
The objective of a logistics management software is to automate your reservations and to allow you to quickly check the availability of each of your suppliers.
Tips and advice:
- Validate the fact that you can manage your suppliers with at least the management of disbursements, invoices and reservations directly in your travel software.
- Automate the sending of emails to your suppliers in order to involve them in your quote request.
- Make sure that you can export your information from the suppliers concerned.
An area for the end customer with online payment and signature
In order to optimise your rate of transformation of your event or travel quotes, it is imperative to facilitate the exchange with your client. To do this, some travel software allows you to find the commercial documents online.
A customer area is your digital window on your tourist packages.
Tips and advice:
- Have the possibility to download your documents and retrieve them in Powerpoint/Excel or PDF.
- Also have a look at the possible exchanges on this platform.
3. How to choose the right travel software for your business?
You already know a little more about the functionalities of a tailor-made travel or holiday software.
Is this the first time you are implementing a software in your agency? Don't forget the general criteria to add to your search!
The B.A.-BA to choose your Travel Software :
To conclude this article, we also recommend some essential selection criteria:
- The personalisation of your parameters (each agency is unique, each project manager carries out tailor-made projects);
- The security of your data (a travel software will keep your supplier and customer data. Storage must be secure and encrypted to guarantee protection and confidentiality);
- Availability in the Cloud (what is called "online travel software", which is not installed on your computers but accessible remotely, in multi-support);
- Scalability (your new software must be able to evolve and be updated);
- Support (consider a software with human resources at hand! Check online documentation such as guides, help centres or tutorials);
- Getting started (whether it's about configuration, training to use the software, try to validate that support will be included to help you).
It is now up to you to select the software that also corresponds to your personal criteria.
Because an instrument is nothing but an instrument: a violin without a musician does not make music 🎻 .
This article was written by Ezus using feedback from over 400 agencies on their choice of travel software.