While mobile itinerary management may be the future for business travel, electronic travel documents are still the firm favourite today.
Although these important documents are an after-thought to some, they are critical part of the travel experience for business travellers. Effective travel documents are a big plus for travel buyers too, reducing the number of complaints they receive from travellers when things go wrong.
Travellers and travel buyers struggle with three main problems when handling electronic itinerary documents:
- Inconsistent formatting
- Inconsistent delivery
- Inconsistent/incomplete information
Here are steps you can take now to improve your itinerary documents on each of these three key issues and ensure client and traveller satisfaction.
GDS created itineraries are a start, but far from ideal. With each being formatted differently, multi-GDS TMCs risk confusing clients. Meanwhile, banner adverts on free versions dilute and distract from the brand of all TMCs that use them.
Not to mention the missed opportunity that is failing to create bespoke itineraries customised both to your brand and your customers’ individual needs.
Resolve these issues and more by creating your own, consistent templates for travel itineraries and making sure all consultants know how to access and use them. Your clients will benefit from the consistent presentation of information, in your format or theirs, and you brand will always have pride of place.
Receive an email, visit a URL, download an app? Efforts to innovate in inventory management have led to disparate ways for buyers and travellers to interact with these crucial documents. For the majority of travellers, the thing they have the most ready and reliable access to while they travel is their email inbox. Standardising, first on the design, then on the method of distribution will ensure your travellers know where to look for their travel itineraries and what to expect every time, even when in a hurry.
Business travel itineraries are becoming increasingly complex, consisting of a growing range of segments from a growing number of sources. Many of these fall outside the purview of the GDS and their automatically generated itineraries. Going to the extra effort to integrate these new sources with your itinerary will make life significantly easier for your client and, in addition, helps them achieve their duty of care objectives. Review your itinerary systems now to find ways to include:
- Budget airline flights
- Ancillary services
- External hotel content, i.e. Expedia Affiliate Network
- Taxi and limo bookings
- Emergency contact details
- Secure flight notifications
Implementing these changes
Resolving your clients’ frustrations with the format, delivery and content of your itineraries will go a long way toward strengthening your relationship and helping you become invaluable to them. It will also help you protect your account from competitive undercutting that may be driven by the economic changes going on in the market currently.
All the changes suggested above are possible with a little elbow grease, i.e. you can implement them manually. It’s also possible to put in place GDS system integrations and automations that make all of the above happen without the need for human intervention. If you are considering doing the latter, talk to us for ideas how you can improve other processes and drive greater ROI at the same time.