Technology is changing the way business is conducted all over the globe. Companies are constantly seeking ways to do it better, faster and at reduced costs. So, what helps drive those factors?
In the world of travel agencies, efficiency is key, but there is one very important factor to driving efficiency: automation. Travel agency technology can help you automate, but you may not be sure where to start, if it’s cost-effective or if it will help your business in the long-run.
Here are few helpful tips to get started with efficient travel management.
First, you need to know what can be automated within travel management operations, and then you can explore how to automate travel transactions and other key areas.
We compiled a list of the top 10 activities that are most conducive for automation:
- Ticket issuance activities
- Schedule change handling
- Electronic traveler communication (e.g. e-mail, SMS, etc)
- Unused e-ticket tracking & reporting
- Data collection for reporting
- Service fee collection
- File-finishing activities
- Air commission contract management
- Value-added activities, such as seat services
- Reservation accuracy
Then, start a process for automated travel management.
- Identify opportunities.
- Document the process flow.
- Write down your top troublesome processes.
- List your manual processes, especially those that are more frequent in nature.
- Conduct time and motion studies. Determine the cost for each manual process by leveraging your financial statements (e.g. labor costs and agent errors) along with the time and motion studies.
- Use a simple block diagram.
- Are there missing links, redundancies or non value-added activities?
- Ask yourself, how can this be done better manually or through automation?
- Determine the ROI for implementing automation, by comparing the cost of the automation versus the cost of the manual process.
- Build an Excel calculator.
- Use one of your more arduous travel management tasks as an example.
Finally, implement change.
Whether you use travel agency technology to automate and make your business more efficient or you start slowly by making simple changes to your manual processes, you have taken the first step to improvement. No matter the size of your agency - knowing what changes can be made (and the difference in cost) is the first step towards efficiency in travel management.
For more tips on agency automation and options, visit Concur (TRX & GDSX) booth #21 at the GBTA EU conference this week; or reach out us, and we’d be happy to help.