Dynamic Packaging for Travel and Hospitality Industry

Posted on November 29, 2016 in Uncategorized

The concept of Dynamic Packaging is to bundle all the components chosen by the aspiring traveler and create one reservation. Regardless of where the inventory originates, the package that is created is handled seamlessly as one transaction, and requires only one payment from the consumer.

To a traveler, there is nothing better than a one stop shop for his traveling needs. The Dynamic Packaging Engine uses a travel component inventory and prices. Regardless of where the inventory originates, the package that is created is handled seamlessly as one transaction, and requires only one payment from the consumer. It automatically applies rules defined by the suppliers and the travel marketer to build and price travel packages. This package configuration process determines which components are used, what combinations of components are allowed or required, and handles inclusions such as taxes, fees or additional package features. Rules also determine how the final retail price is computed.

CAPABILITIES

A typical dynamic packaging application will need the following capabilities:

1. Search and Availability

2. Memberships

3. Shopping Cart

4. Booking and Reservations

5. Payments

6. Cancellations

SEARCH AND AVAILABILITY

A traveler always seeks a destination. Even though he may well be aware of where he needs to go to, he will search for the most appropriate place to stay and enjoy his visit. The search starts with a Transportation and Travel components, Hotel Property, Leisure Components. The search therefore has to be divided geographically to include destinations and neighboring destinations that meet the search criteria. An example search could be travel to New York City, stay at Stamford, Connecticut, Golf at upstate New York. Clearly the Dynamic Packaging engine needs to know the dates of travel, from and to destinations, closest airport to hotel, rental car or other desired ground transportation from selected airport to hotel and access to tee times at the neighboring golf courses. Like the traveler, businesses also seek travel related information.

Travel Agents, Call Centers, and Meeting Planners need packaged information on behalf of their clients. Such a search is riddled with rules and complexity. Besides, the customer needs to have choices that can vary from comfort to price and everything else in between.

1. Proximity: The search uses parameters that can narrow down possibilities yet offer extended possibilities. In our search example, Westchester Airport would have been the best choice. La Guardia airport would be an ideal choice. JFK and Newark and Teterboro are the next choices from a distance to Hotel point of view.

2. Fare and Rates: The traveler will look for the best fare. In our example though Westchester is close to the hotel, offers limited Airlines and perhaps not the best fares. Some fares maybe very attractive, however when it comes to flexibility and cancellation they are not the best. Flexibility of change, penalties associated with change and cancellation are important factors to include in the search results.

3. Travel Times: That’s another important factor for the business traveler. How many flights are there to the airport and at what intervals. Check in times and total time to travel also helps in determining his choice. Therefore non-connecting and connecting flights with layover times need to figure in the search.

4. Accessibility: Another key factor often not paid attention to is accessibility. Physically impaired travelers, people who need meals on a flight, wheelchair access, and quick access to rental cars or trains or ground transportation play a very important role in travel. Do the hotel(s) have wheelchair access? Is it possible to get ground transportation to destined hotel that has wheelchair access?

5. Amenities: Does the hotel offer standard amenities like restaurants, swimming pool, health parlors, spa, fax and printing, broadband Internet access etc? Similarly does the rental car come with GPS, insurance, inter state travel? Does the Golf Course allow only cart access? Are ski rentals available near the resort? The inclusion of amenities in a search result ensures the traveler is not in for surprises at the first lap of travel.

6. Prepackaged: You want to travel, stay in a semi luxury hotel, play golf, why search for each individually. A prepackaged deal would also be more attractive than customizing the travel. Perhaps cheaper.

Travel should be far from being hostile. It is after all a home away from home. A home is a pivotal source for living and entertainment. One uses the home and its peripheral surroundings to make the best of living. The travel destinations and the mode of travel should be as non hostile and as hospitable as is possible. A dynamic packaging should offer a wealth of choices to the traveler yet not inundate the traveler with so much information that he/she is nervous wreck at the end of an itinerary creation.

ACTORS

From the above description one can determine who the obvious actors are in this case.

1. The Traveler

2. GDS (Airlines and Hotels Rate Distribution)

3. Airlines

4. Car Rental Companies

5. Hotel Central Reservation

6. Tour Operators (Buses, Ground Transportation)

7. Proprietary Aggregators (like Golf, Ski etc.)

MORE ACTORS

The Dynamic Packaging should be capable of extending the services for business-to business operations. Which would imply that our actors now are?

8. Travel Agents and Meeting Planners

9. Call Center Agents.

SHOPPING CART

The key item in dynamic packaging is the Shopping Cart. The results of search can be selected and added as line items in the shopping cart. It bundles all the components chosen by the traveler to create one reservation. This shopping cart based vacation builder allows comparison shopping of packages that can include plane tickets, hotel rooms, rental cars, insurance, attraction tickets and other features. Regardless of where the inventory originates, the package that is created is handled seamlessly as one transaction, and requires only one payment from the consumer. It automatically applies rules defined by the suppliers and the travel marketer to build and price travel packages. This package configuration process determines which components are used, what combinations of components are allowed or required, and handles inclusions such as taxes, fees or additional package features.

Scaling New Altitudes Through Hotel SEO and Hotel SMO

Posted on November 21, 2016 in Uncategorized

One of the first industries to be impacted by the internet, the travel and hospitality industry today leads the path to social media marketing. In today’s times, when anything and everything finds a foothold on the internet, it becomes but imperative that your hotel gets an enhanced visibility through the internet. Advertising one’s hotel brand can be equally necessary and especially with the revolutionizing of the online marketing industry, the competition of roping in as many clients as possible has got even more intense.

Social media is all about getting people involved and engaged in your activities. It lets you build, connect, communicate and interact with your current and prospective customer base. Aiding in etching lasting relationships with customers, social media provides an open platform where you listen to, interact and converse with people who have something to say about you.

Technological developments today have also changed the manner in which a traveler makes decisions regarding hotel patronage and bookings. Social media interactions, guest reviews, opinions, and experiences are trusted more over just hotel promotions and advertisements and are closely monitored by potential customers. As mobile devices have become the norm for communication and obtaining information, today’s traveler wants quick access to relevant information and seeks to connect with a hotel representative in real time. A survey states that as many as 33% people are traveling to various destinations across the globe and travel planning is a part of the social interaction they have on Facebook!

With growing competition and an escalating travel demand, the significance of hotel SEO to drive in potential customers mounts tremendously. The right hotel SEO helps in getting and staying connected to customers, leading to business growth. Integrating booking engine links on the website, defined content and impressive visuals all form a part of hotel SEO. Often, tourists avail travel deals and packages based on appealing visuals and informative and eye-catching content. The content must incorporate relevant keywords that place your brand on the search engine’s first page. Hence, hotel SEO gives a kick start to the campaign and lets your website gain maximum hits.

Along with SEO, social networking also helps to drive potential traffic to the website. In today’s date and time, the initials clearly are SMO – Social Media Optimization. This involves efforts to create exciting, interesting and engaging marketing campaigns. In other words, a website must strive to develop content that not only informs but also entertains and engages in order for it to be picked up by blogs, get re-tweeted, commented on, liked and shared and result in the formation of natural links back to the site!

Hotel SMO is helpful in building trust of tourists looking for travel accommodation. It involves creativity and investment where people are connected to your business. Variety is the spice of life; this adage holds true while executing Hotel SMO as you have an opportunity to broaden your business verticals. The brand’s Facebook page or a Twitter account can do wonders where you can announce special offers and deals, run contests and polls and ask questions in order to increase engagement and drive in more and more user traffic. It needs special mention that social posts need to be related to your business so that it helps in creating brand awareness. Sharing reviews on travel social networks like Expedia and TripAdvisor with social bookmark sites is the best method for promotion.

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Planes, Cruises And Hotels: Busting The Biggest Travel Myths

Posted on November 15, 2016 in Uncategorized

We’ve all heard myths and urban legends about Big Foot, tested illogical home remedies like using hot water to make ice cubes faster and have made conservative choices on Friday the 13th, but how many of us have missed out on a travel adventure due to the fear caused by a few travel rumors? Here are some of the biggest urban legends in travel and the facts that debunk them.

Myth 1: Americans Are The Worst Tourists

Are Americans really the world’s worst tourists?

American’s rank 9th best out of 27 nationalities, according to an annual survey of hotel managers. The truth is Americans were ranked the loudest but also the biggest tippers.

Myth 2: Once You Step Onboard Your Money Is No Good

The truth is that your soda, meals, waters in the dining hall and buffets are paid for, everything else costs including alcohol, alternative dining, internet access and more. The fact is an average cruise traveler spend 50% more than the base fare on additional amenities.

Myth 3: Rule 240 = Money Back

If your flight is delayed, the urban legend states that Rule 240 requires the airline to compensate you. This is not exactly true, the rule 240 did at one time exist. It was created by the Civil Aeronautics Board. With deregulation though, Rule 240 has been expunged.

Myth 4: Bottled Water Is Your New BFF

At least 25% of bottles water is simply tap water. So if you are weary of Montezuma’s Revenge while abroad, know that there’s a 25% chance the brand you buy will simply be local tap water anyway.

Myth 5: Your Hotel Key Card Knows More About You Than You!

This again is also not true, your hotel key card doesn’t know everything about you. This rumor was started by Detective Sergeant Kathryn Jorge of the Pasadena Police. She saw a presentation about fraud techniques indicating this as a possibility, and sent an alarming email in response. The police department had to retract the statements of DS Jorge to quell fears.

Myth 6: There’s Money In That Bible

This is another myth which people want to be true, the myth is that people believe that there is a crisp $100 tucked into their hotel Bible. But till date there are no reports of such generosity.

Possibly, all of these myths depends on the mode of your travel, like many cruise lines don’t include soda in their inclusive meal price so you need to pay for your soda every time you buy it or you might want to go for a soda card plan. Other than that I wish I found that money in the Bible or anywhere in my hotel room, but my bad luck.

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Amenities and Hotels – Back to Basics

Posted on November 9, 2016 in Uncategorized

When you’re comparing hotels, the details, whether it’s pictures on a website or offered amenities, often differentiate once business from another. The traveling public cares about the details, including the various amenities hotels offer and hotels realize this truth which extends to the turned down sheets and triangulated toilet paper. If you work in the hotel industry, you’re aware of the details and how they’re perceived because they can affect your occupancy rates. An exceptional guest services staff, dedicated housekeepers and hotel rooms outfitted with the best hotel supplies and amenities are indispensable elements of success.

The hotel supplies hotels provide guests, be they the plastic bag provided for dirty laundry or the microwave, are important. Hotels are aware that travelers have, in some cases, hundreds of hotels to choose from so the details, such as amenities, matter even more. The likelihood that guests will comment on their stay, along with the amenities and the hotel supplies that are part of it, continues to rise.

Though some fill out the comment card and leave it when they check out or pen a letter after the fact, writing a guest review is by far the most popular method consumers use to comment. And comment they do! Some people write page long rants while others praise specifics like the guest services staff or the hotel supplies.

People prefer various hotels and hotel supplies for one reason or another, price and reputation among them. Although traveling is an exciting escape for families, with hotels, amenities being the focal point, it’s a chore for many business people for whom travel and hotels are requirements. People anticipate a spotless, comfortable guest room furnished with quality hotel supplies; anything less is a disappointment. Durable hangers, complimentary toiletries, in room coffee, a working luggage rock and absorbent towels are among the many hotel supplies and amenities that people view as standard, items they expect to be in their guest room.

While a small percentage of people don’t make use of the complimentary toiletries, the vast majority of guests in hotels appreciate the sample size beauty supplies and notice if they’re sub par or missing. In fact, like complimentary toiletries, there are many hotel supplies that are basic for most hotels. Some hotel guests walk into their room then sit or lay down on the bed immediately. They are sometimes known as ‘bed testers’ and, if the bed’s comfortable, the other details are far less important. On the other hand, some people walk their rooms, turning on lights and checking for hangers, an iron and an ironing board in the closet among other hotel supplies in their room.

In a lagging economy, every customer, every detail and every dollar is important. Within the industry, hotels know that amazing amenities and helpful hotel supplies are recognized and appreciated by guests. In fact, it’s important to remember that hotel guests often have very high expectations when it comes to hotel supplies to begin with and that they can affect a hotel stay. Today, hotels must be able to demonstrate value to guests. The hotels that show their guests that they matter and that their business is appreciated earn the preference of guests and repeat business, too.

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How To Avail Flight and Hotel Packages for Cheap Tours?

Posted on November 3, 2016 in Uncategorized

Travelling by air is convenient as people get a host of opportunities during both international and domestic journeys. There has been a significant increase in the number of airlines around the world in the last two decades that has given globetrotters a wider range of options while checking international flight schedules. However, making a plan for a tour with family and friends can be quite expensive in modern days because of high conveyance charges and costly accommodation prices. These two sectors make up most of the expenses of a tour and high charges on these often desist people to take vacations. Vacations have become costlier just because of the impact of these factors. Nevertheless, few simple tactics can yield the best rates while planning out and excursion.

Plan Early

The first and arguably, one of the most important factors in determining the cost of the tour is planning efficiently. It has been found out after numerous surveys that making an outline of the tour well in advance can save thousands of bucks. It is understood that sometimes it is just not possible to chalk out an itinerary due to the suddenness of the trip. However, a pre-planned tour is always cheaper than a sudden trip just because of the fact that holidaymakers can start early. This also means that travellers can check the flight schedules and seat availability well in advance. Booking almost a month in prior to the actual journey has been found out to be cheaper by quite a margin; thus proving that an advanced planning reaps reduced trip charges.

Packages Combine the Best Options

Vacationers who are looking for the best travel prices can check websites, which are dedicated for this purpose. Such portals offer a plethora of opportunities to chalk out trips at the cheapest charges. Holidaymakers can choose from the package options, which chart out a precise itinerary to the number of attractions at a popular destination. Making reservations for flights and hotels separately can cost enormously more than booking them in a bulk. These flight and hotel packages make all arrangements regarding travel, food and accommodation during a trip and offer discounts; as a result reducing travel expenses.

Carry a Web Research Smartly

It is understood that while chalking out a trip or choosing a package, a detailed research is to be carried out on the web. It has been found out that often, travellers spend days researching on travel portals to hit upon the best itinerary. Some system protocol must be maintained to get the best rates and opting for the same. It has been suggested by frequent fliers that it is always wise to clear the history every time after a research session is conducted. Some of these websites have a way of tracking the system from where a number of surveys are being carried out at any point of time. Subsequently, the rates between the commonly searched destinations are displayed a bit higher than the actual. Clearing the history and cache negates such a chance and travellers are able to get the original rates.

These factors have a considerable impact on travelling in the modern age and the rates can be reduced by following these steps. However, all said and done, vacationers should keep in mind that a lot depends on the circumstances and chances and also some other terms as well.

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