Whilst the travel and tourism industry are on a slow road to recovery following the events of last year, we are all coming to terms with the new ‘normal’ and reacting to the new way people are now making decisions about where and how they travel.
Organisations are being forced to recognise the value of customer experience and the need to adapt and embrace digital solutions to meet these new demands.
Digitalisation provides a priceless dual opportunity. Increased deployment of digital solutions can reduce costs thanks to enhanced operational efficiencies and new customers can be reached to grow much-needed revenue. Indeed, three years’ worth of digital transformation happened in just 3 months during the 2020’s initial lockdown and organisations need to follow suit and meet the new ‘digital-first’ customer’s unmet needs but also their unknown needs. Offering more than the core service boosts ancillary revenues and by taking full advantage of digitalisation organisations can become leaner, more agile and efficient.
Sales and ticketing platforms are the backbone of revenue generation and some legacy systems make a business less efficient - overstaffing, laborious manual processes, ad hoc work-arounds and barriers to selling across a variety of ticket sales channels. However, it is these barriers that must be addressed to remain viable and in addition to organisations own upsell & cross-sell abilities, it is the adoption of these new sales channels that is driving one of the biggest opportunities in response to the new ‘normal’.
The API sales channel has exploded in the last 18 months. Consumers are transacting more online than ever before and API connectivity is exposing more product via more suppliers providing the end user with more choice. Customers of Online Travel Agents (OTAs), providing inventory to consumers via APIs are seen as increasingly important to the recovery of the global travel industry.
According to a recent Expedia Group research, half of UK travelers indicate they will book via an OTA for their first trip after the COVID-19 pandemic ends, representing an increase in preference compared to pre-pandemic booking behaviors. When thinking about future travel, flexibility and financial peace of mind, along with enhanced hygiene measures, are vital for UK travelers. An easy refund process (51%) is the leading decision-making factor when it comes to future travel.
Domestic OTA travelers are 56% more likely to visit a historic site, 52% more likely to go to a cultural venue and international OTA travelers are 22% more likely to visit historic sites than direct bookers.
The main motivation driving preference for OTAs compared to direct booking channels among domestic and international travelers to the UK are that travelers prefer to book via OTAs to shop for multiple products (27%).
Due to the reduced time and cost involved in connecting via API, organisations are able to distribute their products and experiences to a much broader audience, whilst at the same time extending their offering by incorporating third party products and experiences on their own websites.
Where sales volumes of organisations have potentially been too low to justify the time to process and manage, now with low cost API, these channels can be connected and automated so the bookings can flow with minimal effort and take advantage of smaller local OTAs as well as the larger players.
Selling tickets will be an integral part of any tourism business, however, there are a plethora of other digital tools required by organisations to operate efficiently and crudely speaking there are roughly two approaches an organisation can take. Consolidation or integration.
Consolidation is the attempt to find one solution that deals with various areas of the business. Addressing ticketing, retail operations, accounting, CRM or even your HR system. The benefit of this approach is that it can be easy to set up, however, this may result in a mile wide and inch deep functionality across the board. Meaning that you can well end up having a software dictating how to run your business.
An integrated approach is where best in class solutions that truly meet the different needs of your business “talk” to each other via API integrations. It requires the upfront investment of creating the necessary middleware to deliver those integrations but this approach will pay dividends down the line.
Our agile, online ticketing solution, Ticknovate streamlines the customer booking experience, from booking to check-in and reconciliation and API connectivity helps deliver all with this whilst exposing products and services to more than 40,000 OTAs. Integrations with payment gateways means refunds can be automatically handled without any additional burden on internal departments. Whether your organisation is large or small, Ticknovate is an affordable, innovative solution that will increase revenue contributions, improve efficiencies and expand with your business, largely with the help of API connectivity.