Choices in Travel Agency POS Technology
With millions of people traveling all over the world, from Bangkok to Bombay, London to Lisbon, and Sydney to Sarajevo, travel agencies must maintain efficient point of sale (POS) systems to stay ahead of the competition. This ensures fewer errors in every transaction, from reservations to bookings to payments, and all the minutiae in between!
Fortunately, travel management companies (TMC) are keeping abreast with the latest POS technology. Today, they have a choice between developing their own point of sale using internal resources and utilizing third party solutions.
A travel company that wishes to develop its own point of sale software internally needs to have the right IT staff or team competent in software development. The IT staff should not only be knowledgeable about creating the software but also maintaining it moving forward and providing support.
The cost is another consideration. This not only covers your IT staff but the cost for deployment, support and maintenance.
Integrating the POS into the global distribution system (GDS) is also a key factor. Since most GDSs get upgraded constantly, an internally developed application must also keep up with the changes. When not closely monitored, it may result in crashes and inaccurate information.
Another area that needs to be taken into account is the task of extracting web content. Tools used for this purpose normally involves screen scraping which can break down and cause errors.
Third Party Solutions
Third party apps are not free from issues. For one, the need to release a software update by a travel company may affect booking flows and cause service issues.
Ongoing maintenance and support may not be provided by the third party organization. What often happens is that they turn over the first level support to the company’s IT staff.
TMCs that want to utilize a third party application should also consider the total cost of ownership. Licensing fees and cost of maintenance and support must be taken into account.
Considering these issues for both the internally developed and third party POS software, it is vital for a travel management company to make sure that their POS technology is fully integrated with their core GDS system. TMCs are also encouraged to hire experts in specific areas of their operation instead of just getting software developers who may not be very familiar with how a travel agency works.
About the guest author:
Mike is a former travel agent who has worked in the travel sector for 10 years. He now writes on a freelance basis and shares the latest trends in the industry including the point of sale software.