Industry Focus: Search and Booking
For all graduates or job seekers interested in the travel industry, here are some interesting job ideas to explore. With recent advancements in the travel business, search and booking departments are in need of innovative and technology-oriented young people to contribute. If you’re a good SEO writer interested in marketing, or if technology development is your field of interest, you may just be the right person for this industry.
How is the Travel Industry Changing?
IT innovations have influenced many changes in the travel industry. In this field, the perfect blend of people and technology can provide a personalized and integrated experience for the traveler.
The last 15 years have seen a significant shift towards online search and booking. The increased use of online travel booking has emerged from the development of travel websites that enable bookings of flights, hotels, and car rentals.
Allowing easy access to trip organization has proved a success. Internet booking engine websites search multiple independent travel sites and booking engines, circumnavigating the tiring process of making travel arrangements, in just a few clicks. An internet booking engine enables customers to specify their travel requirements such as the city of departure, destination, departure date, return date and class of travel.
How Does the Internet Change Holiday Booking?
Technology makes it easier for a customer to review all their travel options in one place, rather than going from one travel agent to another. Advanced destination selection and content customization tools can attract and inspire consumers earlier in the travel planning process. This is the key to gaining a competitive edge in the travel services field.
Many travel agencies communicate with their clients via their websites, since they are aware that most people nowadays turn to the internet for information and purchases. In this way, some travel organizations cut costs by maintaining an online presence, and doing business via the internet, rather than having a physical office space.
However, travel suppliers that have implemented booking tools, widgets or full-fledged booking engines within Facebook have reported mixed results, naming a range of challenges. It appears that travelers do not want to use social networks to purchase travel deals, as they would when using search or travel sites. Although Facebook is a common place for sharing travel photos and stories, it seems that making purchases is a different matter.
Advantages of Online Booking Tools
Purchasing travel online is safe when using a verified website, since all data on payments made before and during a trip will be integrated, acting as a digital memory of expenditure and activity for individuals, groups and travel industry operators.
Online Booking Tools (OBT) also enable companies to make their business travel arrangements from the convenience of their computers. OBTs for business travel were designed to display all available travel options that meet a company’s travel search criteria. In addition, they are configured specifically to reflect the company’s travel policy. Another benefit is that online booking tools are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Search and Booking Technology
There are certain tech startups that will be shaping the world of online bookings in the years to come, and providing new ideas for travel booking app development.
- Mobile technology
Last-minute travel is a growing trend, especially among Millennials who plan trips spontaneously. It is no wonder that these bookings are made via mobile devices. Taking into consideration that last-minute travelers expect to find a good deal, online travel agencies offer lower rates to last-minute bookings, specifically aimed at mobile users. When developing an on-demand hotel booking app, user behavior should be studied and companies should track how far in advance their average user books trips. Information gathered from these results would help to modify the app’s workings.
- Predictive analytics
Technology is designed to ease people’s lives. One way to realize that in the travel industry is to make trips affordable for a wider range of people. Modern technology enables people to save money on travel without needing an agent. Predictive analytics is the key to this process. For example, when it comes to searching and booking a flight, by analyzing flight itineraries and prices daily, algorithms can predict when airfares are cheapest and offer guidance to travelers.
- Virtual travel agents
One of the biggest disadvantages of online travel agencies is poor customer service. Virtual agents can make travel apps personalized, and authentic. One of the examples on the market is Google Trips. It represents a threat to large online companies like Priceline and Expedia. Besides booking flights and accommodation, Google Trips provides users with personalized guides that can be accessed even in offline mode. Google Trips puts together guides by gathering information from people’s Gmail and Inbox.
- Conversational interfaces
Great customer service through the mobile app can also be delivered by implementing a conversational interface with a bot that can provide instant, automated support. There are many ways that bots can be implemented. Hipmunk, for example, has its “Hello Hipmunk” personal agent that, depending on the channel, addresses different types of requests.
- Virtual reality tours
What could be better when searching and choosing the right destination, than an opportunity to live it. Even though virtual reality is a relatively new field for app developers, it has great potential for the future. Providing travelers with an opportunity to explore destinations in virtual reality might generate more revenue for booking companies; people may be more likely to book a flight or room after experiencing what it feels like to be at a destination.
Search and Booking Companies
Many online travel agencies have found their place in the travel industry because of their innovations and efforts to improve and provide the best service for their customers.
Decolar is an online travel agency that provides complete travel services, including tickets, tour packages, accommodation, and car rental. By always questioning customers’ wishes and needs their business has shown a continuous growth. Since 1999, more than 2,000,000 people have used this platform to purchase flights.
Hotel Urbano is a Brazilian online travel agency that offers the largest number of lodging options on the internet, with bookings of more than 9 million days since their launch. Hotel Urbano is valued at 2 billion reais, which is approximately 500 million dollars. The company offers national and international packages, weekend trips, historic tourism, and Disney packages. Their easy to use website enables efficient and detailed searches for the customer’s perfect holiday.
BookIt is a privately held online travel agency, headquartered in Panama City Beach, Florida. It allows users to search, plan and book all travel aspects such as hotels, cruises, flights, activities, car rentals, and vacation packages. It operates in more than 100 destinations worldwide. BookIt has evolved its travel technology to offer its services throughout the United States, Caribbean, Mexico, Central America, Canada, Europe, Asia, and the Pacific. In April 2008, BookIt started using FROM Technology (Fast-Relevant-Origin-Method), a patent-pending pricing methodology with a search feature that generates deals instantly, displays relevant prices and automatically uses the closest airport to the user’s current I.P. address to find deals.
ZOZI designs and develops web-based bookings, payments, and customer management software for tour, activity, and event businesses. It is the leading software provider and marketplace for the $125 billion tour and activity industry. ZOZI Advance is the fastest growing online reservation, payment and customer management software. It is used by thousands of tour and activity businesses across nearly 90 countries. Having the potential for further development and growth, ZOZI has received over $45M of funding from some of the most experienced and successful investors in travel and technology.
Jop Opportunities in the Search and Booking Industry
With regards to many successful online travel agencies, the travel industry has offered opportunities to young graduates, and people who have an open-minded attitude towards development, to find their place in this business.
There are many job opportunities in the online travel industry. Among the many new job profiles companies in the tourism and hospitality industry are looking for you will find:
- Marketing Experts
Their job description usually encompasses the creation of (digital) marketing content, monitoring, tracking and generating leads and potential for income generation. Responsibilities might also include the supervision of the online presence and often the social media channels. You should have good people skills, be creativity, be able to work independently and have a knack for strategic thinking to excel in this position.
- SEO writers
They are needed to improve the agency’s website content. Applicants should be experienced in writing content for the web and understand the fundamentals of SEO copywriting. Excellent written and verbal communication skills, attention to detail, the ability to adhere to different tones of voice when writing as well as time management skills are integrals skills for aspiring SEO writers. They mostly don’t just write content but also analyze the audience, source and edit imagery and conduct keyword research.
- Web designers and developers
As many of these companies do not have a physical presence a user-friendly and appealing website is crucial. Web designers and developers conceptualize original website design ideas, create wireframes, user flows and site maps. You should be comfortable to present your ideas to executive level stakeholders and have a knack for solving problems creatively and effectively. Applicants mostly need to present a graphic or digital design portfolio, have good skills with HTML / CSS, be with Photoshop, Illustrator or other visual design and wire-framing tools. Understanding the fundamentals of SEO and being up-to-date with the latest trend round off a candidate’s profile.
- Graphic designers
They often work in conjunction with the Marketing and Communications team to develop and implement communication and outreach efforts. You will most likely design digital media, Managing, prioritizing, and executing projects from concept to completion. Design experience and a portfolio are key to finding your dream job. You will need strong knowledge of visual design, knowledge of layout, color and typography, combined with web design skills and software knowledge. If you are also organized and detail-oriented, have great communication skills and are able to verbalize ideas and concepts, you are the right person for this job.
With successful companies dominating the market and many new advanced companies paving their way to success, the job options in travel tech industry will continue to emerge.
The Changing Landscape of Search and Booking
What’s certain is that customers’ expectations and needs have evolved, so travel agencies must adapt if they are to keep going. With new generations developing and improving the existing market, there are no limits when it comes to new technology, and this will change the way the travel industry functions.
Some startups have already made a big difference in this field of business. However, developers do not plan to stop here. Being able to search and book an entire trip online will have a substantial impact on the growth of travel demands.
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If you liked this article and want more insights on the impact of technology on the travel industry, see our introduction to Customized Holiday Packaging.