For a moment, let’s consider the calculator. This relatively simple machine allows the user to complete complicated math problems by simply pushing a few buttons or following a fairly easy set of steps. The results, even with the most basic of today’s calculators, are computed quickly and are both incredibly detailed and enormously accurate. This allows users to engage in advanced mathematical equations with little time and resource investment - which can’t be said when attempting to solve a complex math equation manually with pen and paper.
The same principles here hold true for tour operators and the software solutions necessary to position products and services in the most efficient and cost-effective manner. In today’s global travel and tourism industry where competition is at an all-time high, tour operators need powerful computing systems to avoid manually entering and updating product pricing, inventory, and availability information. Smart, integrated strategies such as import rates allow tour operators to digitally manage this data with real-time visibility in order to provide the most up-to-date information to suppliers and customers.
Today’s travel and tourism industry is rapidly diversifying as new markets emerge and develop. Globalization and advancements in back office travel technology make it critical for variant-rich segments of the travel industry such as tour operators to move away from manually entering and managing data and adopting more lean, streamlined methods of supplier and customer relations.
The Case for Import Rates
Thinking back to our calculator analogy for a moment: all calculators function with a defined internal logic. This means the machine goes through a certain set of steps each time a user begins to input a certain calculation. These steps are organized or structured in a way that provides the fastest, most efficient, and accurate answer with an emphasis on using as few resources as possible. In short, calculators find the shortest, quickest path to the most accurate result.
An import rate strategy operates with a similar internal logic. First, import rates adhere to a specific, universal import rate format which can be updated across a wide variety of applications. This helps reduce instances of communication silos across the tour operator’s value chain, which is a value-added for both efficiency and profitability. Secondly, choosing to utilize an import rate strategy allows tour operators to update rates and availability across a number of hotels irrespective of amenities or accommodations. This provides tour operators the flexibility necessary to make a number of large-scale modifications at once without having to manually adjust each individual room on a hotel-by-hotel basis.
But perhaps the biggest argument in the case for adopting an import rate strategy is the automation capabilities for updating pricing and specs for rooms and accommodations. Electing to import rates means tour operators can automatically update room types, features, occupancies, and pricing; modify multiple pricings or availabilities simultaneously in real time; and alter price restrictions, stay durations, and check-in/check-out times.
Because importing rates provides tour operators with digital receipts of each modification or alteration, a complete history of all updates and inputs is available to tour operators with real-time reporting capabilities to allow for maximum visibility into the overall supply landscape.
Benefits of Import Rates
Now that we understand how import rates can be a value-added proposition for tour operators in maintaining a lean, streamlined system of back office operations, let’s look at a few of the benefits tour operators can expect to to see in incorporating import rates as a crucial part of their supplier and customer relations platform.
Less Time in Creating Hotel Offers. Because import rates strategy allow tour operators to update, modify, and create pricing, availability, and accommodations across multiple hotels at one time, tour operators can invest less time in creating specifically curated offers on a hotel-by-hotel basis. Importing rates allows tour operators to essentially create a one-size-fits-all hat for a number of hotels or potential bookings which reduces time, resources, and personnel necessary to cater to individual suppliers and customers.
Avoiding Manual Entry Errors. Let’s face it: Whenever human beings are involved, especially when it comes to manually entering and updating data, errors are going to happen. And these errors can be extremely costly when it comes to lost time, wasted resources, and damage to customer and supplier relations, especially if these errors on repeated or on a mass scale. Importing rates significantly reduces the potential for errors in the entry and modification of accommodation data. As a result, this mitigates the potential for disruptions or bottlenecks across a tour operator’s value chain and allows tour operators to function on a more efficient level.
Multiple Updates at Once. One of the most unique and impactful benefits of importing rates is the ability to conduct multiple updates or modifications across multiple hotels or accommodations at one time. This mean tour operators can invest less time and resources in completing modifications and notifications on a case-by-case basis, which allows them to direct resources and personnel to more urgent needs and tasks. In addition, the capacity to conduct multiple updates at any given time provides tour operators with more agility to respond to unexpected changes in the marketplace - which is a key driver in remaining competitive in today’s global travel industry.