Reach into your pocket, pull out your smartphone, and this is what you’re likely to find: an MP3 player; a GPS device; a calendar; an internet web browser; a video player; and perhaps even a platform for paying for goods and services at the POS in any given supermarket or megamart. In short, you’ll find a suite of applications capable of performing a series of complex tasks and functions designed to make your life easier, more convenient, and more connected, all of which are top priority for many of us in today’s fast-paced, digital world.
And the same can be said with ERP solutions for travel management companies. In today’s varied and competitive travel industry, TMCs must leverage travel ERP solutions to enhanced functionality and foster streamlined business processes to remain viable and productive, particularly with the emergence of new and growth-oriented travel markets and destinations.
The heart ERP software is designed to optimize the flow of transaction, product and operational data between various workflows, locations and geographies. ERP software functions as an integrated suite of applications which replace silos of isolated data and business activities with a common data model and standardized, automated processes - like your smartphone, but for operational areas formerly supported by diverse software applications. In addition, by providing a travel business with an integrated suite of applications for business processes, a travel ERP solution has the ability to create common data and standard processes in which operational data can be timely, reliable and consistent.
But what does this mean in terms of specific benefits for TMCs? Why should TMCs utilize a travel ERP solution? What is the value proposition for implementing such a software solution? Here are a few reasons why a travel management company needs an ERP solution in the travel industry of the 21st Century.
Client and Supplier Relations
Managing the relationship and transactions between client and suppliers is a key driver for transportation management companies to foster a lean and efficient value chain - not to mention one of transparency and visibility whereby TMCs have optimal maneuverability with their products and services in terms of pricing availability, and other factors. Via web-enabled, intelligent technology, travel ERP systems can integrate with third-party systems to manage requests, quotes, and sales across channels; automatically generate associated travel and fiscal documents; leverage reporting tools to provide reliable management information; and import or export data between reporting or accounting systems. Such functionality makes it easy for TMCs to obtain, review, analyze, and share product and service data with clients and suppliers, which creates enhanced visibility across all points of the value chain from supplier to customer.
In an age when travelers prize speed, convenience, and availability in their interactions with travel management companies, ERP solutions provide TMCs with the capacity to optimize workflows and streamline mid-back office processes to provide customers with the expediency they seek. As an example, take simple back office or operational processes like payment and invoicing: travel ERP systems automatically manage these actions, eliminating the need for manual reconciliation activities. These workflows are also highly scalable, and a common data model means management not only has more accurate operational information, it also has more visibility into, and control over, activities taking place in the business. This level of optimization allows TMCs to then focus more on the products and services they offer travelers, but also increases the speed and efficiency with which they can conduct business and manage customer relations.
Enhanced Data and Reporting
Perhaps in greater quantities than other industries, the travel industry contains a certain amount of uncertainty based simply on the premise that cancellations or disruptions are inevitable. Flights get delayed. Inclement weather cancels activities. Regional unrest can alter lodging or hotel accommodations. To help mitigate and manage the complexities created by this uncertainty, travel ERP solutions provides TMCs powerful data and reporting tools to help managers plan for these disruptions and create failsafe strategies to deal with them when they occur. These reporting and data analysis capabilities also help TMCs estimate and forecast; organize, plan and control; make highly informed decisions to improve operations; and increase revenues and elevate profitability. These value propositions allow TMCs to operate with increased visibility at each touch point of the value chain and allow for greater agility in terms of the products and services offered.
Whether a TMC is searching for more cost-effective ways of managing client and supplier relationships or leveraging large amounts of data into a more robust platform for positioning a product or service to a certain market or customer, travel ERP solutions are core drivers in helping TMCs remain a strong, relevant part of today’s travel industry. Understanding how a travel ERP solution can function as a competitive advantage can and should be a top priority for travel companies as they search for and discover new methods of streamlining processes and increasing productivity in a complex, global environment.