Whether you’re looking to invest in an online system for your travel company or already have an online presence you’d like to improve, choosing the right travel technology partner can be overwhelming.
Travel technology market is highly competitive, with numerous vendors (both global and regional) providing a world of different offers: off-the-shelf and custom software, solutions by business types (outbound tour operators, DMCs, meta-search engines, hospitality companies), SaaS solutions, and ERP systems… It is naturally quite easy to get lost when the choice is so vast and rich. Where do you even start?
We’d like to try and help sharpen up your decision-making by adding some structure and focus to it. So, here are our picks for the top five factors worth considering while reviewing travel technology vendors.
Profound industry expertise is the major prerequisite of successful cooperation. It really is!
The best way is to look for a specialized company with a distinct focus on travel technology solutions. Sure, it may offer higher pricing compared to general outsourcing companies with travel being one of their industries. But stay assured that a partnership with a travel tech vendor will pay off with the higher quality of work, quicker delivery timeframes and proactive approach – something you can expect only from a niche technology partner. You will hear a lot of familiar domain-specific questions at your very first consultation:
…and so on and so forth. You will instantly feel at home.
The wider the range of services offered, the better it is for you.
Signing up with a vendor for your travel business is usually a long-term engagement. So a rich offering means you’ll be able to solve lots of diverse issues with this vendor and support your business growth from different perspectives. For example, if you contract a company that does just off-the-shelf SaaS, don’t expect quick response times if you need a critical and urgent custom implementation (like a new travel supplier integration or else). Chances are high your request will be cast aside. It would be wiser to look for a company offering a selection of delivery options – you’ll be able to switch to a more advanced setup version when you need it.
Custom development options should also be in your vendor’s service range. Whenever you might need to build tailor-made functionality to keep up with the competition, you’ll be able to do it.
For starters, check how long the company has been on the market. Generally, if a travel technology vendor has been up and running for quite a while (at least 10+ years), it’s a sign of a trustworthy partner. It spells stability as the business is obviously sustainable, went through a few ups and downs and managed to secure a stable niche for itself.
It makes sense to check where your partner is present globally. A company with multiple offices internationally is certainly more credible as it is yet another sign of stability and recognition by customers around the world. First of all, international vendors can effectively communicate with different cultures. What’s even more critical, they are quite used to handling time differences by approaching clients from different locations. Secondly, international vendors are versatile and proficient with solutions adapted for regional travel market specifics (for ex., integrations with popular local travel suppliers, payment gateways, accounting software, localization into different languages, interface tweaks & changes and more). This is a major advantage in case you plan to conquer a particular audience or market.
“I can highly recommend the services of GP Solutions. During the past 1.5 years, our company has been working with GP Solutions on a new project of ours. The company offers high quality services. We can say that we have always been satisfied by their work”
Also, the combined experience of delivering diverse solutions for various markets means there is an extensive knowledge base accumulated by the vendor that can work for the benefit of your project. There will also be a lot of ready-made technological solutions that can be promptly transferred and applied to your project if relevant. All of the above means that with an international vendor you can count on quicker and better deliveries.
Always look at the clients. If the company you’re reviewing has plenty of project cases that are diverse in size and implementation scope, you can rest assured this company is flexible enough to cover your project needs in various ways.
A travel technology vendor with big brands in its portfolio is a sure sign of trustworthiness. It is also a good plan to review testimonials. Be sure to learn what clients themselves think about the vendor you’re reviewing. Also, it is a must to check case studies. There you’ll find lots of valuable insights regarding the work process and approach used by your potential partner.
Price is not by chance the last in this list. Its importance shouldn’t be underestimated of course. But trust and credibility measured by the first four factors mean a lot more in the long run.
Getting back to the price though, it is definitely not a good plan to over-focus on the cheapest offer. The quality of service is very much likely to be low. The most expensive offering on the market also won’t secure top-quality service for you. It is usually coming from a name with the most publicity and hype which is not a guarantee you will get value for money. In such cases, there’s a large surplus to pay for the brand and status, not the service itself.
At the end of the day, the best option is usually in between.
Summing up the above…
It is a wise tactic to go through the following milestones while searching for a travel tech partner:
Choosing the right travel technology vendor is definitely a challenge. It takes time and careful consideration. Partnering with a travel technology partner is usually a long-term engagement. So don’t be in a hurry and judge wisely.
Hopefully, the thoughts and tips shared above will help you make the right choice.