NCET helps you explores business and technology
When I meet new people, and tell them I work for a Travel Agency, they usually say, OH, they STILL exist. Yes, and they use technology to streamline the travel process! To be competitive, travel agencies must use the latest tools to provide superior service. This ranges from the Travel Agency Systems to tools that help manage groups and events.
Here’s some common technology used by Travel Agencies:
Global Distribution Systems – these systems help travel agents book air/rail, car, and hotels in one system. It pulls rates from many different sources to provide the lowest available prices for clients. Travel Agents can hold and void tickets for 24 hours. These systems are now web based and can be accessed by agents anywhere, anytime on any device!
Self-Booking tools – companies use online-booking tools to help manage travel spend and policies, but still allow travelers the freedom to book trips themselves 24/7. These too are web based and can be accessed from any Internet connection. These fully integrated tools also manage pre-trip authorization, travel approvals and expense reports, all from your phone, computer or tablet!
Group/Event Travel – There are many different software tools that help manage group activity. These tools let agencies source hotel block space, negotiate rates and amenities, as well as, build registration sites used to invite attendees. This saves time and money for event organizers and clearly communicates the objectives of the meeting.
Virtual Pay – Virtual Payment is becoming mainstream for companies that want to streamline payment for employees travel cost. This eliminates the need for cash advances and faxing hotel credit card authorization forms to pre-pay charges. The company’s credit card sets up these programs that use software to produce a unique credit card number for each trip. This eliminates fraud and streamlines the process for all, as well as, provide a better travel experience!
Report tracking software – This allows companies to run reports that provide budgets and access where their travelers are while on the road! In times of crisis, travel agents can help a traveler get out of harm’s way and home safely.
Travel Agents continue to evolve and become more tech savvy. Technology allows companies to grow and provide superior care for their travelers. Advances, such as retina scanning at airports will streamline the process the boarding flights.
But remember not all aspects of travel are up to par in this age of technology. Check those Broadway tickets and ensure they can be scanned, if not make sure you print before you head to your venue. Next time you’re on a business trip, why not stay longer and have a mini vacation, or what’s called a bleisure trip. Try to enjoy your travel and use technology along the way.
Jodi Jung is Director of Sales & Marketing for Business Travel & Tours and NCET’s CO-VP of Membership retention. NCET is a member-supported non-profit that produces educational and networking events to help people explore business and technology. This column originally appeared in the Reno Gazette-Journal.