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How to choose Inventory for your Online Travel Agency?

How-to-choose-Inventory
September 5, 2016 By Trip-Smart
  • flight API
  • hotels api
  • private label travel portal
  • travel affiliate
  • Travel Api
  • travel private label
  • travel solutions
  • Travel White Label
  • white label travel
  • white-label travel portal

A comprehensive travel inventory system is essential for any online travel agency as it enables them to operate seamlessly and distribute their services to a wider audience. An ideal travel inventory will have a diverse range of offerings such as tours, accommodation, activities etc. to entice travelers and travel partners. The key to choosing your inventory lies in the availability of three main sources –

  1. Contracted Inventory:

The contracted inventory is the entry level source for inventory management for any travel agency. Therefore, it is preferred by most of the small scale travel agents to cater to budget-conscious travelers. Also called as Direct Connects, it involves procuring inventory at thoroughly negotiated rates from a local hotel, bus or a car rental service.

This model enables businesses to offer their unique inventory through agent booking tools or a white label travel booking engine to customers and partners. It is highly favored for its flexibility and can be easily set up with an easy-to-manage Central Reservation System (CRS).

Pros:

  • Easy to set up
  • Greater control over the rates/commission
  • Extremely cost-effective
  • Easy to modify content and change the look and feel
  • Convenient to target local customers

Cons:

  • The limited size of the inventory confines the business to local region only and makes it difficult to target larger markets.
  1. API Integration:

API is an acronym for Application Programming Interface. It is a defined interface that allows an online travel agency to integrate the travel inventory from a third party white label travel portal onto their own site.

API travel solutions are ideal for mid-level travel businesses who are aiming to target a wider audience. Alternatively, the full suite of services can be offered to customers and travel partners within an appreciable budget. The main objective of a travel API is to bring all information related to travel, transfers, cruises, hotels, flights along with their description, availability, price, itinerary, payment gateways, mobile, SMS etc, into your own booking engine through software integration. An API integrated portal can then be merged to host bespoke travel solutions such as hotel API, flight API within your online portal.

Usually, the integration requires a contract with the wholesale inventory provider and a security deposit. The API integration will facilitate customers to directly do a hotel or flight booking on your site without getting redirected to another one.

Pros:

  • Wider outreach
  • Payments for bookings can be directly received
  • Margins can be added for your customers to woo them
  • High conversion rate and traffic
  • Ease of maintenance
  • Shows real-time content 24X7

Cons:

  • Sound technical support needed for API integration to handle any issues that may arise later on
  • Requires some maintenance cost
  1. White Label Travel Solutions:

A white label travel solution presents you with the easiest form of inventory sourcing with a ready-made portal for your online travel business. White label travel portals are easy to start with. These web portals can also be customized as per your needs.

White label refers to ‘no label’ which implies that they can be branded by you under your own label.

Majority of online travel agencies is gravitating towards white label travel solutions for their travel businesses as it can be re-branded to look as your own. For the travel businesses that do not have a big budget or investments required for the infrastructure and technology, a white label travel portal enables them to create their own successful brand.

In a white label travel service, the customers will book through your site but the backend CRM will be managed and taken care by supplier’s website. So the payment will be received directly by them and they will pay you the commission for every sale from their earnings.

Pros:

  • Favorable for small or mid-sized travel businesses
  • Easy to integrate and maintain
  • No need of technical team as backend is maintained by the supplier
  • Provides a full range of services to market your brand globally
  • Zero server maintenance needed

Cons:

  • The earnings are solely decided by the supplier
  • Profits are earned on a commission basis

Trip-Smart Travel Solutions is a full service, bespoke travel solutions company focused on delivery to the B2B market with 60 years of experience in the online travel domain. We provide travel api, white-label travel portal and travel affiliate programs.

For more info, contact:

Mike Putman
mputman@trip-smart.com
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