Airlines have their work cut out as people worldwide make frenzied travel plans to shake off the misery of the pandemic-induced lockdowns. To benefit from the burgeoning demand for group travel, airlines need to digitize and make the entire process of group booking and pricing pain-free.
This means that the days of customers emailing the sales team, waiting for days on end for a quote as the sales and revenue management team tussle over optimal pricing, and finally getting an unsatisfactory deal need to be over if airlines ever hope to recover from the pandemic.
Here, we explore how airlines can start treating group sales as a mission-critical aspect of their operations and provide a booking experience that leads to higher revenue and passenger retention.
Invest in an intelligent group revenue management solution
Over 60% of group booking business goes to airlines that send the quickest quote. With manual group sales processes, airlines usually spend 5-6 days coming up with a quote that is satisfactory for both the sales and revenue management team.
Consequently, airlines need an end to end, automated booking solution that can generate instant quotes (based on passenger willingness to pay, market demand & competitor pricing) and contracts while also ensuring airline policy compliance in group bookings across all users, including internal sales team, revenue managers, and travel agents.
Further, look for a solution to automate bookings, approval, and even the ticketing process for group travel requests across every sales channel.
Notably, the solution should allow bookings and contracts to be managed in one place to facilitate changes to Passenger Name Records (PNRs).
Ensure a frictionless user experience
Travel agents and other users who depend on your booking solution need to have a seamless experience with it. Airlines can achieve this using a digital booking solution that eliminates the need for manual review of group bookings, delivers real-time alerts related to the booking, automates contract generation, enables easy payment tracking, and allows users to book tickets based on group/ trip type. Real-time, data-driven recommendations to users is another way to enhance their experience and boost revenue through the sale of ancillaries.
Ensure that your group sales management solution allows you to effectively manage the relationships between stakeholders, such as travel agents, internal sales teams, and revenue managers.
Crucially, the solution should allow travel agency level rules to be set up and managed, facilitating trust between sales and revenue teams by ensuring that the group pricing aligns with their goals.
Moreover, airlines can foster transparency between revenue management and sales with a solution that allows both teams to manage group pricing and policies from the same location.
Apart from this, airlines should use a tool that provides real-time price comparisons so that customers don’t cancel contracts. Leveraging a tool that can track metrics, such as individual customers’ conversion and materialization rate, will also go a long way in facilitating a better relationship between the airline and its group passengers.
Group sales account for 5-10% of airline revenue, and in some regions, it is even more than that. Given that corporate travel and tourism is making a comeback with relaxed covid restrictions worldwide, it is time for airlines to invest in an intelligent booking and pricing solution that takes away the pain of group bookings.
The need of the hour is GroupRM. Its automated itinerary building & relationship-building capabilities, intuitive user interface, and intelligent pricing will keep you ahead of the competition.
Reach us for a demo / consultation.