Reinventing series booking for airlines through automation

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For airlines looking to increase operating revenue and get consistent business, series bookings from travel agents have emerged as a source of delight.

Now, what are series bookings?

Essentially, if a travel agent or tour operator wants 20 tickets from London to Spain every Saturday for the entirety of the football season, it is considered a series booking.

With series bookings, travel agents no longer have to go through the hassle of making multiple group bookings every time they want to fly their customers to a particular location in a recurring fashion, say every weekend.

At this juncture, when airlines have begun prioritizing the generation of consistent revenue to operate their flights, automating, and making the series booking process seamless can be a gamechanger.

The pains of navigating a flawed series booking process

Before the series booking is finalized, the travel agent would have spent hours or even days on email threads or the phone, explaining the requirement to the group desk. Usually, the travel agent must fill out countless passenger details in the outdated reservation systems of airlines or work on time-consuming spreadsheets to be emailed to the airline sales team.

In both these cases, the airline must spend tons of hours calculating the fare with all the relevant factors in consideration in a highly error-prone process.

The travel agents must then wait for days to get status updates on each group booking within the series booking request. Subsequently, the travel agent must go through each of the group fares and reach out to the group desk team of the airline to painstakingly negotiate all aspects of the series booking quote.

 Often, by the time the negotiations for each ticket are through, the flight fare would’ve already changed.

There is also no mechanism for the travel agent to partially accept, reject, or negotiate the fares.

 Since groups are complex and unpredictable, they require constant changes in terms of schedule, number of people, etc., which is another painful process for the travel agents and the airline.

Automating series booking—a win-win for airlines and travel agents

The process of series booking needs to be streamlined every step of the way.

 Airlines can provide travel agents with a dedicated booking portal to raise series requests with a few clicks using an automation solution.

 They can enter the number of seats they want, the origin & destination, and the price they are willing to pay for the seats. Then, the system automatically comes up with a fare that the travel agent can accept or reject.

 Crucially, the travel agent can even accept parts of the series booking quote and negotiate the rest of the groups’ fares with the airline based on their budget or the ability to get a better deal elsewhere.

 It is worth mentioning that travel agents can make whatever changes they want to the bookings with just a few clicks. Additionally, the travel agent can make the payment right away or pay a small upfront amount.

Either way, the airline gets a significant amount of money that it can use for its operations, along with the guarantee that the flights will be reasonably filled. 

 A great advantage for airlines is that since the quote is generated automatically and instantaneously as the travel agent enters their requirements, there is no room for error.

 Most importantly, if airlines see that the travel agent has declined their quote, they can have their revenue management team reach out manually and provide a fare that will help retain the travel agent’s business. This means that the group desk can focus exclusively on such high-yielding tasks rather than unproductive manual labor, such as following up on emails.

 Moreover, airlines can keep close track of the request history of various travel agents to provide customized promotions that fit the goals of both the sales and revenue management teams.

Conclusion

Automating series booking will pay off in both the short and long term because it saves time and resources for all the stakeholders. In the short term, it provides operating revenue for the airline, and over the long term, they don’t have to face an increase in manual labor for processing series bookings when the number of fleets increases.

GroupRM has played a vital role in many airlines’ efforts to bring in consistent revenue and contribute to their flights having a load factor that makes the trip worthwhile by making series booking a seamless and error-free process. As a result, numerous airlines, especially in the Asian markets, have brought down the average turnaround time per series booking using our solution. 

To know more, Reach us for a demo or book a demo with the sales team at https://www.grouprm.net/

Speak to a revenue management expert today

GroupRM allows you to offer optimal pricing and a seamless booking experience to group customers. Book a demo to know more.

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