To say that COVID-19 crippled the tourism industry would be an understatement. According to reports, the industry has incurred losses to the tune of around $1.25 trillion due to the pandemic. Millions of people have been furloughed or let go. Traveler confidence has diminished greatly.
Whatever happens, one thing is for sure – Travel will never be the same again. A ‘New Normal’ is emerging and industry has no choice but to adapt to this new normal. So the big question is - How can the industry bounce back from COVID?
TravelCarma believes the answer lies in technology. As physical interactions between travel agencies and their customers reduce and remote working becomes a norm, Digital transformation is going to be essential for travel agencies to survive. From inquiries to quoting to booking, everything will have to go digital.
While technology is available to enable this, most brick-and-mortar travel agencies are still operating offline. They understand the need to invest in an online system, but are often deterred by the high upfront cost of most platforms out there. With agency cash reserves at an all-time low, it’s extremely difficult for them to spend thousands of dollars on technology and supplier deposits.
Which is why TravelCarma has come up with a special solution for the current times – The ‘Resilience Package’.
The ‘Resilience Package’, as the name suggests is designed to help small and mid-sized travel agencies get more resilient against COVID and accelerate their recovery.
Starting from just $999(Less than the price of an iPhone 11 Pro), the package provides travel agencies with all the tools and functionalities they need to run their business remotely with minimal investment.
The Resilience Package includes the following major modules:
- A mobile and search-engine friendly travel website
- An online booking engine allowing real-time bookings for flights, hotels, activities, tours and ground transportation
- A mid/back-office module for creating proposals, configuring markups & promotions, managing customers, managing bookings, getting accounting reports etc
The package is available in two plans:
- Starter Plan – for small agencies/startups that do not have any inventory of their own(APIs or supplier deposits)
- Pro Plan – for small/mid-sized agencies that have their API contracts(GDS/Non-GDS) or negotiated rates for hotels, activities, transfers etc
Under the Starter plan for agencies without their own inventory, TravelCarma has partnered with some of the leading suppliers to provide clients real-time content for flights and hotels via their APIs. This would allow small agencies to access and book global content without paying any deposits to suppliers, which typically range from USD 3-10k. Such agencies can use TravelCarma’s platform to make bookings on behalf of customers or even provide a self-serve portal to their end-users to make reservations themselves on web or mobile.
Agencies that have their own XML contracts can use TravelCarma’s strong experience in API integration to sell third-party inventory to their B2C clients or B2B agents online. TravelCarma will also provide an Inventory Management system under this package to help agencies load and manage their direct contracts. Such agencies can also integrate their own payment gateways to take payments in local currencies.
In addition to a very low upfront cost of just $999, TravelCarma has also waived off subscription fee for the whole of 2020, providing additional savings. This would ensure travel agencies get access to a world-class online system while conserving cash in these tough times. The complete solution is cloud-based which means travel agencies can use it from anywhere, anytime.
The Resilience Package is an initiative to help travel agents get back on their feet and into a position from where they can launch their own online travel agency and run all their operations remotely, thus saving a lot of money they would otherwise have to spend on office overheads.
With this solution, TravelCarma hopes to get as many bricks-and-mortar agencies across the world online as possible and help them go paperless!