Over the last 10 years, the travel business scenario has changed significantly. Today selling travel products is all about ‘best’ rates. To sustain in the battle to offer the ‘best deal’ and ‘best fare’ to the consumers, travel business owners have been forced to reduce almost all of their possible profit margins.I still remember when a service fee of $6 was a norm across online sales of air tickets. Commissions and contracts were available to travel agents. Cancellation fee on hotels were healthy.The emergence of large online travel agencies changed the rules of the business across the globe. Fuel prices and global economic conditions added to the challenges of earning healthy margins. Travel became the most competitive business. Commissions dried up. Segment fees reduced and “no fee” became the new best seller.On the Travel Technology side, along with successful implementations, I have heard stories of many failures where travel businesses were not able to derive what they wanted from technology. Most of the time the key reasons for failure has been:Over ambitious technology goal on a constrained budget Lack of ‘competitive’ Travel Technology expertise Poor IT team and management, suffering from ‘over promise’ and ‘under deliver’ In this ecosystem, how could a travel business set about defining an effective Technology Strategy for itself?As a travel technologist, I have many motivations to say “buy my software”, but in my experience that’s not a good pitch. After carefully analyzing various successes and failures in the industry, here is what I feel I have learned:Step 1: Identify what Travel Technology you needWell, it is easier said than done. Most of the time not articulating the technology needs well is the biggest hurdle in Technology Strategy. As a travel business, here is what you could do to clearly articulate the need for technology.Pen down the technology needs of the organization as envisioned by the business owner / key management personnel Consult with people external to the organization such as technology consultants, Travel Technology companies, GDS account managers, CRS / Suppliers and Travel Technology bloggers Let a technology company interview you and recommend a solution. This is generally free most of the times. Pursuing one or more of these three exercises diligently will build enough knowledge base about what your internal Technology Strategy should be. Identify and validate these thoughts with inputs from internal operations and marketing teams.Step 2: Build vs. Buy?This is considered the most complex question. The answer lies in dividing Travel Technology needs in three buckets.ProprietaryCustomizedOut of the BoxWhat is proprietary?It is important to identify your differentiator as a travel business. Most of the time, proprietary defines a piece of technology which reduces OPEX corresponding to your business operations or is the biggest revenue generator corresponding to your business model.What is a customized need?Is there any part of your technology needs that could be sourced through an existing technology solution, customized per your need?What can be out of the box?This might be the most effort intensive part of your technology needs and may require a tremendous investment to build. Getting an out of the box solution that meets the majority of your requirements and configuring it as per your needs, is the ideal way. How to evaluate an out of the box solution is in itself a comprehensive process.Now we come to the next complex part of this exercise.Step 3: Identify the right budget and vendorIdentifying the right budget and the vendor is the most common shopping problem in every business sector. It takes a lot of time and energy to reach to a decision.Let’s compare technology acquisition to the decision of buying a laptop. There are many vendors to choose from. There are laptops priced from $300 to $3000. Your decision to buy would be shaped by the life of the laptop, and the continuity of business (your work) it will guarantee.Similarly, the continuity of your travel business would significantly depend on the Travel Technology you choose. That is why identifying the right budget, and the vendor is a complex decision.I would attempt to breakdown the process of identifying a vendor into simpler steps since just asking a vendor for a quote would not necessarily help find the right one.Expertise – Does the vendor has expertise in the travel business?Support & Servicing – Travel is a service business. Irrespective of whether the product is ‘off the shelf’ or is being built for you, longevity and promptness of support is critically important to maintain a personalized quality of service to your customers.Customization needed vs. Customizability -What is the future customizability of the software? (Applicable to both out of the box or custom built software) Whether customization done today decrease future cost of changing the technology? This is an important question to ask and seek answers to.Value Add – Another important evaluation parameter for selecting a vendor is to check what part /component of the software is available free of cost and would remain so in the future.Stability – Your guarantee of service to your customers depends on the stability of your vendor. It is important to seek answers to questions such as is the vendor going to be in business for long? How are you safeguarded if a vendor goes out of business?References – Who are the customers of the vendor? Can the vendor provide references?Maturity – Is the vendor’s organization a product oriented and innovation driven institution or do they survive by making money from one gig to another?Empathy – Does the vendor considers your business as their own? How willing is the vendor to empathize with your business challenges?Budgeting for technology is also a little challenging. It may be worthwhile to look beyond the onetime fee and understand all cost factors, including the cost of extended support the vendor may provide during your business life-cycle.Cost should also include additional overheads of implementing technology, especially when you are dealing with GDS or CRS / Consolidators. Budgeting done in partnership with a selected vendor often yields the best results.I have attempted to lay out a model that would help travel businesses shape their Technology Strategy.As always, I would happy to hear your experiences and views.
It is mandatory for all new car owners to get auto insurance. The Road Traffic Act stipulates that all motorists should be insured against liability and it declares driving a car without a minimum level of insurance is illegal. The violation can attract severe civil and criminal penalties. This can be easily avoided by securing a proper auto insurance cover for your vehicle as per your state’s demands. It is quite a simple process.Nowadays, there is so much dependence on vehicles that the best thing to do is to follow all stipulated guidelines religiously. Getting the right auto insurance cover is one of them.What Is Auto Insurance All About?Auto Insurance simply means a contract or an agreement between an auto owner and an insurance company. Under this contract, premium is paid to the insurer and in return he pays for any car related losses as detailed in the policy.Key Legal RequirementsIn order to get an insurance cover for your vehicle, you would need to fulfill the following requirements. It’s advisable to find out the requirements in your respective state since these may vary. However, these are the broad requirements for auto insurance.Firstly, you should be in possession of a valid driver’s license before you go in for registration or insuring your car. For your license you would need to approach your local DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles). This is the primary requirement.You will also need to have an auto title. It is a legal certificate of ownership that confirms that you own the car. Most of the paperwork is already done when you purchase a gar from a dealer. Licensed dealers are needed to transfer the title of the car in your name. The title will list the owner’s name, address, make of the car, model and year of the car and the date of sale. This should be retained by you.Next, you need to get your car registered. You can apply for registration at the local DMV. The requirements may vary from state to state. In order to register your vehicle, you will require a valid driving license, signed certificate of title for the car, address of residence and proof of your insurance.The law also stipulates that that a vehicle more than three years old should have a valid MOT certificate. It is not possible to tax a vehicle without MOT and certificate of insurance and driving without them is an offence.It is also vital to keep the insurance company informed in case of any vehicle modifications and fixed penalties. Failing to do so is an offense and may affect any claim that you make.You are also legally obliged to take the basic level of auto insurance that will cover you against third party claims. Since the legal requirements for auto insurance vary from state to state, you will need to clarify the level of cover that you require while taking auto insurance. Only insuring the legal minimum isn’t necessarily the best choice to make.As a proof of your auto insurance, the company issues you the following documents – A Certificate of insurance which will also be required for buying your road tax; A cover note that will act as a temporary policy and certificate until your new insurance policy has been set up; and Policy documents which gives a detail of all that you are covered for. Read the documents carefully to understand your rights and obligations under the policy.Insurance companies have set up claim help lines and accident emergency recovery hotlines for ensuring a smoother process. In case of any ambiguity in terms of insurance or legal requirements, get your doubts cleared by talking to the company.
In order to find a good car insurance company or quotes, you need to spend ample time shopping around and look for some competitive quotes to compare from. There are many methods where you can utilize to search for the best auto insurance, such as through phone by calling up the auto insurance company, search the internet, look into the yellow pages, contact the insurance broker are probably some of the most common ways to find your best auto insurance price.Now, let us review how each of these methods fare among one another,
- Calling up the auto insurance company or agent – one is unable to get the latest information on all the necessary packages available from the auto insurance company and nor are you able to get the best price by using this method.- The yellow pages might not always being updated completely on real time. In such a case, the likelihood of you not getting some of the key car insurance prices is very highly. The chance is that through the yellow pages, you might miss out reviewing some of the key insurance companies latest insurance prices.- If you deal through a broker, you might only be likely to get those quotes from the insurance companies which the brokers are dealing with, but you are unable to get the quotes from other auto insurance companies where he had not being engaged with.- With the popularity of Internet today, it had become the fastest and easiest method for car insurance search as it is free, no time bound, no geographical constraint and best of all, you do not need to meet up the agent face to face to understand the related car insurance quotes or its plan.
If everyone here agrees with me that the Internet is the best place to look out car insurance price and the insurance provider itself, then let’s go through some of the additional benefits where we can obtain from utilizing the internet as the key tool for getting the rightful type of car insurance,- Once you have completed filling in all the required information such as your insurance requirements, prioritized criteria,age, gender and the model of the vehicle that you are driving, the car insurance “seeker”, he will be contacting some of the competitive car insurance providers to review your requirements, then he will get these insurance providers to directly communicate with you to share what they have with you.- Not only that you are able to save up your time and money through the assistance of the insurance “seeker” because they are professionals who deal a lot on car insurance and with his help, there are a lot of unnecessary processes where you can avoid altogether saving time.Lastly, it is wise to check out from the Better Business Bureau ( BBB ) if there have been any bad customers’ complaints against that specific nsurance company for the last two years. If the insurance company is clean of customers’ complaints over the recent years, then you can be quote assured that this might be the best auto insurance company as far as their price and customer experience goes.