Over the past few years, we have seen airlines making attempts to aggressively reduce their costs and increase operational efficiency while trying equally hard to increase their revenue. Hence there has been a rise of new revenue streams which airlines are focused on capitalizing. One of such emerged market opportunity is to serve group booking. Though the group booking phenomenon is continuously on the increase, airlines are still struggling for a hassle-free group booking tool or process. The reasons are many including the fact that the traditional approach tends to bog down in the complexities thrown up by the industry. Let's glance at top challenges airlines are facing while realizing group booking
Once the airline receives a group travel request, it involves many iterations to quote a fare. The airline's group desk team needs to collate data, analyze the behavior and consolidate prices from pricing and revenue team. Due to the manual nature of how group request is handled, there is a long wait time for customers to receive relevant information causing dissatisfaction.
Group booking involves a lengthy thread of e-mail exchanges between the client and airlines. Also, to respond to a group request with a fare, the local sales team has to coordinate with group desk and revenue management teams. With these multiple layers of communication, there is a higher chance of misunderstanding and human error.
Airlines group desk faces a tremendous challenge in quoting the RIGHT fare to the right group at the right time. So the airlines need to consider an array of factors before they can compute a group fare. When done manually this is time-consuming with a higher chance of error. Also, there is always a room for inappropriate forecasting.
Group fares come with terms and conditions. Different groups will have different cancellation, rescheduling and payment terms. It may be difficult for a manual system to ensure policy compliance and perform quality check accurately. This makes the airlines vulnerable to fraudulent and unethical behavior which could result in revenue and brand dilution.
For quoting a group fare, various teams are involved, and they spend a considerable amount of time on deciding the fares. Besides, some teams are required to do regular follow-ups, verification of documents and manual entry of the group details. This involves a considerable workforce and cost associated with it.
Today's travelers expect information instantly, and any delay is unacceptable. The airline with quicker response time, better price wins the group contract. Also, an opportunity to negotiate on the fares leaves room for a higher chance of acceptance rate. However, with a manual system, these can never become a reality which inhibits a faster business conversion.
Driven by the demands of the industry, many premier airlines have already started automating their entire group revenue management process in their wisdom. Quick adoption of a highly intuitive and robust group booking tool is the only way forward!