Travel Back Office Systems
If your existing back office is under performing you might consider
- Changing to another system
- Re-organising your existing
- Starting again with your existing
Evaluating a new backoffice
You may decide that you need a new back-office because your existing one isn’t working or maybe you are moving to a system for the first time from a manual system. If you are coming from a manual system then it’s just a case of determining whether the new system has all the functions you need and whether the time gains will outweigh the loses. Because when you move to a system there will always be loses – for example, products will need to be set up before they can be added to a booking.
If you are replacing an existing system, the most difficult part will be the migration of the existing data – and the prospect of possibly running two systems in parallel.
Implementing a new backoffice
Finally deciding on which new system to use may feel like the work is done. But that’s the easy bit – the future success will only be as good as the amount of effort you put into it during the implementation. Don’t expect that the software suppliers will just come in and do it all for you – you need to fully understand your own workflows and how it will fit to the product. You’ll need to dedicate your own staff to the project – and do they have the time? Or the inclination?
People don’t like change, and so your staff may be reluctant to get involved. This is where it could pay in the long run to have external project management and knowledge to oversee the implementation and get it right. Because once a new system is in and configured, if you got it wrong at the start, you will be living with those mistakes in the future – and finding it very hard to correct them.
Re-organising an exisiting system
Unless you existing system really is a bad fit, it’s probably best to stick with what you’ve got and reorganise it, or even start from fresh again.
If your database has become large and chaotic over the years – don’t worry, it’s normal. We can help sort this out by the following:
- Archiving off old customers, suppliers, bookings
- Deleting any unnecessary audit logs or history e.g. message history
- Restructuring and renaming codes – such as supplier codes, product codes etc.
- If things are running slowly, sometimes just building a new database index can make a massive difference
We have experience of merging and integrating databases from different companies and unifying the data across both. It’s not an easy task – but once it’s done, life becomes a whole lot easier for everyone. Our advice is rather than struggle on with a mess which is costing you time – and causing errors – get it fixed so you can focus your efforts on better things. Like the ones that earn you money.
How do you organise all your contracts with suppliers? Travel industry contracts can be very informal – are they just hanging around in various staff mailboxes? If they are, how do you find them – and what do you do when staff are on holiday or leave the business ?
A structured shared drive may be enough to store everything – but it depends what you need. For example, you can’t put an expiry date on a Word document and have it email you when it’s expired. If you need this kind of functionality then you need to go to a document management system – which will be expensive. But maybe you have another way around it – can your back office be adapted to do this? We have implemented contracts storage and sign off over the internet using Tourplan’s messaging system. We’ve also built bespoke systems to do the job – it all depends on what you actually need.