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by Alex Xavier
The rise in online shopping technology is changing the way potential travelers approach booking a trip. With access to an incredible amount of information, the savvy traveler now browses numerous travel sites (nearly 40, on average) to kick off the trip planning process. Creating a seemingly endless number of trip combinations across multiple providers and ranges of dates, they consider a variety of price points, brand preferences, and even destinations before coming to a decision.
This increase in easily accessible information has caused the traveler to demand more from their travel agency. More traveler questions require more trip proposals, which means more of the agent’s time is spent researching, creating, and formatting professional documents to share. In the information age, even the most personalized travel proposal can drive even more questions, which creates frustrating churn for both travel agents and travelers alike.
What if you could let your travelers browse and build their own travel proposals, using your tools and promotional rates while keeping agents actively involved in the planning process? Sabre recently launched Trip Proposal APIs, a set of APIs that fully automates the proposal process and opens the door for traveler self-service solutions. Self-service tools offer differentiated customer experience because it empowers travelers and allows them to research and make travel decisions at their own pace. This can deepen perceptions of personalized service, leading to a higher conversion ratio between browsing and booking.
According to a research from the Sabre Consulting team, one in ten customer inquiries requires a trip proposal, representing a significant 15% of the total annual volume of a travel agent’s workload. Proposals are usually manually prepared and tend to be inconsistent – a widespread problem when customers do not provide sufficient information about their needs to shop and price various options.
The time spent creating these manual proposals grows exponentially when customers learn about additional travel options available through external research. Sabre Consulting’s research identified a considerable proportion of the average handling time required to fulfill trip proposal requests consists of manual tasks.
Average Handling Time to Create a Trip Proposal
Creating quality trip proposals often requires additional email exchanges with the customer to get more information before the final proposal is even sent, and ultimately, resulting in a new booking.
Trip Proposal APIs allow agencies to automate this process, reducing inefficiencies across the end-to-end workflow of creating, storing and sharing trip proposals, as well as the most important step – converting created itineraries into a booking.
Imagine a potential customer wants to search several options on your agency’s website and select flight options to share with family before deciding to confirm and book. In the example below, a customer can use the power of Trip Proposal APIs to shop for multiple available options and select which flights they want to be included in their personal proposal.
After the trip proposal is generated, it can easily be shared with friends and family or refreshed to see the latest prices – or if the fare becomes unavailable altogether. When the traveler is ready to book, they can click “Book Selected” to request the agency fulfill the reservation.
Trip Proposal APIs are available on an omnichannel platform, so proposals created via your online channel can be managed and fulfilled by a travel agent using the new Sabre Red Workspace, and vice-versa.
These tools increase agent productivity and elevate customer service, which increases brand visibility and reputation.
Minimize unnecessary tasks and keep your agents focused on what they do best – completing the sale!