Travel Edge - end to end destination management
A destination management system is at its very heart a system that helps a company market and sell a destination. Travel Edge is such a system that provides a wide gamut of functionally which includes: Product Management, Enquiry Management, Operations Management, Distribution Management, B2B Extensions, B2C Extensions and management Reporting. While many of these sets of functionality are standard and can be used globally, there are two factors that make Travel Edge Unique. The first is that is built atop a workflow platform giving it the capability of automating workflows that necessary for a destination management company. The second being that it is already is use in Sri Lanka by Diethelm travel Sri Lanka and is inbuilt with necessary and yet unique functionality to manage the operational requirement specific to Sri Lanka and other island destinations such as the Caribbean islands.
Loading Inventory is a tough time consuming task, therefore Travel Edge focuses on providing intuitive functionality to load different rates with the flexibility required to provide agents and their customers with unbeatable value. The ability to copy hotel contracts inclusive of cancellation policies and special offers, gives procurement teams a time advantage when loading rates for a busy season ahead.
Creating Travel Packages
Creating packages is a time consuming task, therefore Travel Edge allows package templates to be reused and customized in minimal time. By auto generating inventory selection options, and generating costing for 1 to 40 pax Travel edge helps Sales Executives create packages that can remain unchanged even when customer requirements change. The season quote most often used in transfers allow creation of packages, that remain alive for an entire season, or even longer. The package creation module allows significant control over margins and costs to create quotes that are appealing even to the most cost sensitive clients.
The "TOUR" Function
The Tour Function allows users to create a package and book same multiple times, each booking will create a new or amended / upgraded set of hotel vouchers. However the requirement for all other services will only be generated when the tour is closed, eliminating the need to keep changing and allocating vehicles, guides, and extras and other services that need to be allocated to generate vouchers
Service Allocation Panels
Travel Edge has several allocation panels, which allow the service delivery teams at the DMC to allocate services to various registered suppliers. The main service allocation panels are available for transport allocation, guide allocation, and excursion allocation for services such as village tourism white water rafting, whale watching and jeep safaris. The panels are designed to minimize time taken for allocation and to provide as much necessary data to make correct allocations. No sooner the allocations are done the system auto generates customised vouchers which can be auto emailed out to the registered suppliers. The logic surrounding the allocation and vouchers are designed around approx. 30 allocation scenarios and each customer has the option of automating the allocation of suppliers based on pre-agreed allocation logic.
Functional Overview of Travel Edge
Travel Edge allows users to load all inventory including hotel rooms, transports, guides, excursions and other extra items. The platform allows booking of hotel rooms, but also provides the functionality to combine all these inventory options and generate round trip tour. Or simply create a transfer package for an airport pick up or drop, even an inter-report transfer. The system also permits the creation of “excursions” which can have multiple inventory and cost elements. When creating packages the system allows users to create pricing from 1 to 40 pax with the ability to control GP margins with approvals where necessary using workflows based on set GP margins. Another innovative feature is that the system generates all vouchers for all services from hotels, to restaurants, to guides, transports and even special services such as whale watching, village tours and safaris.
There are significant features that make Travel-Edge unmatched by any local or international destination management platform available. Some of them include:
- The ability to create and maintain its own front-end which can function as a B2B website for partner agents
- Automatically created itineraries based on packaged tours created
- Web services to allow partners to book your existing inventory creating B2C engagement
- Ability to pull data from distribution systems such as STAAH
- The unique function to merge transports to optimize operational savings
Customised for Operations in Sri Lanka
The specific requirements for Sri Lankan operations include the ability to define many options in loading accommodation rates, since there is a lack of structure in terms of rates from room only, to full board. In addition there are multiple rates in addition to the rack rates, from market specific rates to agent specific rates from different hotels.
In most parts of the world transport is based on a seat in a coach type cost. However, in Sri Lanka transport is most often based on a per kilometer charge for distance travelled.
Majority of bookings are customized therefore the ability to create a tour using a standard template and then customizing same for a specific group is a necessary ability in a Destination Management Platform for Sri Lanka.
Special Offers & Special Rates
Travel Edge allows users to add any specially negotiated rates from hotels when creating a quote, or a package. If a special rate is added the system invokes a workflow to ensure that the relevant team verifies and obtains a confirmation from the hotel that the rate will be honored before the booking can be completed or the invoice generated.
For hotel only bookings Travel Edge allows applicable special offers to be factored in when generating the cost of the stay. The system also allows multiple special offers to be stacked when creating a costing. The unique function though is that the system allows special offers to be used when creating a packaged tour and applied during the booking process.
The allotment module allows the DMC to create allotments for hotel rooms at room type level and manage rooms during peak periods. The allotment function is linked to the booking engine and when turned on, does not permit a booking to be completed unless allotments are available. The module allows a DMC to manage allotments with release periods, and ensure there is no over booking of rooms for a room type within a property. The DMC can also set “STOP SALES” and “WAIT LISTED” conditions. If a particular room type is a on “Wait Listed” mode, the system generates vouchers with a wait listed status and the system will not permit invoicing, until the room has been confirmed on the reservations panel.
Bill Payments (AR / AP / PR)
Travel Edge has a separate module to facilitate payments to all suppliers, including hotels, restaurants, guides, excursion operators and any other suppliers providing services. The module operates on the vouchers and when an invoice is received it allows multiple vouchers to be combined and mapped to an invoice and paid out. When the payment is approved the system generates the AP entry for each booking allowing the final profitability to be derived using the calculation GP = AR – AP. The AP entries can be extracted and uploaded to any system that is handling payments and other GL entries. One such working integration exists to SAP and to Oracle e-Biz Suit as well as to Navision.
Integrations for AR entries generated at the point of invoicing and updated once the tour party departs is another extractable file for calculation of Accounts Receivable (AR) at the same trigger points the system generates provisions for the values to be paid out as the values and the final supplier details can potentially change while the tour is ongoing. Hence the PR is generated at invoice point and when the SI/CR entries are generated, while the AP is only generated after the bills are approved for payment.
The Transport Merge Panel
The transport merge panel is a huge innovation that delivers tangible topline and bottom line benefits to DMC companies. Although most B2B business and sometimes FIT bookings are sold on a “seat in a coach” basis, Sri Lankan DMC’s often allocate a private vehicle for each and every tour or booking, this creates an in-efficiency in that very often vehicle return empty after a drop transfer or arrive empty in the case of a pickup transfer. Since vehicles are hired from 3rd party suppliers based on a per KM rate, the empty distances are also paid for on the same basis. There are also benefits to be gained by sending a larger vehicle (for which the rate will be higher) on a consolidated tour rather than sending 2 or 3 smaller vehicles the same distance for different tours.
Therefore the transport merge panel allows a DMC to search, select and merge transports for multiple bookings, defining the revised transport legs and generating the relevant entries for allocation. The platform also allows other extras to be added and vouchers generated for same in the same function.
The value add from the merge panel can add 15% to 20% to the Gross Profit margins month on month, depending on the composition and volume of the bookings.
Agents can be defined in the system, with all necessary profile details and market details. This allows both agent specific rates and market rates to be extended to the agent. The finance team are also allows to set a credit limit for each agent which is reduced every-time a booking is made using “AGENT CREDIT”. Agent credit can be enhanced using a standard 2 step workflow or can be setoff against payments received from the agent. Against each booking or in bulk tranches.
When making a booking Travel Edge allows 3 types of payments options. Agent Credit, Card (online payment gateway) or on Arrival where the payment is recorded by the cashier on arrival of the tour party.
The agent performance dashboards allow agent performance to be tracked in terms of number of bookings, room nights, pax, revenue and profitability.