More business travelers are using mobile devices and making travel arrangements on their own online—a shift from the previous practice of using travel management companies (TMCs) to research airlines, compare ticket prices, and secure and adjust travel plans. To compensate for those customers that are taking advantage of self-service options, TMCs must look to new revenue streams to remain profitable… and the cloud can help. With cloud computing solutions, IT responsibilities are outsourced to a cloud provider, allowing TMCs to reallot technical resources to create new strategies that better serve recurring and potential clients, and increase profits.
Consider incorporating the following strategies for new revenue streams into your business model:
Develop a Mobile Application: During your next business trip, take a look around the airport terminal—you will notice plenty of travelers browsing the Internet on their mobile devices. TMCs can take advantage of the increase in tech-savvy business travelers’ mobile usage by developing an app, hosted on cloud-based infrastructure, that allows individuals to check or change travel plans. Additionally, TMCs can sell sponsorships or non-intrusive, strategically placed ad space within the app to generate additional revenue.
Create a Virtual Payment Solution: Booking travel arrangements can be tedious and usually requires faxing documents and initiating direct billing to travel merchants on behalf of clients. To streamline and simplify this process, TMCs can create a secure payment solution through the cloud, like a virtual card, that will transfer a client’s relevant data directly to travel merchants to secure their travel plans. A virtual payment solution is a combination of the traditional TMC services and a self-service component that addresses the customers’ changing needs. With a virtual card and streamlined travel booking procedures, TMCs can serve more clients, ultimately leading to increased revenue.
Utilize Customer Data: Business travelers’ booking and travel patterns are not only valuable for TMCs internally to improve the solutions they offer, but also externally to foster client-facing relationships. A cloud computing solution enables TMC staff to access and view client information and previous travel itineraries securely regardless of time or location while booking. The ability to analyze this data allows TMCs to provide recommendations, such as frequently used airlines and car rental companies, and better serve their clients by suggesting travel plans based on the customer’s likes and preferences. As an additional revenue stream, TMCs can share aggregated versions of this data with credible researchers who conduct studies on the travel industry as a whole. The data shared does not compromise your clients’ security or privacy. It is a compilation of data that shows overall customer activities and can be utilized for comprehensive business travel studies.
Unlocking additional revenue streams is a must for travel management companies that want to thrive regardless of the industry’s evolving nature. By properly leveraging cloud computing solutions and considering business travelers’ habits and preferences, TMCs can develop innovative services that exceed their clients’ expectations and ultimately increase profitability.