Back-and-forth emails with clients to obtain relevant information, international markets with different time zones delaying the quote process and manually keeping tabs on all your bookings – these are just some of the difficulties when working with manual group processes.
If you’re looking to avoid delays for your clients, while reducing your team’s workload, moving to a more automated process is a no-brainer – but how? Well, we’d like to help you reduce (or even completely eliminate) some of those pain points. I’m about to share my top recommendations so keep reading to learn more!
So, you’d like to give your groups agents more visibility to track and self-manage bookings, payments and communications with you.
Taking the step to introduce an online booking platform, complete with both trade and consumer portals, can allow group organisers to access and manage their bookings 24/7. Feedback we’ve had from airline agency partners using Groups Next Gen (GNG) is really positive, with vastly improved turnaround times from being able to instantly search and book quotes online, without needing lengthy email chains or phone calls.
The right system (hands up GNG!) can even assist with complex requests – think MICE, Bulk, Out of Date Range and Interline bookings – meaning you can focus your resource on the areas that’ll benefit you the most.
Automated notifications and reminders
Handling groups manually means your teams will need to send all reminders and communications manually via email, making it tricky to keep on top of queries like:
- Did the payment reminder get sent out?
- Have we had a response back from the client?
- Are the clients aware of the next action they need to take?
Avoid these unanswered questions by choosing a system that automates your notifications. Groups Next Gen keeps group organisers informed about any flight updates, changes and reminders, ensuring smoother communication that can all be tracked within the system.
Reminders are automatically set up for key payment and ticketing deadlines, so your reservations staff aren’t having to manually keep track of who needs reminding and when.
Revenue management, this is for you – we know groups is one you love to hate! If you’re handling group quotes manually, it can be really challenging to make changes to T&Cs and pricing in a timely manner.
Imagine how much easier it would be to manage group bookings via an online system’s configurable controls? Through automation, many of these changes can be made within hours of your adjustment, ensuring group bookings are in line with your objectives and helping to improve yield.
With Groups Next Gen, you’ll also love how any changes are recorded in an audit trail, giving all departments have full visibility over when and why these changes were made.
Integrated payment systems
In my experience, one of the most important parts of the modernising group bookings is the ability to seamlessly collect payments from your customers.
You’ll want to make sure you’re able to coordinate payments across time zones, that you’ve got a system for tracking who has paid (and by what method) and to make sure each payment is assigned to the correct booking.
Automating this process can massively improve accuracy and reduce the chances of mistakes being made. Via Groups Next Gen, your airline’s group organisers will be able to make payments seamlessly, manage invoices or track expenses – often without any intervention needed from you, depending on the payment method.
It also allows both you and your customers to view payments that have been made and any funds that are still outstanding – a simple way to modernise your group booking management!
With years of travel experience behind me, I know how group bookings rarely unfold without encountering many changes or cancellations – be they voluntary, or involuntary. Manual processes can make any fluctuations (no matter how minor) a minefield, especially when making sure bookings align with your terms and conditions.
Email communication introduces its own nuances. When agents email change requests, clarity can be obscured – particularly if multiple emails are sent for identical requests, or if bookings have multiple Passenger Name Records (PNRs). The outcome? Valuable time spent on figuring out what the organiser actually requires.
So what does the future look like when you’re looking to bring your group booking management up to date?
Groups Next Gen helps you to implement a streamlined process for group organisers, allowing them make changes or cancel to their group bookings online. That’s less complexity and more flexibility for them; less manual intervention for you. All their PNRs are accessible in one central place, allowing bookings to be managed with ease.
As a bit of a data nerd (anyone else?), I’m of the opinion that good data is essential! After all, you’ll want visibility over your booking trends that drive informed decisions and necessary adjustments.
If it’s important to you too, we’re here to help your manual handling of analytics become a thing of the past. Groups Next Gen can massively enhance your analytics by categorising and organising data into relevant groups – you guessed it, through automated processes. This simplifies the process as travel patterns, trends and insights within each group become more apparent in real-time.
If you’d like to stay ahead of the curve, implementing GNG lays the foundation for reliable results and reshapes how you perceive and leverage data – no more limitations of manual analytics!
In similar spirit to the above, I wanted to highlight how modernising your approach to group bookings can involve a real-time approach to data. With reporting as it happens – including instant access to booking statuses, dynamic changes and payment processing – you’ll have a whole new level of transparency and control.
Groups Next Gen is designed to empower you with unparalleled visibility, via a whole host of standard or tailored reports and insights. There’s nothing like taking a data-led approach to improving your processes, and GNG will help you to get there.
Now you may be thinking – what next?
If you’d like to mark the start of a more efficient era and start the journey to automating your group bookings, I’d love to chat to you about your airline’s specific needs and how we can solve them with Groups Next Gen.
Get in touch via email to start a conversation.