To Buy or Build a Travel Tech Platform in 2021

Author: Product Team

Stellar digital customer experiences are a must in 2021, and your travel tech needs to lead the way to keep customers delighted and coming back to you.

The era of digital disruption is well and truly upon us, and COVID-19 has accelerated the need for tourism businesses to up their game related to technology adoption. If you are a tour operator looking to strengthen customer service, sales, and operations with a Saas travel platform, then read on to understand which path to take.

In this time of enormous transition, customer expectations are changing rapidly. In the Q3 2020 State of the Connected Customer report, Salesforce surveyed 12,000 consumers and 3,600 business buyers worldwide and found that 88% of customers expect businesses to amplify digital initiatives as a result of current conditions. A whopping 80% of business buyers expect to operate through online transactions, and 58% of consumers say they will be purchasing more online post-crisis than prior to the pandemic.

What does this mean? Customers have heightened expectations for the way they research, buy, and consume products and services, and technology is leading the way. Now is the ideal time to modernise how tour operators attract, engage, and deliver travel experiences.

But where do you start and should travel businesses ‘buy or build’ technology to suit individual operational needs?

To Buy vs Build your Travel Technology

Many owners and tour operators get stuck in the assumption that building a custom software solution and applications for their unique business is the direction they need to head. Prompted by heavy concerns that third-party systems will not adapt to their particular needs, nor provide connectivity for all departments.

Your IT department may be proficient in creating customised solutions from the ground up, but it’s fundamental to consider the overall expense and length of time to complete this project. We invite you to think through the idea of procuring a modern, scalable, end-to-end system meeting the immediate needs plus taking into account future expansion options. This then frees up your IT team to manage the system, continue obtaining customer data supporting a customised experience, and further integrations.

7 Considerations for Build vs Buy:

1. Overall investment: The upfront costs and subscription fees sometimes create pause for decision-makers; however, the advantages remain in the known expenses and timeframes—curbing unexpected costs from adding up.

2. Customisation, apps and integrations: Many tour operators align with the theory that building gives more control. However, it leaves you relying on the original developers and their code versus partnering with an established group of cloud-based experts supporting your needs.

3. Support for each department: Finding a solution that reduces friction and removes internal silos connecting all departments into one system is the ultimate outcome. Yet many executives compromise and select disjointed systems hoping to get by.

4. Automation and streamlining: By selecting a reservation system with an integrated Travel CRM, and the ability for you to add or change workflows, mundane tasks and customer support become streamlined and levelled-up.

5. Increase conversions: When investing in an upgraded SaaS travel platform, there are expectations for increased sales, especially when adding a CRM component, plus being able to identify an overall ROI.

6. System management and expansion: An external team with knowledge in intricate architecture and data compliance requirements may grant your team more security. We have found that internal IT teams vary widely to external specialised teams.

7. Implementation timeline: In many cases, buying is a much quicker solution and will help fix current issues that keep your team from offering the best experience possible.

Cost is usually the most prominent concern and driving factor when making major operational decisions. Looking at success rates for in-house IT projects specifically for staying on-time and on-budget is important. The stats can easily sway business leaders to buy and not get bogged down in delays, misinformed timelines and pesky bugs.

When planning and researching your new travel tech options, it’s critical to ensure that your new system includes a CRM to keep up with customer expectations. Read our blog post, Travel CRM: Communication, Essential Part of the Customer Experience to understand better the tools of a travel CRM.

From the IT Perspective

At Kaptio Travel, we recognise that many considerations, needs, and opinions go into adopting a new system. When working with our tour operators and prospects, the debate with the IT teams often revolves around the following:

• What makes our brand special?

• Are we customer-centric?

• How do we personalise our content for new and returning customers?

• Are we staying ahead of our competitors?

• What will our customers be expecting next?

• How much control will we have?

• Are we operating with real-time synchronisation?

Kaptio’s guideline is that if a commercial solution meets 70% of your needs, buying is a smart option. Because many SaaS providers work closely with their clients and value their requests for improvement, your needs are likely to be addressed.

What Makes the Difference

Each and every Kaptio Travel client is unique and has a niche in the industry that makes its products and services exceptional. However, custom-built travel tech and legacy platforms are often holding back clients from reaching their full potential. As witnessed during COVID-19, those with the most stable travel technology applications have been the ones best positioned to welcome guests back in 2021.

Decision Time

Time, money, and a team of developers will be in high demand for creating a custom SaaS travel platform. If these resources are limited, and your focus is on cutting edge digital transformation, your investment in an existing agile platform is likely your best bet. Lastly, by adopting a reputable SaaS solution, you are teaming up with a group of specialists dedicated to continuous development allowing your IT team to remain focused on driving efficiencies and day-to-day operations.

About Kaptio

The Kaptio Travel Platform is a next-generation reservation system for FIT, Escorted Tours, and Cruise Operators. Built on the Salesforce Platform, the world’s No 1 CRM, Kaptio delivers the entire end-to-end customer journey from lead, through to sale, whilst adventuring and post-trip, plus building a 360-view of your customer.

Want to know more about Kaptio Travel’s features and capabilities connect with our sales team to explore your options.