A NEWLY forged collaboration will allow tour operators to upload supplier rates to booking systems automatically to save hours and hours of manual data entry, a longstanding bugbear within the travel industry.
Creating this solution are TourConnect, which offers traditional travel suppliers online tools for distribution, and tour operator software solution provider Tourplan, both of which reached an agreement last week.
The integration allows tour operators to load partner suppliers’ rates directly onto their systems at “the touch of a button”, with the first version of the integration to be rolled out for the 2016-2017 contracting season.
Mike Herrmann, president and founder of TourConnect, highlighted the scope of the problem to TTG Asia e-Daily. “Many tour operators have developed their own website to let suppliers load rates directly into their system (to solve the manual entry problem); however, that's a problem because that means a supplier then has to go into each individual system to load their rates. It's also just shifting the burden of data entry to the supplier.”
TourConnect offers the world’s first solution that “skips the manual loading part of the process regardless of what booking system the tour operator is on”.
“The integration with Tourplan is simply the first booking system we are proving this with. We can add more tour operators and more booking systems because we are a neutral third party,” he explained.
“As we add more partners, it means suppliers can enter their rates one time, in one place, but have them automated into many tour operators. This entering of rates once is truly where the skipping of the manual data entry is achieved.”
Asked how TourConnect helps tour operators that its suppliers work with but who are not under Tourplan’s network, Hermann said TourConnect provides a “clean” and standardised PDF sheet with supplier rates that makes processing easier.
But he added: “Our tour operators often introduce us to the booking management systems they are using, as we can integrate with any booking system.
“Our ultimate goal is to automate the entire rate process for everyone in the industry, regardless of the system they are on.”