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How to choose a travel itinerary app strategy for your TMC

Posted by Mike Atherton on 01 June, 2016

Travel Itinerary App Strategy

Once you’ve decided to “go mobile”, understanding your priorities, requirements and capabilities as a TMC is crucial to how you deliver on your travel itinerary app strategy. There are three main options available:

  • Use a GDS owned travel itinerary app
  • Partner with an experienced provider in travel technology to offer an app
  • Self-build a travel itinerary app

Download our guide to developing a mobile strategy for your TMC here and plan  to exceed your travellers' mobile expectations.

After reading this post you should have a clear idea of which strategy is best suited to your TMC and your traveller communication preferences.

Travel itinerary app strategy

When should you use a GDS owned app?

Criteria:

  • Controlling the traveller experience is not a priority for you
  • Creating a consistent user experience is not a priority for you

With a GDS owned application, the GDS has control over post-booking traveller experience, including merchandising, as opposed to you. This means you may miss out on any future mobile post booking revenue and of course you will be promoting the GDS brand rather than yours. Apps supplied by GDS companies also tend to have limited customisation options for branding or agency personalisation preferences. Whereas most will want the possibility of having control of the mobile app communication channel, for some TMCs it is not a priority and an app provided does the job, although this is becoming less common.

If your agency is multi-GDS or off-GDS bookings are a significant part of your business, you will also likely want to avoid GDS owned mobile apps. GDSs typically don’t like to work together, so creating a consistent user experience for bookings, no matter their source, is extremely challenging when pursuing this strategy. However, if creating a consistent user experience isn’t a major concern for you, then using multiple GDS mobile apps may be a practicable option. 

When should you partner with a travel data app provider?

Criteria:

  • Controlling the traveller experience is a priority for you
  • Creating a consistent user experience is a priority for you
  • Developing and supporting a mobile app is not a core competency for you or it does not fit your business strategy timescales

For most TMCs it’s important to maintain control of the traveller experience for ancillary revenue streams and personalisation potential, and to ensure consistency in the user experience. Travel data specialists that provide completely customisable and revenue generating mobile apps certainly support these TMC priorities.

If you do not have the time or capacity to develop, maintain and support a mobile app within your agency, partnering with a travel technology supplier is an excellent alternative. Even for TMCs with a strong technical capability, developing a mobile app is a long-term, on-going project and this may not be the best way to support your business strategy. In these instances, partnering with a travel technology provider is a suitable strategy for offering a powerful mobile application.

When should you self-build a travel app?

Criteria:

  • Controlling the traveller experience is a priority for you
  • Creating a consistent user experience is a priority for you
  • Developing and supporting a mobile app is a core competency for you and it fits your business strategy timescales
  • A multi-disciplinary project team is within your budget

For a TMC that wants full control over the design, functionality and revenue generating potential of its mobile app, and has the capabilities and budget to develop, maintain and support a mobile app, self-building is a feasible strategy.

Whilst self-building is a challenging project, it allows you to completely personalise the mobile communication channel according to your TMC’s specific needs. It can also be worthwhile if you want to create an app for users of niche operating systems, where third-party produced apps are unavailable. For utmost flexibility, self-building a travel itinerary app is a desirable strategy, providing you have the available time and resources.

For further advice on making the most of your travel itinerary app, download our mobile strategy guide for travel management.

Developing a mobile strategy: a guide for TMCs

Topics: Travel Apps