Travel agency front and back office systems
Almost every travel agency in the world works with a Front Office or Back Office application and in many cases with a single tool that acts both as a Front and Back Office application for the travel agency. The Front part refers to the management and administration tasks and activities that are related to customer. The Back part refers mainly to the accounting related activities of the travel agency sales/purchasing figures.
Most travel agencies work with a wide variety of decentralized applications. These applications' usages can be classified into the following categories.
- A website normally considered as a door way to the outside world/consumers
- One or more GDS (Global Distribution Systems)which is used to handle online reservation/booking of mainly Hotel, Flight, Car products from different suppliers
- A Front or Back Office application or a single application that acts as both Front and Back office application which in turn does the following:
- Retrieve information from the GDS
- Combine the information from the GDS with some extra information such as the customer details, passenger/traveller names etc.
- From here, the system can create travel documents such as travel plans, invoices, credit notes and vouchers
Ideally a Front Office application, it ought to be able to communicate with the GDS and at the same time allow the creation and maintenance of the website as well.
A travel agency without a Front or Back Office application is most likely not able to do business effectively. It could easily be compared to two people writing a letter where one uses a type writer and the other uses a computer and a word processing application. With the amount of information handling required within a travel agency, and the tight competition between travel agencies within the local or global market, manual management and administration of these tasks is next to impossible without a tool that combines Front Office and Back Office tasks of a travel agency.
Back Office is the Back-bone of a Travel Agency which is equally important to the Front Office Operations. Travel agencies are working with a strict deadlines from IATA for its payments and other related things. For an IATA/SSI Agent, BSP (Billing and Settlement Plan) will be sending the statement of accounts for each fort-night three or four days after that fortnight. The agent has to make the payment to BSP on or before the 1st day of the next fortnight. If he failed to make the payment or make delay in paying three time in a calendar year, their access to issue the ticket will be revoked automatically. And this fortnight cycle will be continuing through-out the year.
So a very good back office system is a must for its survival