Having a website for any business is a must these days and it is no longer considered a luxury as it was a couple of decades ago. There are almost 1.5 billion websites in the world today and many are getting added daily. Being in the travel trade, it is exceptionally important to have a website to make transactions, especially in the post-COVID-19 era. So, all travel entrepreneurs face the 5W’s – Who, What, When, Where & Why questions in front of them and they need to answer them to give them the right direction to start building the travel website.
We’ve heard and seen real life instances of standalone web developers who do half the job and then disappear or those who build sites and they are unavailable for changes. There are others who are willing to do the changes but then extracts his / her pound of flesh.
Who should build the site?
Paramount question, as in the past many travel agents have burnt their fingers in choosing the wrong company to build their website. While there are many website developers out there, few understand the travel domain and only a handful have the expertise to build, maintain and run a fully transactional travel website. Pathfndr is one of the very few in this space, that has built an AI-powered travel operating system, which provides bookable inventory with a payment gateway included. Technology and Travel operations must go hand in hand to make this successful and the team at Pathfndr is awesome at that.
What should the travel website include?
Having identified a good technology partner, the next step is to brainstorm what are the products that we are going to sell on the platform. While flights and hotels are a no-brainer, there is a lot more to travel, like airport transfers, intercity cabs, sightseeing, and activities to name a few. Apart from this holiday packages is very important to have and the most complex item on the menu. The dynamic trip creator by Pathfndr is proprietary software that has solved the problem of travel agents sitting and creating itinerary after itinerary for the clients, as this curates itineraries on the fly with real-time availability and prices.
When should we build a travel website?
If you have been in the travel business and didn’t have a website earlier, you wouldn’t have lost out on any business. Today, customers differentiate — where they can get a booking done without friction/ negotiation/ etc., they often prefer that. Today, many agents whom I know of, first get their website in place and then formally launch their agency. Time is the essence here and some websites can take months to develop.
Where should we host the site?
This is a technical question and there is no right answer to this. It can be practically anywhere in the world, but it should be on good servers with a brilliant security system. Pathfndr powered websites are hosted on google cloud servers a have a very high level of security inbuilt. HTTPS is a given and must nowadays and many algorithms that run in the background assist in deducting fraud or high-risk transactions. Since Pathfndr hosts the application and site, there is no additional cost on servers for you.
Why should we have a travel website in the first place?
The dynamics of most businesses have changed over the past many years and more so post COVID-19 and one must have a seamless bookable website. Clients no longer want to visit a travel store anymore and would like to see online the options and book instantly. Having a travel website from Pathfndr gives you the opportunity to also upload offline inventory, which is your crafted itineraries or activities and give that extra special care to your valuable clients
Once all the 5W’s have been arrived upon, the last question will make or break the entire project.
How much will it cost?
In the past, not many years ago – in recent past like 5 to 8 years ago a fully functional travel website with 2 API (1 flight & 1 Hotel) with a mid-office and basic accounting module will cost approximately Rs 12 lacs or USD 15,000 and then there is a monthly maintenance cost of Rs 20,000 or USD 250 typical. Pathfndr has cracked this bit stupendously. With Rs 750 / USD 14 for a lite plan and Rs 3,750 / USD 79 monthly subscription, this is a steal. To go from a no website to a dynamic website in minutes was unheard of before. Pathfndr launched this SaaS product to empower your agency to go from a compromise to a state-of-the-art product in less than 15 minutes!
Go ahead, give it a try – we are confident that you’ll get hooked to this AI-Powered travel operating system!