Flight charter to Goa always showed a steady increase trend. The 80’s were a steady inflow but the 90’s had a much greater growth in the FTAs through charters which was primarily attributed to the “newness” of the destination and the affordable nature with an European feel [reminiscence of a Portuguese colony].
2001-02 saw a sharp decline which is attributed to the follow-on effects of Y2K which began an economic recessions with the bursting of the dot com bubble. Further, the terror strike in USA which created a global ripple effect on travel and tourism as people were apprehensive of flights. The numbers showed a sharp increase only to show a major dip during the great recession of 2008.
2013-2014 has been the best year so far with 1128 flights bringing in 261452 tourists to the state. The following year saw a decline due to various reasons such as the pulling out Monarch and Condor from the Goa charter operations and the travel ban imposed on Russian nationals to protect their foreign exchange export.
This article is written from a perspective to the hotel owner
What is the difference between a PMS, a Channel Manager, and an Online Travel Agency (Channel)?
Understanding the systems and their roles
Online Travel Agencies (Channels)
The easiest system to understand is the Online Travel Agency (OTA), otherwise known as a “Channel“.
These channels are where you have listed your property for sale, and where many of your guests search for and book your property. Great examples of these OTA channels are:
And many others
Your channels fulfill many roles, and here are the most common ones:
Listing your property for sale on their website
Providing a method for your guests to book accommodations at your property
Sending your guest bookings to the appropriate system (such as a connected channel manager, directly to your email, to a Property Management System, etc.)
Fulfilling their part of the contract you signed when listing your property with the channel
A Channel Manager is a system that broadcasts your property inventory to multiple channels, and keeps all of the information in “sync” between the channels. This way, when a booking is made at one channel, the inventory is reduced across all of your channels. This “sync” allows you to market all of your rooms to every connected channel, while at the same time helps to prevent over-bookings.
The Channel Manager maximizes your opportunity for revenue, and reduces your risk of overbookings to a bare minimum.
Your channel manager is responsible for fulfilling the following roles:
Sending Rates to your OTA’s
Sending Availability to your OTA’s (including restrictions such as Closed to Arrival, etc).
Receiving Bookings from your OTA’s
Reducing Availability counts when a booking is made and broadcasting your updated inventory to all of your connected channels
Receiving inventory (Rate* and Availability) updates from a PMS system, if connected to one, and then broadcasting those updates to your connected channels
Property Management Systems (PMS)
A Property Management System (abbreviated as PMS) is a robust and powerful system that helps you manage multiple aspects of your property. While each PMS is different, most PMS systems perform the following functions:
Stores Availability and Rates* for all of your accommodations in a calendar format, allowing you to see your open rooms and Guest bookings at a single glance
Provides an easy to see and utilize method for room/bed assignments
Takes in reservations from your connected source(s) and populates those reservations into the calendar, thus updating your Availability in their system
When connected to a channel manager, the PMS sends Availability (and usually Rate) information to the channel manager. The channel manager then sends the inventory updates to your connected channels.
The above functions are basic and apply to almost every PMS. Many PMS systems also introduce other functionality, such as:
One of the most exciting emerging travel technology trends is the Internet of Things (IoT), which involves internet-based inter-connectivity between everyday devices, allowing them to both send and receive data. Already, we are seeing examples of its role within the travel and tourism industry and this is only going to increase.
For instance, IoT technology can be used in hotel rooms to provide customers with a device that connects to everything from the lights, to the heaters and air conditioning, allowing all to be controlled from one place. In airports, meanwhile, luggage cases can be installed with sensors that will alert passengers when they pass by.
Example: Smart technology smarter airports
2. Recognition Technology
Finally, recognition technology is especially interesting within this list of key tech trends, due to its potential for removing friction from purchases and making interactions seamless. The technology itself includes finger print recognition, facial recognition, retina scanning and various other biometric identifiers.
Such technology is already being used in some hotels to allow access to rooms via finger prints, or to allow for semi-contactless check-outs. However, in the future, it is hoped that this technology may be able to allow for customers to pay for meals in the hotel restaurant simply by walking through the exit.
Example: Facial Recognition Check-in in Marriott China
3. Virtual Reality (VR)
Virtual reality has exploded in recent years, with increased availability of virtual reality headsets as home entertainment products. While much of the excitement has focused on video games, businesses and marketers have also made use of the technology, especially in terms of interactive 360 degree images and videos.
It is one of the most promising tech trends for tourism-related companies, because it allows them to digitally transport customers to a virtual recreation of a specific place. This affords hotels the opportunity to showcase their rooms, reception areas and even local tourist hotspots on their website, in order to encourage bookings. Other examples might include interactive virtual maps or VR hotel tours/ 360 video tours to present your hotel upfront.
Example: The world’s first Virtual Reality travel search and booking experience
4. Augmented Reality (AR)
Augmented reality is similar to virtual reality, but involves augmenting a person’s real surroundings, rather than replacing them. One of the major plus points of this particular technological trend is that it is cheaper than VR, with users requiring only a smartphone or tablet device which has access to the internet.
Through graphical overlays, those in the tourism industry can greatly enhance the customer experience, providing customers with valuable information or even pure entertainment. For instance, apps can allow for photographs to be augmented through filters and effects. Details about local destinations can also be displayed as a customer points their smartphone at them, providing information at the exact time that it is most relevant.
Example: Augmented reality within the travel industry
Even a decade ago, the idea of robots being deployed regularly within the travel industry would have seemed like the work of a science fiction writer. Yet, it is becoming increasingly prevalent, with artificially intelligent robots, often equipped with speech recognition technology, being used in place of information points by chains like Hilton.
Robots are also utilised for a variety of other reasons. For example, in airports, they can be used to detect concealed weapons, while some manufacturers are also using robotics to create luggage cases that intelligently follow you. Moreover, travel agents are using robots for pre-screening, making waiting times more productive for customers.
Example: Autonomous Security Robots
6. Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Away from robots, artificial intelligence is being used in other ways too. Perhaps the most obvious use within the travel and tourism industry is for customer service purposes, with chatbots possessing the ability to deliver rapid response times to problems or queries. It is also able to continuously learn from interactions with customers.
In addition, hotels and other companies operating in the tourism industry can make use of artificial intelligence to accurately and continuously sort through data. It will be able to draw conclusions about business performance or trends associated with customer satisfaction, and even intelligently manage inventories.
Example: Create Your Bot Booking Travel
7. Big Data
In modern tourism management, big data is a fact of life, and almost all companies that are successful employ their own data collection techniques. One of the biggest uses for this data is to improve personalisation, with travel companies using the information they gather to make specific adjustments to their offerings.
Another valuable use for data is to analyse current business performance. In particular, hotel owners can use big data for revenue management purposes, using historic occupancy rates and other past trends to better anticipate levels of demand. When demand is predictable, pricing and promotional strategies can also be optimised.
Kubera, the Indian God of wealth, came to the rescue of a global giant in the online travel space – Expedia.
When Expedia decided to launch its ETAAP platform in India it brought along its well set processes of the international market. But the complexity of Indian tax laws and requirements had a team of close to 10 people working 07 days straight to reconcile the marketing fee payable, calculate the TDS, issue the payment instrument, dispatch the payment document, pay the TDS, and reconcile all the accounts.
Along came Kubera, an online platform conceptualised and developed by us which reduced the entire process to 01 working day with all the validations and verifications required to successfully manage the monthly payouts to over 5000 travel agencies in India.
In 2018, Goa has 31 international cruise ship arrivals bringing 45,936 tourists to the little state on the west cost of India.
Majority of the foreign tourist arrivals, 30%, were from the United Kingdom and about 13% were from the United States. Tourist arrivals of German nationals by ship stood in third with about 15%. While Indian nationals were at about 2%.
87% of the ships for the year visited the state in a 5 month period from January to April and in December (keeping clear of the Indian monsoons from June to mid September) which accounted for 93% of the tourist arrivals by a cruise ship.