The other day, I happened to bump into a friend of mine. We haven’t seen each other for over half a decade if you ask precisely. Since both of us have a background in travel industry, we started talking. Turns out, this friend of mine has been working in one of the leading B2B Travel Agency in the Sales department. His position is something that struck my interest and in no time we got to talking about the technicalities and challenges on our respective jobs. With deeper interest in the same domain, it hit my curiosity bone and we got to talking on how SaaS-based travel technology is trending nowadays and how businesses, especially businesses in travel domain prefer SaaS-based technology, instead of a completely managed, dedicated hosting of software. While having this conversation, I decided to write this blog and try to explain my travel fraternity friends what is SaaS and what are the benefits of SaaS-based Online Travel Agency Software.
So, let’s start with a basic understanding of what SaaS-based technology is. SaaS or ‘Software as a Service’ is a software delivery method that provides access to software and its functions remotely as a web-based service. In simple, non-technical terms, SaaS is a software distribution model in which applications are hosted by a service provider (vendor) and made available to its customers over a network, commonly via the internet.
SaaS is usually hosted on a shared cloud-based infrastructure called Infrastructure as a Service. The software is a single code based, database instance using a multitenant architecture. Every partner (travel agency) gets a logical cut out of it, which is equal to the managed dedicated hosting of the software. Logical deployment of this software keeps different online travel agencies completely isolated right from the presentation layer to the data layer. Given the basic understanding of SaaS, here are some main reasons why a travel agency would prefer SaaS offering over managed software:
Time to Market
Implementation of time frame against their ‘Time to Market’ needs is usually a problem for most of the travel agencies. SaaS is a configuration based architecture. As a travel agency, you can decide your software setup, and it can be easily configured on the superset of SaaS offering without even a single line of new code. The kickoff period can range from a minimum to none helping travel agencies to ‘go to market’ faster.
Low in Cost and Easy Business Growth
SaaS works on shared resources. So it usually is a way more economical solution over managed software. SaaS works on ‘pay as per your usage’ or as an ‘on demand service’. So, cost is always in proportion to the business that a travel agency does. Software scaling is managed by a technology provider; agencies can focus on their business growth and let the technology provider take care of the software scaling.
New Features at a Low Cost
As mentioned already, SaaS architecture uses a configuration model. That means the online travel agent partner is configured for required subset of features from the superset. If you need any additional feature or features in the future, and they exist in the superset, enabling it by simple configurations is a very fast and simple process. In the case of a particular feature which an online travel agent partner is looking for is not available in the superset, you might get it at very low cost in the same model. As there are more customers using the software, most of the new feature needs are coming from multiple partners using it. The demand for a particular feature is directly proportional to its importance, and the price of it will also be considerably low as it will be shared among multiple partners.
High in Availability and Reliability
Though I don’t wish to get into the technical details of SaaS architecture in this blog, it is essential to mention a little about SaaS application architecture which is an important aspect of availability and reliability of this software. For example, a SaaS provider can hide any unreliable piece of the software with multiple redundant alternatives. Sharing these redundant alternatives within all partners brings the cost factor down for partner travel agency. It is exactly like signing up a Mediclaim policy for your entire family, instead of taking one separately for all individuals. The reason being, all members of the family will not need it at the same time and whoever needs it, can get the maximum benefit from the family Mediclaim policy.
Though application architecture does not sound like a governing factor while deciding technology for your online travel business, it is though one of the important factors. If your technology vendor is providing you with a SaaS-based software solution, it talks about few more important aspects like quality of the software, qualitative and faster third party integrations, disaster recovery at lower cost, etc. Of course, you might need to know more about the SaaS architecture to understand this well, and then it becomes a separate topic altogether.
Leave it to the Expert
Going by SaaS route helps travel agencies to focus on their business and not worry about any aspect of the technology. So an expert is managing your technology for you, and you can focus on your business growth and other affixations. To conclude I believe, SaaS-based software are easy to use as they already come with best practices and samples inside it. With its high adoption capability and seamless integration quality, the multitenant architecture can scale indefinitely to meet the customer demands. Therefore, SaaS-based online travel agency software has more advantages than one, over managed software.
I have tried to keep it travel business-centric with minimum technical details. I hope, I am able to help my readers and travel agency owners with a better understanding of SaaS-based Travel Technology Platforms and its advantages.
N.B: This post is made by Sanjay Ghare. Sanjay serves as a Delivery Manager for the SaaS team at tavisca. He has managed and migrated many online travel businesses successfully through the years to a cloud platform. You can directly reach Sanjay at – firstname.lastname@example.org.