Dynamic Packaging for Travel and Hospitality Industry

The concept of Dynamic Packaging is to bundle all the components chosen by the aspiring traveler and create one reservation. Regardless of where the inventory originates, the package that is created is handled seamlessly as one transaction, and requires only one payment from the consumer.

To a traveler, there is nothing better than a one stop shop for his traveling needs. The Dynamic Packaging Engine uses a travel component inventory and prices. Regardless of where the inventory originates, the package that is created is handled seamlessly as one transaction, and requires only one payment from the consumer. It automatically applies rules defined by the suppliers and the travel marketer to build and price travel packages. This package configuration process determines which components are used, what combinations of components are allowed or required, and handles inclusions such as taxes, fees or additional package features. Rules also determine how the final retail price is computed.

CAPABILITIES

A typical dynamic packaging application will need the following capabilities:

1. Search and Availability

2. Memberships

3. Shopping Cart

4. Booking and Reservations

5. Payments

6. Cancellations

SEARCH AND AVAILABILITY

A traveler always seeks a destination. Even though he may well be aware of where he needs to go to, he will search for the most appropriate place to stay and enjoy his visit. The search starts with a Transportation and Travel components, Hotel Property, Leisure Components. The search therefore has to be divided geographically to include destinations and neighboring destinations that meet the search criteria. An example search could be travel to New York City, stay at Stamford, Connecticut, Golf at upstate New York. Clearly the Dynamic Packaging engine needs to know the dates of travel, from and to destinations, closest airport to hotel, rental car or other desired ground transportation from selected airport to hotel and access to tee times at the neighboring golf courses. Like the traveler, businesses also seek travel related information.

Travel Agents, Call Centers, and Meeting Planners need packaged information on behalf of their clients. Such a search is riddled with rules and complexity. Besides, the customer needs to have choices that can vary from comfort to price and everything else in between.

1. Proximity: The search uses parameters that can narrow down possibilities yet offer extended possibilities. In our search example, Westchester Airport would have been the best choice. La Guardia airport would be an ideal choice. JFK and Newark and Teterboro are the next choices from a distance to Hotel point of view.

2. Fare and Rates: The traveler will look for the best fare. In our example though Westchester is close to the hotel, offers limited Airlines and perhaps not the best fares. Some fares maybe very attractive, however when it comes to flexibility and cancellation they are not the best. Flexibility of change, penalties associated with change and cancellation are important factors to include in the search results.

3. Travel Times: That’s another important factor for the business traveler. How many flights are there to the airport and at what intervals. Check in times and total time to travel also helps in determining his choice. Therefore non-connecting and connecting flights with layover times need to figure in the search.

4. Accessibility: Another key factor often not paid attention to is accessibility. Physically impaired travelers, people who need meals on a flight, wheelchair access, and quick access to rental cars or trains or ground transportation play a very important role in travel. Do the hotel(s) have wheelchair access? Is it possible to get ground transportation to destined hotel that has wheelchair access?

5. Amenities: Does the hotel offer standard amenities like restaurants, swimming pool, health parlors, spa, fax and printing, broadband Internet access etc? Similarly does the rental car come with GPS, insurance, inter state travel? Does the Golf Course allow only cart access? Are ski rentals available near the resort? The inclusion of amenities in a search result ensures the traveler is not in for surprises at the first lap of travel.

6. Prepackaged: You want to travel, stay in a semi luxury hotel, play golf, why search for each individually. A prepackaged deal would also be more attractive than customizing the travel. Perhaps cheaper.

Travel should be far from being hostile. It is after all a home away from home. A home is a pivotal source for living and entertainment. One uses the home and its peripheral surroundings to make the best of living. The travel destinations and the mode of travel should be as non hostile and as hospitable as is possible. A dynamic packaging should offer a wealth of choices to the traveler yet not inundate the traveler with so much information that he/she is nervous wreck at the end of an itinerary creation.

ACTORS

From the above description one can determine who the obvious actors are in this case.

1. The Traveler

2. GDS (Airlines and Hotels Rate Distribution)

3. Airlines

4. Car Rental Companies

5. Hotel Central Reservation

6. Tour Operators (Buses, Ground Transportation)

7. Proprietary Aggregators (like Golf, Ski etc.)

MORE ACTORS

The Dynamic Packaging should be capable of extending the services for business-to business operations. Which would imply that our actors now are?

8. Travel Agents and Meeting Planners

9. Call Center Agents.

SHOPPING CART

The key item in dynamic packaging is the Shopping Cart. The results of search can be selected and added as line items in the shopping cart. It bundles all the components chosen by the traveler to create one reservation. This shopping cart based vacation builder allows comparison shopping of packages that can include plane tickets, hotel rooms, rental cars, insurance, attraction tickets and other features. Regardless of where the inventory originates, the package that is created is handled seamlessly as one transaction, and requires only one payment from the consumer. It automatically applies rules defined by the suppliers and the travel marketer to build and price travel packages. This package configuration process determines which components are used, what combinations of components are allowed or required, and handles inclusions such as taxes, fees or additional package features.

Travel Pet Insurance

Recent changes to the UK’s quarantine laws mean that it is now possible for you to obtain a pet passport (under the government’s ‘passport for pets’ scheme) and take your family pet away with you on holiday. However, before you run off down to your local travel agent and book tickets for the whole family to that exotic seaside tropical location you have always wanted to visit but have to put off because everyone else at home didn’t want to leave Fido in the kennel, you might want to consider getting you and your family some travel insurance – including that all important travel pet insurance.

A number of leading pet insurance providers now offer pet owners travel pet insurance to give pet owners the comfort of knowing whether they are far away in exotic places enjoying the sun and sea or closer to home enjoying the cultural delights of Europe, their pet will be insured against any illness or mishap that may unfortunately befall them.

Typically, included in the travel pet insurance is:

  • x-rays
  • injections
  • lab tests
  • prescriptions
  • costs while they stay at the vet and recuperate

    Keep in mind, however, that as with other types of insurance, travel pet insurance usually comes with what is known as an excess. In short, what this means is that you – as the owner if the pet – will be required to pay a certain amount until a threshold amount is reached. Thereafter you can claim for a reimbursement against the insurance provider. However, unlike humans, travel pet insurance premiums are usually calculated on the type of animal you have and the age of the animal. As such, it is possible to leave arranging the travel pet insurance policy until the last minute, then purchasing this online once you have decided that you will definitely be taking your family pet away with you on your family holidays!

    Moreover, as with human travel insurance policies, pet travel insurance can be purchased either as annual policy or as a one-off travel policy. If you get an annual pet travel policy, this means you can take your pet with you whenever you travel one of the 25+ countries outside of the UK which the UK government currently has arrangements for the ‘passport for pets’ scheme, or any of the European Union countries (which are all part of the ‘passport for pets’ scheme already). Alternatively, with one-off pet travel insurance policies you need to name the country you are going to visit and the dates you’ll be there and the policy will only cover you for the duration and place stated.

  • International Travel Insurance – Prudent Protection For Journeys Abroad

    Travels abroad offer the chance to tour the globe’s most exquisite attractions, become acquainted with different ways of life, and generally broaden one’s own perspective. International travels are always a fresh adventure, but unexpected emergencies or events occurring abroad can be far more disruptive and difficult than the same events might be if they occurred back home. International travel insurance is a wonderful way to attain the type of security and reassurance that comes from knowing that an unforeseen medical situation will not result in financial disaster, and that access to appropriate and necessary medical care will not be restricted.

    Tourists embarking on risky or unconventional physical endeavors, such as rock climbing, white water rafting or deep sea diving may find that the medical insurance policy which covers such activities at home will not provide coverage if such sports result in injuries while abroad. Travelers spending time in countries with nationalized health care schemes need to know that the inexpensive or even free medical care offered by those systems will likely be available to citizens only, and foreign visitors may be denied treatment or be asked to pay upfront for services. Hospitals and health care providers in other nations may decline to work with a traveler’s regular home insurance company, and demand payment in advance for necessary treatments. It is also possible that a tourist may face a medical situation so serious that proper treatment is unavailable and they must be transported home, which can be a very expensive proposition. It is quite possible that even when a traveler’s regular medical policy provides for routine health care costs while the insured is traveling, payment for an elaborate evacuation due to medical reasons would be refused. It is unexpected situations like those above which underscore the wisdom of purchasing international travel insurance.

    Intended to provide compensation for unexpected healthcare and other expenses to travelers while abroad, international travel insurance can be purchased in various types and levels of coverage, the price of which is determined by a number of factors including the duration, destination and other specifics of the trip involved. Coverage for shorter durations is often available for purchase in conjunction with the making of travel reservations. In the alternative, more extensive coverage of a longer term may also be secured. These types of policies are frequently offered by cruise operators, excursion companies, travel agents and large national general insurance firms.

    Policies for international travel insurance can be customized based on the characteristics of the traveler to be covered by the policy. Business travelers, vacation trippers, adventure tourists and students are all specific types of customers for which different kinds of policies are written. Circumstances that may be covered by these types of policies include payment of basic medical expenses incurred, accidental injury or death benefits, and possibly even funeral costs for services performed while still abroad. Medical costs incurred during pregnancy may be included in this type of policy, if the travel happens during the insured’s first trimester, and perhaps beyond, if a customized or expanded policy is purchased.

    Start a Home Based Business as a Wedding Planner for Love, Joy, and Money

    If you cannot get that old tune, “Here Comes the Bride…” out of your head, the only solution may be to start a home based business as a wedding planner. As a wedding planner, you work with other professionals to organize a celebration fit for a queen and a king. And, you get paid well for it. Now, what could be better than that?

    Your job as a wedding planner may include consulting with the bride and groom several weeks before the wedding. It often means choosing the bridal gown and dresses for the bridesmaids and flower girl, as well as suits for the groom and attendants. In addition, you may be asked to help the bride and groom write their vows, and order engraved wedding invitations.

    Other pre-wedding jobs include selecting a bridal bouquet and flowers for the reception, deciding where the reception will be held, working out a theme for the reception, finding a caterer, and booking a DJ or combo. Also, guests may need a babysitter, car or limo, and lodging.

    How much money can you make as a wedding planner? In general, planners charge between 15% and 20% of the total wedding cost. Beginning wedding planners can earn upwards of $45,000 a year, depending on the number of weddings they plan.

    To become a wedding planner, it is important to get some training. If you join a professional wedding planners’ association, you can get the education, a professional title, and job placement assistance you need. They also offer an apprenticeship program, workshops and seminars.

    Here are a few of the best wedding planner associations:

    1) The Association of Certified Professional Wedding Consultants. You can sign up for classes, a home study course, or a 5-day classroom course. Classes are held three times a year. If you take the course, work for one year, plan six weddings, and receive six letters of recommendation, you can receive a Professional Wedding Consultant title. If you want to become accredited, it takes two years of work, 18 weddings and letters of recommendation, as well as a certification project.

    2) The Association of Bridal Consultants grants you the title of Professional Bridal Consultant, Accredited Bridal Consultant, or Master Bridal Consultant. Plus, you get insurance and can network with others.

    3) The Bridal Association of America offers similar benefits.

    4) The National Association of Wedding Professionals also offers great benefits.

    Here are some professional titles you may want to have:

    Accredited Professional Bridal Consultant

    Professional Wedding Consultant

    Bridal Consultant

    Master Bridal Consultant

    Wedding Planner

    Wedding Facility Coordinator

    To find clients and expand your business, it helps to have some credentials to show. These include a portfolio of photos showing weddings that you planned, a few letters of recommendation from clients, membership in a large wedding planners’ association, and a list of services you offer.

    Last of all, here are 4 success tips from professional wedding planners:

    * Keep costs under control and stay within your clients’ budget.

    * Network with the best caterers, florists, event planners, honeymoon travel agents, and photographers in your area.

    * Relieve any stress on the bride and groom as well as on the families.

    * Send a thank-you letter, and a small gift to your clients a day or two after the event.

    There is not room here to talk about the fun there is in planning a wedding. As long as you can organize, keep calm, and you have a sense of humor, you probably have what it takes to start a home based business as a wedding planner.