The 5 biggest risks of implementing a new travel agency back office software
This blog post will provide you with an overview of what kind of risks you need to be aware of when implementing a new travel agency back office software to your travel business.
Investing into a new software solution can be risky. Around 90% of software integrations fail due to inefficient analysis, wrong estimations and a lack of communication. Therefore, a thorough pre-planning and implementation process is crucial to get the most out of your investment in a new travel agency back office software. The following 5 points explain what the main risks are that you could be facing during that process and how you can solve them:
1. Selecting the wrong travel agency back office software
Selecting the right vendor is not as easy as it sounds. Sometimes it can end up like finding a needle in a haystack. Either take an established software vendor which has already a lot of good references or take the entirely new developed one and be the forerunner in the travel industry with the newest technology? What is certain is that when you are not able to find the right vendor for your needs you will end up with technical glitches, frustrated stakeholders and, in the worst case, with an outright failure.
Pre-analysis is key. Make sure to be completely clear and straight forward with what your pains, needs and requirements are. Do your research on travel agency tools. Ask other travel agencies what they did. Sometimes getting help from a third-party company can be a solution as well.
2. Wrong budget, time & risk estimation
Having wrong ideas about the budget, the time the implementation will take and the risks it bears, is a common mistake. Of course, there is always a small probability of rising costs and push backs of the go-live date that have to be accepted when executing a project of such a scale. But software buyers that are too optimistic and set unrealistic goals will end up having unpleasant surprises which could have been avoided when setting appropriate budgets and times.
In order to make the implementation process as smooth as possible, it is necessary to discuss with the software vendor beforehand what expectations you have. Make sure you have a common ground when you start off with the implementation of the new back office software.
3. Unknown & wrong requirements
Often times the software buyer does not know about the specific details of the implementation process and its specifications. This lack of knowledge leads to problems that occur during the software implementation itself, meaning that it is often times too late to go back. Problems arise in form of work delays, missed milestones, rising costs, frustrated stakeholders etc. Especially when looking at software for travel agencies, you should be aware of the travel industry trends and your travel business needs.
In order to get the most out of the back-office software implementation, you need to know exactly what you need. Need in terms of: what functional areas should be covered, what are the details of the requirements, who needs to be involved, what needs to be done beforehand and so on. The list is long, and you should think about every detail of your travel business before starting the implementation. Start early and write it all down. Talk to other travel agencies that have done a successful implementation in the past and do your research. That way, no bad surprises will occur during the whole project.
4. Uncooperativeness of your employees
A new software means new processes and operational procedures while getting rid of the old ones. Motivating all of your employees can be quite of a challenge here. Often times they refuse to start working with the new system or get frustrated because the new solution needs a lot of on-boarding’s and trainings to be used properly. Getting all the involved travel agents on board in order to achieve your business goals is easier said than done.
Have your business interest in mind! It is not important how many functionalities a back office software has to offer. The main functionality itself and the support of the business goal is the most important. User-friendliness of a software will help your travel agents to adopt the system and thereby faster achieve the business benefits of the implementation. Offer trainings and always state the benefits of the new travel agency back office software. Communicate clearly why decisions has been taken.
5. Not being aware of the advantage of best practice implementations
As already mentioned above, finding the right back office software to your travel business is not easy. There are different opportunities on the market and taking a decision for the right vendor requires a profound research. A lot of times it is underestimated how useful best practice implementations are.
Focus on implementing best practices! It will reduce your implementation time and reduce the costs and risks. Especially in the travel agency business a lot of processes are the same and comparable functionalities are required. So take a look around the travel business landscape and see where you can find best practices.
Where does that lead us?
All of the stated above risks show that implementing a new travel agency back office software is not as easily done as one might think. It requires a profound pre-analysis and thorough implementation process. If all the involved stakeholders are aware of potential risks and know how to circumvent them, there is no reason to be worried about the implementation at all!