Content fuels the business of travel. Inspiring client itineraries are built on a foundation of great content. On its own, content isn’t a challenge – where to find it, in what format, how easy it is to use, and how to develop a business intelligence around it are the real challenges. We examine 3 leading travel software systems to assess how they deal with the challenges of content in itinerary building.
What kind of content itineraries need
An itinerary is like the recipe for an amazing, memorable experience, with a long list of vital ingredients to make it work.
A professional itinerary should typically include photographic and moving imagery, written text, logistical detail, and the expertise of an informed, trained travel professional.
Deconstructing itinerary content:
- pictures, virtual tours, videos – destinations, site attractions, activities, excursions, day tours, restaurants, accommodation, and the experience as a whole
- descriptions – as above; also country and climate info, dress recommendations, cultural taboos, directions, general travel guidance and advice
- logistics – airport and port locations, train and bus stations; flight info; maps. self-drive routings, transfer and car hire details
- fine print – inclusions, exclusions, Ts & Cs, fact sheets, agent commissions and supplier specials
- contact details – tours consultant/travel agent, service providers, Meet & Greets, tour guides
- optional extras – alternative room types/units or recommended activities excluded from the tour price
- customisation – itinerary translations into the client’s preferred language; option to customise descriptions, pics and routings
These content ingredients in interactive format compel viewers to engage with their itineraries for longer, especially if they’re easily consumable in user-friendly outputs, and shareable. Emotive, visually-appealing imagery sells itineraries better, especially if it’s up-to-date and downloadable. Finally, everything must be mobile-responsive.
How itinerary building tools deal with content
Research indicates no shortage of itinerary building software designed either for the travel trade or for travellers – we happily dismiss the latter for your superior destination knowledge and tourism expertise, 2 fabulous reasons travellers can’t do without you! Here are 3 leaders on the B2B travel tech stage: Award-winning Travefy states its purpose as itinerary management for travel professionals; start-up TripCreator automates processes, builds travel packages and completes itinerary bookings in one; Wetu services travel agents, destination management companies, tour operators, restaurants, accommodation and activity providers with content management, distribution and itinerary building tools.
For all their differences, they have this one shared purpose: to create inspirational shopping experiences.
How it works
Create custom or templated itineraries to be reused in future.
Find & book flights, hotels or vacation rentals, activities, as well as map activity details.
Each added activity or place to go is automatically plotted on a map.
Automatically generate itineraries based on preferences or themes with the option to make adjustments.
Suggested itineraries are generated by an algorithm.
Users indicate preferences in travel style, budget, desired pace, & receive a suggested plan that can be customised.
Create interactive, digital itineraries in different languages for a personalised, visual, in-depth experience.
Add fields like accommodation details, route planner, daily notes & additional info.
Users can classify suppliers by rating their product content & tagging based on themes or amenities.
Users can create a Library of their own content to reuse on future itineraries.
Access & search an integrated database of hotel, restaurant & point-of-interest photos. Upload, import or copy & paste photos & docs from supplier websites.
Access a destination information library of City Guides.
Work with activities, accommodation & flight content from travel brands like TripAdvisor, Google, Foursquare.
Add manual info & use the explore tool to find things to do in or near an area.
Destination info includes photos, mapped points & descriptions: Overview, Shopping, Nature & Outdoors, Public Transport, Events, Nightlife, Dining, Pharmacy, Airport Info, Passport/Visa, Electricity, etc.
Users can create, add & use their own content, save it offline to a library for future use.
Find & arrange accommodation, transportation, flights, activities, cruises, points of interests.
Select places to visit & write location descriptions.
Text provided for descriptions of attractions is pulled from Wikipedia.
Includes the most popular places of entry, including harbours, airports & train stations.
Centralised, quality, up-to-date destination content & product content managed by suppliers themselves.
Operators, DMCs & travel agents can customise imagery & descriptions.
Includes transfer or transport info, flight details & routes, self-drive or hiking routes (customisable), cruise info, rail travel, mobile accommodation.
Media-rich imagery in high resolution, landscape format, including photos, videos & virtual tours.
Descriptions: general travel guidance, local transport, Ts&Cs, country info, banking & currency, electricity standards, climate, cuisine, company info, recommended dress.
Display tour details on an interactive map with alternative accommodation & recommended activities linked.
Itinerary content available in multiple languages via Machine Translations.
Travellers can access their itineraries via web link, PDF or mobile app.
Customers get a simple free app to view their itinerary & receive updates, online via email or a shareable link.
Itineraries can be printed or viewed on-screen as PDF.
Content is represented in map or calendar view itineraries.
Clients can view mobile-friendly digital, virtual map-based itineraries or use the TravelKey iOS & Android mobile app to access directions, maps & other tour info on- & offline; or view a printed version.
Users can create & embed sample itineraries onto websites via APIs.
Create unique itinerary templates with customisation.
|What users say||
“City guides have tons of helpful info on cities, things to do/see & places to eat & hang out. Lists can be curated to fit the taste of a client.”
“The tour, airline & cruise databases are useful..You can search for saved items that other people have created & saved”
“The image gallery can improve. So too some of the hotel descriptions & content of lesser known hotels.”
“..struggled with making photos & graphics look good. Specifically for the mobile screen. The formatting of text sometimes looked funny.”
“Content from previous itineraries can be quickly replicated”
“..the ability of the offline directions is very good.”
“..overcomes the hassle of having a dozen tabs open on your computer, trying to mix & match everything together”
“..it takes a bit more work than I would like to enter all your trip details, such as flight numbers.”
“I liked getting self-drive details like driving distance with stops recommended en route”
“Up-to-date images & info on all the properties helps to sell the itinerary. Interactive & interesting for clients. The map feature is so appreciated by my US clients who need to know where all these places are located.”
“All the destinations you’d like to possibly include have detailed copy which will honestly & professionally describe the whole product. Along with the copy comes a fantastic array of high quality photography..”
“..complete accommodation database including descriptions, activities & images.”
If this were your tool, what would you add?
While travellers dictate the trends that force us to look to tech for solutions, it’s our business to anticipate what they need. Did you miss anything from my recipe for the perfect travel itinerary?
Inspirational travel shopping needs itinerary building to start with the right kind of content.
It must also make your job easier. The easier your job, the better you sell, the more clients you impress. Last month’s Insights compared old school ways of content with the digital trends around travel content – this is further proof that new trumps old in the way it gears content towards the market it serves as well as the workforce making travel happen.
I wouldn’t use my time machine to revisit the past, certainly not to go back to the frustrations of inadequate travel content when its future is so exciting! Content will continue to grow in importance, and equally the tools we use to harness it. OP