What's Next for Group Sales Traffic?

As people breathe sighs of relief that 2020 is over, they are looking to 2021 with hopes—of some semblance of normalcy, of seeing their friends and family in closer quarters, and of traveling. Some have already made travel plans for the future.

Now that a vaccine is starting to become available, many airlines are anticipating a resurgence of travel, especially once a vaccine is more widely distributed. Group bookings, especially in Asia and the Middle East, are a particular focus due to upcoming major world events like the World Cup and Summer Olympics. In order to drive group bookings and ensure they are revenue optimal while creating efficiencies, airlines will need robust solutions to manage group pricing, booking, and ticketing. For many of the airlines around the world, by driving group bookings, they will be able to regain market share and be back on a firm path to recovery.

During a time marked with a laser focus on recovery of the airline industry, PROS has launched three new Group Sales Optimizer (GSO) editions. Now more than ever, airlines need tailored group management and sales solutions to drive recovery and encourage better relationships across travel agencies and passengers looking to travel again for events and tourism. PROS understands that there is no one-size-fits-all for our airline customers and therefore created editions that meet the needs of airlines based on their business goals, strategies, and infrastructure needs while also allowing for runway so that airlines can easily adopt additional features as their business grows. Here’s a quick overview of the GSO editions:

GSO Essentials

GSO Essentials provides a simple, intuitive tool for airline sales users to request and book groups on behalf of travel agencies and turn around quotes in no time. This degree of automation, where everything before was manual, allows sales teams to be more efficient and process more group requests, meaning more business, and incremental group revenue. GSO Essentials aims to be a lower-cost solution with quick implementation times, resulting in quicker realized ROI. 

GSO Advantage

GSO Advantage provides a comprehensive group management system that allows airlines to manage more complex group scenarios. With GSO Advantage, airlines can create an efficient workflow between travel agencies, sales, and RM to drive group bookings. More self-service capabilities for the travel agent means airlines can focus resources on other initiatives, such as more group volume, which means more revenue!

GSO Ultimate

GSO Ultimate is an end-to-end group management system for the airlines. From the creation of a request, to booking and ticketing, all these actions can be performed in one place. GSO Ultimate is an ideal solution for an airline that is looking to completely revolutionize their group business. 

Along with these editions, PROS rolled out some much-needed capabilities requested directly by our customers that should dramatically change the group booking and management process:

Outside Reservation Window

Airlines are recognizing that passengers, especially during the current conditions, are wanting to make travel plans beyond the normal system range, which is usually 365 days. In addition, many airlines are giving extended travel credit for cancelled or rescheduled trips and trying to recruit future travelers for major world events that are more than 365 days away.

Today, airlines either do not have a process for ORW or else their process is manual. If an ORW request comes in, most airlines either can’t price it or can’t book it. The offer would be tentative, provided by phone or email, and subject to terms and conditions. By PROS automating this process, we are making the pricing and booking more efficient and doing the request tracking for the airlines. 

PROS Outside Reservation Window (ORW) is now available in GSO for all customers. This feature allows airlines to request group bookings beyond the system range, resulting in incremental volume and group revenue. All reservation systems have a system range, which is the number of days in advance that you can book a seat on a flight. With this feature, we’re allowing groups to make requests outside of the system range.  

ORW requests have long been a hindrance for airlines and travel agents. When one of PROS Middle-Eastern carriers requested the functionality, we decided to take the opportunity to provide it for all of our carriers. Our ORW model was developed through close collaboration with our network of airline partners. Since PROS is system-agnostic, we were able to solve for all reservation systems instead of just one in particular. This is an example of why PROS is a leading GSO provider within the industry. 

Ticketing

Originating from a request made directly by our customers, another feature PROS recently released via our GSO solution is Ticketing.

The Ticketing feature provides the ability to manage the group booking process end-to-end, thereby eliminating dependence on legacy systems and normalizing costs. 

Feedback from Our Customers

PROS currently has 18 airlines around the world using our GSO solution. Here’s a recent video testimonial from Etihad, our long-time customer, about how PROS GSO has transformed their group business.

PROS has made Group Sales less complex, more user-friendly, and very flexible for airlines and travel agents with a fluid, transparent process and by dynamic, real-time pricing and search results in the blink of an eye. For more information, check out our GSO product page or reach out to PROS for a demo today. We at PROS can’t wait to start traveling again. Where do you hope to go next?

About the Author

Genevieve Todd

Genevieve Todd is a Product Marketing Manager who creates messaging and content for PROS Airline industry and solutions. She has a keen editorial eye and enjoys bringing a creative flair to the travel solution content creation work.

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