How Much Does It Cost to Develop an AI-Based Travel Management Platform?

Even though the pandemic has affected all the sectors and industries globally, there isn’t one that took the blow as hard as travel and hospitality did. The cessation of all kinds of travel has made a huge dent in the industry’s growth, 4.2% of global GDP or USD 3.3 trillion, to be exact.

Now while the loss seems humongous, AI, with its unprecedented capabilities, is all set to bring the industry out of the pits. A report published by Industry Arc predicts that by 2026, the global travel and hospitality AI market will surpass the mark of USD 1.2 billion, compounding the growth of the businesses involved! That’s how big of an impact technology has on the industry, and in this post, we will explore how you can leverage the same to cultivate the growth of your travel and hospitality business.

  • By 2026, the global travel and hospitality AI market is predicted to grow by over USD 1.2 billion. 
  • A travel management system has toolkits to manage reservations, trips, travel inventory, etc. 
  • With budgeting and reporting tools, the software helps in achieving major KPIs. 
  • The cost of travel-management software depends on factors like scale, platform, number of users, and features. 
  • An AI-based travel management system can incur additional costs depending on the application involved. 

Travel Management System: An Overview

A travel management system is software that manages bookings, travel inventory, and trip packages for users. Usually, the tool is used by corporates to manage business trips for their employees. It keeps track of their expenses, budgets, travel policies, and reporting. While the software is mostly used for corporate travel purposes, you can scale it to offer similar ease and convenience to other users and monetize your services to add another stream of revenues for your travel and hospitality business.

Calculating the Cost of Developing an AI-based Travel Management System

As mentioned above, the software for travel management carries a lot of potential to become a business revenue source, but like any other active income source, the software comes with its own range of investments. Following are some of the considerations that can help you decide the cost of an AI-based travel management system.

Cost-to-Develop-AI-based-Travel-Management-System

Scale of the Product

A travel management system can be something as small as a macro-enabled spreadsheet with modules handling taxes, schedules, itineraries, and expenses of travel, stay, sundry charges, etc. On the other hand, a SaaS Travel Management System can be something colossal that would allow users from around the globe to make their travel plans easily for some subscription fees. As such, it is clear that the cost of a travel management system cannot be decided without understanding the scope and scale of its functions.

Platform to Run it on

Whether you want your travel management system to run on dedicated on-premise systems or on smartphones, a lot of the cost involved in the development project depends on the platform you decide for your system. For systems running on dedicated on-premise servers, you can have a custom solution built for your brand or else customize a subscription-based model to get the desired functionalities without much investment. For enterprises choosing to run their software on smartphones, the cost of an AI-based travel management mobile app will also get involved.

Number of Users

For a system running on cloud resources using the internet, the number of users to use the software also brings huge variations in the development cost. The reason is that the servers can only handle a certain amount of traffic; anything more than that will require you to purchase more storage and computing space on the cloud, which will ultimately reflect on the cost of the entire project. Moreover, more users on a software lead to the need for a stronger authentication system, adding another feature to the software that will require more time and resources to get developed, bringing more differences in the development cost.

Looking-to-Build-a-Feature-rich-Travel-Management-Portal

Features to Include

Ultimately, it is the number and types of features that decide the substantial constituent of a Travel Management System’s cost. Here is a list of the core features you would want to involve in your system, and then based on the other considerations mentioned above, you can get a better idea of understanding the cost of the project.

Accommodation-Booking
Accommodation Booking

The software must enable the users to book their accommodations right from the platform to make the process seamless for them. For that to happen, you should integrate the system with travel booking sites and fetch relevant data directly from there, and once a user has found the perfect deal, send them directly to the website's checkout page. Alternatively, if you have tie-ups with some hospitality brands, you can instead integrate your corporate travel management system with their booking engines and facilitate the accommodation booking even more. Now both kinds of integration come with their own cost, the former with the additional expenses of API subscription.

Transport-Booking
Transport Booking

The travel management system isn't limited to making travel plans within budget or booking the stays. Management of transportation is also a core feature of the same. Whether it is about renting a car or booking flight tickets, your travel management system should have the provisions to make it easy for the users to plan their travel and transportation easily, as per the conditions and distance of the destination locations. While doing so, empower your users with choices in terms of both pricing, comfort, and timings. They must have complete knowledge of what amount of time certain transport will take and at what prices, they must also be aware of the different facilities included with the travel booking. This again cannot be done without custom integration, which comes with a cost of its own.

Create-Itineraries
Create Itineraries

A good travel management system allows users to have a panoramic view of their entire travel itinerary. From their mode of transport to the stays in-between, and the list of places to visit, accompanied by the time and dates. This will enable them to amend their plans better if required and have better assurance of their completion. The users will then also have the facility to refine their plans as per their budgets or vice versa.

Rebates-and-Discounts
Rebates and Discounts

When it comes to making any travel plans online, most people prefer having some discounts on flights and accommodations. Now, most popular travel portals offer exclusive discounts to their users, and if your travel management system fails to provide the same, it can quickly lose customers. This is why it is important to include this feature, with discount-related information from the booking sites, on your system to retain and convert more users.

Bookmarking
Bookmarking

Allowing your users to bookmark different offers, packages, and deals will keep them coming back to your software over and again, improving the engagement rate and the number of active users for business purposes. To facilitate this feature, you will need more storage per user, where they can store the status of various offers and visit the same whenever they want.

Social-Sharing
Social Sharing

To make your travel management system more popular among your target audience, you must integrate it with different social media networks. This will allow your users to share interesting packages and important information with their friends, colleagues, family, and travel buddies easily. This will not only help promote your system via word-of-mouth marketing but also enhance the user experience.

Saving-Traveler-Information
Saving Traveler Information

The system, whether it's for corporate or for public users, must always have the capabilities for customers to save their detail. When information like name, address, contact number, preferences, payment details, etc., remain stored in the system, all transactions and bookings can complete in much less amount of time, allowing your system to close more leads in a given period. Moreover, with the details saved on the system, you can use analytics and AI to offer more personalized packages to your registered customers, improving their engagement and retention rates. Now since saving such a humongous amount of data will require storage space, and the privacy and security of the saved data will also need special configurations, this feature will also contribute significantly to the overall cost of the project.

Saving-in-progress-bookings
Saving In-progress Bookings

Making a reservation is a time-consuming affair. Adding detail, making choices, making customizations all these things take time. And after that, for whatever reason, if the user is rendered unable to complete the booking, s/he should be able to save the progress. Apart from saving the status of the reservation process, it will also be useful for the users who like to make bookings collaboratively over online means. This way, retaining the progress of the booking form will offer two features, with a minimal additional price.

Saving-Loyalty-Points
Saving Loyalty Points

Other than user information and booking form status, users must also be able to save their rewards of spending time on the software. This way, you won't only improve the engagement rates for your software but can also incentivize cross-selling of your products and services. By doing so, you can have measurable KPIs for the investment you will make on this feature.

Expense-Management
Expense Management

One of the major functions of a travel management system is to help you manage your travel finances. This is why it is important to include a separate module for expenses in your system. This module will come incorporated with calculation capabilities enabling the users to simply enter the data and then have a report of their expenses, budget, and balances produced automatically.

Expense-Reporting
Expense Reporting

Taking balances from the feature above, this feature will be used to present those figures in an intelligible manner in order to facilitate decision-making. Using visualization tools like charts and graphs, the software can help present a complete case to you around- expenses by time period, department or team, expenses of the event and its segregation, etc. This enables your team to figure out the ROI of each travel and then make better policies around the same.

Consolidated-invoicing
Consolidated Invoicing

Keeping all the invoices in one place, organizing them on the basis of trips, and then bifurcating details for audit purposes can be very time-consuming without the automation feature of advanced travel management software. This is why if you are investing in dedicated software, it is recommended to equip it with a toolkit that enables you to consolidate invoicing from various sources and categorize them on the basis of the vendor, service, team, and department then relay the data for the reporting purposes.

Review-Trips
Review Trips

The users must be able to review the details of their previous trips all in one place to facilitate easy audit and recheck the data whenever required. From such historical information, it would be easy for the user to derive meaningful insights through analytics and then use the same for cost savings and make better plan trips with resource optimization. These historical entries can also be used to review which of the trips went as expected and which didn't, or how travel policies were being adhered to on different journeys, and if not, what have been the consistent blocks, and so on.

Mobile-Version
Mobile Version

If you want to update data in real-time, even when the travelers are on the go, it is suggested to build a mobile app for the platform too. Now you can build a SaaS platform with a responsive web version of it to do the job. However, it is possible that on some of the trips, the travelers may not get network reception all the time. As such, a mobile app with status-saving features for offline mode will come in handy and make things easier for everyone involved.

Cost of AI Implementation

Since we want to learn the cost of an AI-powered travel management system, the features above alone cannot decide the project’s cost. Here are some of the other essential factors around Artificial Intelligence that contribute to the system’s development cost.

Read More: How much does it cost to develop a Travel App like Travelocity?

Type of AI

There are different ways to implement AI in a travel management system, and each comes with a distinct price range. Here are some of the major applications for your consideration-

  • Chatbots:

Live chatbots are among the most popular AI applications for not just travel but all the other industries as well. They assist businesses in automating custom support and resolving FAQs quicker than humans can with better accuracy even. This improves customer loyalty by offering dedicated services for issue redressal and order updates. They also help in cross-selling through product recommendations. 

  • Analytical Systems:

With AI-powered analytical systems, you can take all of the stored data and actually make use of it to make better travel policies and business decisions. From customers’ data to entries from the sales and marketing team, all can be gathered together to derive meaningful insights from their historical records. Eventually, this will help you in lowering your marketing spending by helping you make more effective strategies over time. 

  • Virtual Assistants:

Smart assistants integrated with your travel management system will amplify their effectiveness and availability multifold. You can simply ask them for their trip details or to add a reminder to make a booking, etc., to facilitate your routine tasks with the system through conversational ease. While arguably it is quite an advanced application for a travel management system, the ubiquity of smart speakers and assistants will soon make this a commonplace feature too.

Know-the-Cost-of-your-Custom-Travel-Portal-Project

Conclusion

A travel management system can easily become a major source of cost-saving and improved productivity for not just a travel and hospitality business but rest others as well that involve recurrent personnel travel. As such, it is a great investment, especially if you empower it with the incredible capabilities of artificial intelligence. Now calculating a software’s development cost is not as easy as it may sound. A lot of factors, majorly your requirements, play a decisive role in the same. This is why, if you really want to know the price of your travel management system, the ideal way is to request quotes from a development company. That being said, developing an AI-based travel management software is not everyone’s cup of tea. 

In fact, if you do not choose your tech partner carefully, you can end up with a prolonged project with a ditch for all your investments. This is why it is important you select a travel management software development company after evaluating their experience in the industry as well in the next-gen technologies like AI and ML. 

Matellio, with over two decades of experience in creating bespoke travel and hospitality solutions, is one such company you can trust with your project requirements. Not only are our developers experienced in creating feature-rich travel applications, but their expertise in AI also makes them a great skilled resource to see your project to its end. All you need to do is book a free consultation call with our experts and then share your requirements with them. They will create a project plan and share a free quote with you. And just like that, you can begin the journey of your travel management system. 

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