Asian Trails creates superior sourcing
Asian Trails creates superior sourcing
Asian Trails is bucking the trend of Artificial Intelligence (AI) threatening jobs – we are actively recruiting humans not robots!
This is part of our huge investment in online contracting and the creation of a new sourcing department to facilitate the shift from a product team set-up to a well-resourced and streamlined sourcing unit.
Previously, a lot of our initial contracting was performed by the product team; day-to-day negotiations were done by inbound teams; the signing of contracts and loading were completed by the product management side; and extra allotments and securing promotions were undertaken by the commercial team.
These processes have now been assigned to a dedicated larger unit of skilled professionals tasked with taking our sourcing to a more sophisticated level in the DMC arena.
Commenting on this exciting new development, Asian Trails’ Regional Sourcing Director Dídac Wipf said: “The new strategy enables us to ensure that we better manage contracts and relationships, proactively engage with suppliers, engage in ongoing conversations as to how we can improve collaborative approaches, share data, and capitalise on as many promotions as possible.
“This is a reason we are investing in bigger teams now so we can build up a quality portfolio on a more strategic basis. We have invested heavily in personnel because our approach to contracting has changed dramatically.
“Now, every sourcing employee has a dedicated portfolio to manage. Before, it was first come, first served, upload into the system and move onto the next hotel. Now everyone in the larger team is assigned a designated geographical area, with the allocation of a certain number of hotels and targets to increase business volume.”
Besides boosting Asian Trails’ human capital, our innovation has involved a major investment in technology in order to equip the sourcing team with the right tools to provide the best services to hotels, in particular, access to both static and dynamic rates and immediate confirmation of bookings.
Dídac said: “Channel manager platforms, which function as a bridge between a hotel and a supplier like Asian Trails, have changed the way we distribute our supply portfolio and conduct business. The hotel can now be more independent and move the rates as they wish.
“They also don’t have to bother about sending us stop sales – they can do it directly through a channel manager themselves. This also gives us more leverage for our clients and we have the ability to provide them with more rate options and competitive prices.
“Channel managers also enable us to pay our suppliers via a virtual credit card, allowing more options and greater confidence regarding credit flow. Having this flexibility on payment terms also helps us to negotiate better rates.”
Although Asian Trails has lately focused more on humans than bots, AI will play an integral role in our ongoing growth, especially in improved data gathering to help us to conduct more intensively researched negotiations for better rate intelligence and technical loading.
Dídac said: “AI will be focal in our development, but at the end of the day we will always need humans. AI is not able to negotiate, it does not have the ability to go to hotels, explain how we can provide support, address any challenges and create better products.
“We will always need people to complete hotel inspections, conduct supplier inspections and ensure health and safety requirements are met. AI’s strengths are in auto benchmarking and ensuring higher visibility reporting.”
The pivotal change in the way we conduct sourcing is also backed by our state-of-the-art B2B booking platform eConnect. This offers global connectivity to hotels, activities, transfers and multi-day tour reservations at the click of a button.
eConnect enables us to present our products online more effectively compared to a conventional brochure as we can update content, benchmark our rates and product details and share details instantly with online travel agencies.
It also provides full autonomy to conduct necessary checks before we disseminate information to clients and helps during negotiations with suppliers as we can show more clearly how their products and services are presented to our customers.
The heavy investment in technology, such as eConnect, and personnel is already enhancing Asian Trails’ reputation as a DMC market leader, with positive feedback from stakeholders.
“From a DMC perspective, we are definitely breaking ground in investing in technology and personnel. This is bucking the trend of reducing people within companies,” said Dídac.
“I am not aware, regionally speaking, of any other company that is investing in people or technology as much as we are,” he added.
For more information about how to boost your travel products and services via our channels, get in touch with our Asian Trails Sourcing Team.