Month: March 2019

Hosted Desktops for Travel Agencies: The Features

There are many ways that travel agencies can benefit from signing up for hosted desktops from an IT hosting company.

Before we discuss the benefits of hosted desktops for travel agencies though, let’s clarify exactly what travel agencies, or any other type of business, get when they sign up for this solution:

  • Hosted desktops
  • A desktop management portal
  • Application management services
  • Infrastructure management services
  • 24×7 performance and security monitoring
  • Data security
  • Data backups
  • 24×7 technical support

What are the benefits of hosted desktops for travel agencies?

Hosted desktops

These are basically Windows desktop operating systems that the IT hosting company hosts on its servers, and that users access via the Internet.

These desktops look and perform exactly the same as the Windows desktop operating systems that you would install on your PC. For example, they have GUIs with desktops, icons, windows, taskbars, and Start menus, and you can use them to run applications, store files, send and receive emails, and browse the Internet, among other things.

Each hosted desktop is assigned to a specific user, and any changes that the user makes to his or her desktop are saved, so that all of the applications, files, and settings that are on the user’s desktop when he or she logs out will still be there when he or she logs back in.

Most hosted desktops are either Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 desktops. They’re usually accessed via a web browser or a no-cost client such as Microsoft’s Remote Desktop Connection.

A desktop management portal

Most IT hosting companies provide their hosted desktop customers with access to an online portal that allows them to monitor and manage all of the desktops in their deployment.

The portal may allow customers to add and delete desktops, add and delete Exchange mailboxes, shut down and restart desktops, and reset passwords, among other management features.

Application management services

You can easily install, uninstall, and update applications on an infinite number of your hosted desktops simultaneously.

Want Microsoft Excel installed on all of your hosted desktops? Or do you just want it installed on the desktops of your accountants? Just contact the IT hosting company, and they’ll deploy the application for you.

Infrastructure management services

The IT hosting company will handle purchasing, setting up, and maintaining all of the following:

  • Hardware (including servers and storage devices)
  • Software (including hypervisors, server OSes, and VDI management software)
  • And networking equipment used to host the hosted desktops.

24×7 performance and security monitoring

The IT hosting company will monitor your desktops 24x7x365 for performance and security problems and will respond to any problems that it finds as quickly as possible.

Data security

With the help of an IT hosting company, you are able to protect your desktops and their data from unauthorized access with security measures such as authentication systems, firewalls, IDS/IPS, gateway antivirus, and spam filters.

Data backups

Plus, your IT hosting provider will back up all of the data on all of your hosted desktops on a regular basis (usually at least once per day).

24×7 technical support

The IT hosting company will provide you with 24x7x365 technical support for problems related to your hosted desktops.

In addition, it will help you resolve problems such as:

  • Being unable to connect to or log in to your desktops
  • Being unable to launch or use applications,
  • Needing to restore accidentally deleted files
  • And integrating your desktops with printers, scanners, and other local devices

If you’re interested in learning about the benefits for travel agencies of signing up for hosted desktops, check out our follow-up article, “Hosted Desktops for Travel Agencies: The Benefits.”

Hosted Desktops for Travel Agencies: The Benefits

In a previous article, “Hosted Desktops for Travel Agencies: The Features,” we talked about the features of hosted desktops that are most relevant to travel agencies.

Now, in today’s article, we’re going to talk about how travel agencies can benefit from signing up for hosted desktops.

The main benefits of hosted desktops to travel agencies are that they:

  • Allow travel agencies to become better businesses overall—more streamlined, efficient, and agile and better coordinated
  • Allow travel agencies to serve their customers better
  • Provide travel agencies with a competitive advantage over agencies with different IT setups

How They Turn Travel Agencies into Better Overall Businesses

Let’s start with the first point, how hosted desktops make travel agencies better businesses overall.

Hosted desktops are accessible from anywhere with any Internet-connected computer, tablet, smartphone, or thin client.

They’re also highly centralized, and even a large deployment of thousands of hosted desktops can be managed relatively easily from the hosting provider’s online management portal.

Furthermore, hosted desktops are scalable, so you can add or delete any amount of hosted desktops at any time. The setup, management (including backups and security), and maintenance of the hosted desktops is mostly the responsibility of the hosted desktop provider.

Hosted desktops allow travel agencies to provide all of their employees with access to all of the applications they need, no matter where these employees are located.

This makes it easier for the travel agencies to open offices in new locations, as well as hire employees that work from home.

Which may allow the travel agency to hire employees located in other states or countries that are more talented and/or will accept lower wages than locally-based workers. Subsequently, it also helps the travel agencies minimize their real estate costs. But, without decentralizing the agencies’ IT.

Security and scalability for travel companies

Hosted desktops are highly centralized and are secured and maintained by the hosting provider. They are safe from expensive and highly-disruptive security breaches and downtime and data loss incidents.

The scalability of hosted desktops makes it easier for travel companies to add and subtract employees. Which in turn allows them to easily add temporary workers during the busy travel seasons.

As well as permanently increase their workforce without having to worry about stuck with a bunch of expensive, unused hardware if the expansion doesn’t work out.

Also with hosted desktops, travel agencies can put all of their internal resources and focus into providing travel services to their clients and not have to worry about setting up, managing, or maintaining their IT.

Most hosted desktop providers will set up, manage, and maintain your desktops for you. It also costs much less than it would cost you to hire your own IT employees.

Hosted desktops make monitoring and managing employees easier. This is possible because supervisors can monitor and control the desktops via the hosting company’s online administrative portal. It’s where they can check if an employee logs in to his or her desktop, reset passwords, block access, etc.

The applications which employees get to install on their websites and what websites they can visit also depends on the Supervisors.

Hosted Desktops for Travel Agencies Allow Businesses to Better Serve their Customers and Give Them a Competitive Advantage over Other Agencies

Of course, hosted desktops making travel agencies better businesses overall also improves their ability to serve their customers. And provide them with a competitive advantage over agencies that don’t use hosted desktops.

Hosted desktops also improve travel agencies’ ability to serve their customers by being more reliable. Your hosting provider manages and maintains them 24x7x365. This capability minimizes downtime and allows the agencies to provide 24x7x365 travel services.

In addition, the anywhere-accessibility of hosted desktops allows the travel agency to hire more agents in more locations. This helps improve customer satisfaction by allowing customers to get travel planning services in person (which some consumers prefer).

Or by allowing customers to get travel support after normal working hours. Since the travel agency will be able to hire travel agents in different time zones or overseas, ensuring that there will always be a travel agent available at all times of the day.

Meanwhile, the market for travel agency services has shrunk significantly over the decade or so. This is because most consumers now plan vacations and make reservations themselves using self-booking sites like Hotwire or Priceline.

Summary

Hosted desktops can help them gain a competitive advantage in a difficult market by:

  • Increasing their agents’ productivity (with anywhere-accessibility and support for multiple offices and telecommuting)
  • Maximizing their availability and responsiveness to customers (by minimizing downtime)
  • And making it easier for them to adapt (by being scalable)

To get the process of signing up for hosted desktops started, travel agencies should contact your preferred IT hosting company.