Never underestimate the power of technology, especially when it comes to the travel industry.
TravelPulse recently went one-on-one with Francis Riley, the Senior Vice President of Sales for the Americas at Traveltek.
Riley joined Traveltek at the beginning of 2018, with a goal to establish a sales presence in North America and build relationships within the travel industry.
Traveltek has been delivering world-leading technology solutions to travel agents, tour operators and wholesalers for the last 20 years. They personalize solutions to meet the specific needs of their customers.
“I am thrilled to be given the opportunity to lead our sales efforts today in the U.S. where no other travel technology provider offers such a vast range of aggregated content on one single platform,” said Riley.
TravelPulse: How can Traveltek benefit travel agents?
Francis Riley: In a fiercely competitive global marketplace, the powerful technology solutions we provide at Traveltek ensure agents can remain relevant to their customers and enable the agent to work smarter. The end to end solutions we provide allow the agent a unique “one-stop shop” for multiple functions across a single selling platform that can include reservations and bookings, documentation and even supplier payments.
Imagine a world where an agent can book cruise, flights, hotels, transfers and other ancillary products in one single transaction without duplication of effort across multiple suppliers. Well with Traveltek, that is exactly what we provide.
TP: How does Traveltek help tour operators and wholesalers?
FR: Similar to agents, Traveltek provides tour operators and wholesalers a whole suite of management tools that allow them to dramatically improve their productivity, efficiencies and accuracy by saving them time, money and helping them manage their risk.
Our platforms allow tour operators and wholesalers to manage their margins as well as provide booking solutions that are multi-lingual, multi-channel, multi-currency and in consumer and business to business markets the flexibility and choice they need to manage their distribution to consumers and agents.
TP: What tools does Traveltek provide to assist its customers?
FR: A single API that connects customers to a global database of over 350 suppliers including the world’s leading GDS systems, cruise and river companies, bed banks and hotel suppliers, car rental and attractions companies, airlines and air consolidators as well as tour operators and insurance providers. Our vast portfolio of products includes some of the following:
— Dynamic Packaging solutions
— Cruise booking solutions and unique packaging modules
— Tours and events platform that helps customers control their pricing, contracts and margins
— Consumer and business to business facing websites
— CRM to manage customers data and booking inquiries
— Integrated booking platforms for employees and clients as well as mid-office systems for documentation and reporting
TP: How important is technology for a travel agent?
FR: In today’s world, a travel agent needs to remain relevant, competitive and efficient if they are to prosper. With pressures and various pain points around working with older systems or multiple systems, limited customer data, slow manual process, duplication of efforts, pressure from the OTA’s and the lack of speed and sometimes accuracy in a business can put a lot of pressure on top line sales and business costs.
The technology solutions we provide at Traveltek are purposely designed to allow the agent to take control and assist in eliminating or minimizing these pain points and instead support maximizing sales and conversion rates.
TP: How does Traveltek work with those who aren’t very tech-savvy?
FR: The team in the US, like me, are not all necessarily from a technology background. We come from sales, marketing and commercial disciplines and part of the consultative approach we adopt when working with customers or potential customers is to translate the technical requirements into practical solutions.
While our platform is extremely robust and complex in the background, the front-end couldn’t be simpler to use. It has been built and developed in consultation with some of the world’s leading travel companies, with their needs front of mind. It’s there to make the travel booker’s life easier and ensuring it’s intuitive and user-friendly is all part of that.
We also offer extensive training, training guides and 24-hour support so it’s really not the case that once the system is built, you’re on your own. Far from it, in fact. We really value our clients and we see the relationship as a partnership. Ensuring they get the very most out of the system and that it really transforms their business is what we’re all about.
As you suggest, some clients we talk to are tech-savvy and maybe have large development teams of their own, while others might be aware that they need a smarter reservation system and website but don’t really know where to begin. Both large and small have similar needs and the beauty of our system is that it caters to all.
I don’t believe anyone should fear technology just because they are not tech savvy, on the contrary, what they do comprehend is their business and the need to change and maybe adopt a new process to grow. And technology can help in so many ways.
TP: What current travel tech trends should agents be aware of?
FR: One area that I have seen considerable engagement with us from a technology standpoint has been the ability of the travel partner to curate and package cruise and tour offers. Consumer demand and the appetite for this travel offering seems to be on an upward trajectory and as such providing technology solitons to help and assist the sales of these products becomes increasingly important.
The ability to integrate cruises or tours with a range of add-ons, priced and displayed in the currency and language of choice allows for improved sales and improved customer satisfaction.
At Traveltek, for example, we offer market leading cruise booking tools that will allow the travel company to present multiple pre and post cruise flight, hotel and transfer options that take the cruise itinerary to the next level. Not just set packages either but in consultation with agents around the world we have crafted the technology whereby consumers or agents are empowered to handpick flights, hotels, transfers and attractions to create tailor-made packages to the cruise of their choice all in one simple booking journey
TP: What is Traveltek’s ultimate goal for the travel industry?
FR: Our mission is simply to help travel businesses grow and prosper. With over 400 clients across 35 markets around the world we have been true to this promise and perhaps its testament to our relationships with our clients that for many we are an integrated part of their own business strategies.
Our consultative approach, a worldwide team across multiple offices and a bench strength of product and technology expertise are why we believe we are world leading and our technology solutions set us apart from the rest. It’s also probably why Traveltek has been recognized globally by the World Travel Awards for the “World’s Leading Dynamic Packaging Solutions Provider” for the last 4 years and last year also recognized as “Europe’s Leading Travel Technology Provider.”
For more information on Traveltek, check out their website here.