Tour operator systems provider Travelink
has signed a three-year technology deal with Thomas Cook-backed specialist tour operator UP Trips Ltd. The contract represents a significant investment and covers reservations systems for the whole UP Trips portfolio, starting with new component holiday brand, Cultura.
Travelink will drive and connect each of Cultura’s sales and reservations channels. These include a customer contact centre and sales team in Bradford, Brighton-based commercial and marketing teams, Viewdata, and trade and customer web sites.
The partnership will allow Cultura Trips to sell different components of a holiday through Viewdata -something that traditionally has been thought not possible.
This is the first time in many years that a company within Thomas Cook UK has introduced a new reservations system. Four providers competed for the business and Travelink was selected after a six-month review process.
“Cultura Trips is a specialist brand and we wanted a system that would cope with a radical new approach to holiday marketing, and some complex sales and pricing requirements,” said UP Trips managing director Andy Tidy.
These include the ability to vary products by the sales channel used, instantly change pricing according to demand, and to sell to markets other than the UK.
Travelink managing director David Jones said “channel flexibility” was increasingly becoming an important requirement for tour operators.
“Viewdata is no longer the only method of distribution,” Jones said. “Operators are now much more switched on when it comes to fully exploiting all available channels in order to increase sales and maximise margins. It’s one of the things our technology helps them do really well, and it’s why our product is so interesting to organisations like Thomas Cook.”
Jones said it was also important for operators to let travellers book components of a holiday.
“Many holiday-makers now want to manage part of the planning and booking process themselves. If operators want to compete for this DIY market they have to give customers that flexibility, while at the same time offering financial protection that the customer cannot get by packaging themselves.”
Tidy said Cultura would be launched with a substantial marketing campaign once all the booking systems were in place and testing had been completed.