Telewest Travel is extending its broadband offering to appeal to agents with smaller budgets.Head of Telewest Travel, Keith Webber commented: “We have been selling broadband for a year now and what we have realised is that, as a delivery mechanism for the travel industry, broadband is a de facto requirement. But one size does not fit all.”
Consequently, Telewest has launched a couple of cheaper broadband alternatives to its standard GBP89 per month package. Agents can now choose from a managed broadband package from GBP59 per month or unmanaged from GBP29 per month. (Broadly speaking, an unmanaged system means faults need to be reported, rather than being automatically detected and solved by an unmanaged system).
Mr Webber added: “Broadband has sold extremely well and the take-up of it in the travel industry has been faster than other sectors.”
He added that although price was not inhibiting uptake of broadband, he thought the increased portfolio of broadband products would increase the speed of migration. He also said that there was a certain amount of the attitude of, ‘if it’s not broken, don’t fix it’, stopping agents from changing systems.
Telewest says that the price of broadband means independent agents haven’t been left in the wake of larger companies. Mr Webber said: “If you look at technological development over the last ten years, often the leaders were the vertically integrated companies, with the independents following. But with broadband they [independent agents] are taking it up just as quickly because they are not inhibited by the price.”
Mr Webber pointed out that agents still get more through the GBP29 package than they would through a conventional broadband package because of the Viewdata connectivity, access to Worldspan (if they are Worldspan-enabled agents) and the various travel products and services available through the Telewest agency portal, Endeavour.
He added that Endeavour now offers agents more than it previously did due to a number of recently signed deals, announced at WTM. Agents can now book train tickets with Qjump, insurance through A&H Risk Services, and more hotels through OctopusTravel and Active Hotels. Mr Webber told TravelMole that Telewest was hoping to make Endeavour as comprehensive as possible, so “agents can sit in Endeavour all day”, without going to other sources for travel products and services.