Comtec has overhauled Viewdata to improve its effectiveness as a selling tool. ViewdataPlus is Comtec’s new search-engine style toolbar which provides travel agents with connectivity to tour operators Viewdata technology and, uniquely within the industry, delivers associated digital brochure content - with summary brochure content available to travel agents free of charge.
With ViewdataPlus the trusted, but functionally limited, Viewdata system is time, are able to display photographs and enhanced descriptions related to tour operator package components. Future releases will enable the agent to issue customer documentation containing digital images and costing information, including insurance and discounts. ViewdataPlus will shortly be available inside Comtec’s EasySell agency selling tool with integration into Comtec’s agency management system TravelCat.
A key feature of ViewdataPlus is that it can be accessed without a requirement for agents to purchase system connectivity from a specific travel network supplier. This flexibility enables every travel agent to select the Viewdata and network connectivity combination that best suits their specific business needs.
Viewdata has for many years constrained the Agent’s ability to adopt and take advantage of technology which aids the selling process. However the much predicted demise of Viewdata has not materialised to date with 98% of agents still using Viewdata to book traditional package holidays and charter flights in the UK.
Simon Powell, Chief Executive, Comtec (Europe) says: “I have been in the industry for over 15 years and have predicted the death of Viewdata for much of that time. however the demise of Viewdata has never arrived. Comtec’s ViewdataPlus is not about extending the lifespan of Viewdata, but rather about enhancing it’s effectiveness in today’s demanding and competitive marketplace. By linking brochure images and descriptions Viewdata Plus creates a much more user friendly interface and improves agent’s productivity.”
Initially offering hotel-based brochure content, further enhancements to ViewdataPlus are planned by Comtec including the integration of holiday extras (e.g. parking and currency) and the ability for users to carry-out quick comparative costing between alternate travel suppliers.
Simon Powell concludes: “I have never hidden my feelings towards the Viewdata system. I believe it is out-dated, out-moded and does not offer the best selling tool in a fast-paced market. However, despite these limitations, I also realise many tour operators will not be changing their reservations systems for some time. The reality is that Viewdata will be around form some years to come and technology suppliers need to offer agents the tools they need to compete today, as well as build the systems required to support the industry into the future. This has lead Comtec to invest in radically improving a tool still widely used by most of the retail travel sector.”