, a creator and assembler of travel distribution technology, will provide the first public preview of its Travel Office product for retail agents today.
The Web-based product is designed to integrate all of an agency`s reservations, accounting and database management capabilities in one system, accessible in the same window at a single terminal.
It won`t matter which GDS an agency uses or how many other reservations systems an agency accesses for booking, said Mike Stone
, Gestation`s chief executive officer. All information from every transaction will be captured by the accounting system and in the customer relationship (CRM) program.
Stone and Joe Mazzarella
, president, will describe how some of these features work in a vendor session today at the annual TechU training event for users of the Trams back-office products. TechU is co-sponsored by Trams and ASTA.
To capture the transaction data, Stone said, Gestation developed a software package that is “booking system neutral” so it can pick up data from multiple sources.
He said it is programmed to link with the GDSs and the Web-based booking systems that agents are most likely to use. If a customer has a unique requirement, he said, Gestation would do the programming to meet that need.
On the other hand, Travel Office is not designed to provide access to the GDSs; agencies make those vendor arrangements and Travel Office will link to the system the agency uses.
Stone said the accounting piece is a reworked version of an existing accounting package; it is anticipated that any Travel Office customer would replace a current accounting system for the fullest benefit from Travel Office`s open-architecture capabilities, Stone added.
On the CRM side, he said, agents will be able to query data and fine-tune selection of those who will receive promotions. Stone said the trade “should be able to do promotions that are so targeted that the success rate is 50% or 60%.”
He said it will be possible to track travel history by individual, by household and by other relationships, and to track not only special interests but the time of year each individual typically buys travel.
There are other features that he said are unique. For example, Stone said, users can program the system to send alerts to the counselor`s screen that are relevant to each specific customer being served.
For example, he said, an agency may determine which customers are the best prospects for a Carnival cruise, based on demographics, travel patterns, etc. The manager would tell the system to alert agents when they pull up the file on one of these likely prospects. If a counselor is in a trip-planning situation, that alert would remind him or her to suggest a Carnival cruise.
Other kinds of alerts can be devised, too, Stone said, such as reminders of upcoming birthdays or other events. In addition, he said, the system can be programmed to produce timely birthday or other event cards for customers.
Stone said Travel Office, which may get another name before rollout, will be launched by the end of the year with one or more major travel partners. He said the pricing has not been determined but will be competitive.
Travel Office is comparable to the Universal Desktop which was created by Peragis for Hickory Travel Systems and which will be offered to ARTA agencies. May 15 is the rollout date for Hickory members.
Related stories on ITN:
(14/12/2001) Gestation Inc. Signs With Compaq.