Last week, The Travel Corporation (TTC) announced its latest initiative, a venture into the tech space with an industry-first travel portal.
Of course, a travel portal is not an industry first, though the depth of offering is.
My Travel Portal (MTP) focuses on guided holidays and river cruising and offers agents the ability to personalise client trips, as well as hosting e-documentation.
According to TTC, MTP allows agents to create profiles for their clients which “enables a seamless experience when in destination: from saving time at border crossings and hotel check-ins, to helping save the planet with e-documentation instead of paper versions being issued”.
To launch MTP, TTC also partnered with a non-profit organisation focused on global reforestation One Tree Planted, pledging to plant a tree for every guest who opts out of printed travel documents.
The travel brand has already committed to the reforestation of several hundred acres of barren and devastated land.
To learn about how the tool will aide agents and what importance tech platforms have in our ever-changing industry, Travel Weekly sat down with TTC CEO John Veitch to find out more.
Travel Weekly: Why do you want to help agents with this service?
John Veitch: TTC is committed to equipping our valued agent partners with the best tools for success, and the new My Travel Portal aims to deliver on just that.
Simply put, our business only continues to thrive through the help of our agent partners, so we place a high emphasis on strengthening the relationship we’ve built over the last 70 years by providing seamless services, and of course, delivering amazing travel experiences for their clients.
There is no changing the fact that we are all increasingly time poor, so it’s important that we seek any opportunity to create and introduce ‘agent-friendly’ initiatives that make aspects of their jobs as simple and easy as possible.
As part of this, we identified an industry need for a single robust platform that housed all traveller information, foremost to enable the highest level duty of care.
We also aim to satisfy the demands of travellers for greater personalisation, sharing capabilities and effortless visibility of their travel experience at all stages of the process; pre-trip, on-trip and post-trip, as enhancing their experience would positively reflect back on their travel consultant.
TW: How many hours will agents save using the service?
JV: By creating one streamlined and centralised trip information portal, we aim to significantly reduce the time consultants spend managing bookings and chasing client details and preferences.
By taking just a few minutes to register clients, MTP then becomes an invaluable resource of information – information that most importantly can be used as a tool to assure our duty of care for our mutual clients, but also maintain the highest levels of customer service through effortless personalisation.
My Travel Portal also offers clients the option to select e-documentation which is another potential time saver for consultants.
TW: Will TTC continue to invest in technology?
JV: Absolutely – yes! My Travel Portal is the first of its kind for the travel industry and we are committed to continuing to invest in this innovative digital initiative.
Trafalgar, Contiki and CostSaver will go live for the initial launch, followed by Insight Vacations and Luxury Gold in March.
Later this year we’ll also see U by Uniworld added to the platform, then additional Brands from the TTC portfolio in due course.
Aside from MTP, we also continue to invest in e-learning through the TTC Agent Academy with new modules regularly uploaded and additional Brands in the pipeline to be added to the portal.
TTC Agent Academy aims to arm our travel agent partners with the tools and knowledge they need to make effortless sales.
TW: How is tech changing travel?
JV: Technology is an increasingly inextricable part of our daily lives, and has completely changed that environment in which we operate.
This evolution has brought with it many amazing developments and capabilities across our industry – some of which have made our jobs easier, and others possibly a little more complicated.
For our customers, technology has revolutionised two aspects of travel in particular.
- Accessibility of Information – greater connectivity for customers has meant that everything is virtually at their fingertips. Customers are equipped with more information than ever before and are becoming more actively involved in their travel planning before they walk into a travel agency.
- Communication and Sharing – social media has given a rise to the importance of greater sharing capabilities and requirements, whether they be interacting with fellow travellers pre-trip, posting images on-trip or sharing insights and reviews post-trip.