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Travel Technology Trends – Q&A with SVP Sales, The Americas, Francis Riley

We recently caught up with Traveltek’s Senior Vice President of Sales for the Americas, Francis Riley, to discuss his views on the importance of technology in the travel industry and the tech trends he believes travel professionals need to follow to stay ahead of the game. Three months into his role, here’s what Francis had to say…

How important do you think technology is for the travel industry?

In today’s world, those in the travel industry need to remain relevant, competitive and efficient if they are to prosper. Various pain points such as working with older systems or multiple systems, limited customer data, slow and inaccurate manual processes and duplication of efforts all put considerable pressure on top line sales and business costs. Technology minimises, and can even eliminate, these pain points to maximise sales and conversion rates.

How do you think Traveltek technology can benefit travel professionals?

In a fiercely competitive global marketplace, the powerful technology solutions we provide at Traveltek ensure clients can remain relevant to their customers and enable them to work smarter. The end-to-end solutions we provide offer a unique “one-stop shop” for multiple functions across a single selling platform that can include reservations and bookings, documentation and even supplier payments. In addition, our platforms allow users to manage their margins as well as provide booking solutions that are multi-lingual, multi-channel and multi-currency.  In consumer and business to business markets, it offers the flexibility and choice they need to manage their distribution to consumers and agents.

How does Traveltek work with those who aren’t very tech-savvy?

The team in the US, like me, are not all necessarily from a technology background. We come from sales, marketing and commercial disciplines and part of the consultative approach we adopt when working with customers or potential customers is to translate the technical requirements into practical solutions. While our platform is extremely robust and complex in the background, the front-end couldn’t be simpler to use. It’s been built and developed in consultation with some of the world’s leading travel companies, with their needs front of mind. It’s there to make the travel booker’s life easier and ensuring it’s intuitive and user-friendly is all part of that.

We also offer extensive training, training guides and 24-hour support so it’s really not the case that once the system is built, you’re on your own. Far from it, in fact. We really value our clients and we see the relationship as a partnership. Ensuring they get the very most out of the system and that it really transforms their business is what we’re all about. I don’t believe anyone should fear technology just because they are not tech savvy. On the contrary, what they do comprehend is their business and the need to change and maybe adopt a new process to grow. And technology can help in so many ways.

What current travel tech trends should the industry be aware of?

One area that I have seen considerable engagement with us from a technology standpoint has been the ability of the travel partner to curate and package cruise and tour offers. Consumer demand and the appetite for this travel offering seems to be on an upward trajectory and, as such, providing technology solutions to help and assist the sales of these products becomes increasingly important. The ability to integrate cruises or tours with a range of add-ons, priced and displayed in the currency and language of choice allows for improved sales and improved customer satisfaction.

At Traveltek, for example, we offer market-leading cruise booking tools that will allow the travel company to present multiple pre and post cruise, flight, hotel and transfer options that take the cruise itinerary to the next level. Not just set packages either. In consultation with agents around the world, we have crafted the technology whereby consumers or agents are empowered to handpick flights, hotels, transfers and attractions to create tailor-made packages around the cruise of their choice, all in one simple booking journey.

What is Traveltek’s ultimate goal for the travel industry?

Our mission is simply to help travel businesses grow and prosper. With over 400 clients across 35 markets around the world we have been true to this promise and perhaps its testament to our relationships with our clients that, for many, we are an integrated part of their own business strategies.

Our consultative approach, a worldwide team across multiple offices and a bench strength of product and technology expertise are all reasons why we believe we are world leading and our technology solutions set us apart from the rest. It’s also probably why Traveltek has been recognized globally by the World Travel Awards for the “World’s Leading Dynamic Packaging Solutions Provider” for the last four years and last year also recognized as “Europe’s Leading Travel Technology Provider.”