The Travel Network Group will this week begin rolling out a new “market leading” booking platform for members, chief executive Gary Lewis has revealed to TTG.
Lewis said the platform, which has been in development for more than 12 months, has undergone rigorous testing and will go live for the group’s seven owned stores on Wednesday (11 December) before progressively becoming available to members in the New Year.
He told TTG the tech upgrade would deliver on the consortium’s conference pledge in March to make IT its single biggest focus and investment of 2019.
TTNG has worked with a dedicated team from TravelTek to mould an off-the-shelf solution to members’ specific requirements, based on their feedback, replacing its old TravelCat system.
Key features include front to back-end access without double-entry; automated payments and receipts through a dedicated payment gateway; live API feed for searching and booking product; new bespoke documentation and reports; and direct support from TTNG’s Woking HQ rather than the developer.
Members will receive fresh guidance and training ahead of and during the roll out process.
Lewis said the launch was the culmination of a three-year journey.
“We really upped it in September and October last year,” said Lewis, reflecting on the appointment of a dedicated project manager and developer for the project.
“We’ve taken an off-the-shelf product and wrapped around it what our members have asked us to deliver.”
One significant benefit, Lewis revealed, will be the ease with which TTNG will be able to bolt on new features to the platform, with a number already in development.
A key focus for TTNG has been to help members’ better utilise their data, while Lewis added the consortium had paid particular attention to the migration process, which should allow easy and complete migration of data from the overwhelming majority of systems currently in use by members.
Lewis said the new tool demonstrated TTNG’s readiness to invest in tech and then scale it to members.
“It will have a huge impact on their businesses in terms of the speed of the booking process,” he said, stressing the platform would reduce “manual processes” and “streamline” data retention and utilisation.
He added TTNG would not launch the new platform to members and then leave them to sort out any niggles with the developer, promising “world-class” in-house support from the consortium.