TravelManagers has released a purpose-built app, promoted as unique in the Australian retail travel market and designed to provide clients with full details of their travel itineraries, along with numerous other features, at the tap of a finger.
The app lets clients to communicate with their personal travel managers (PTMs) while they are travelling. It drew high praise from PTMs at TravelManagers’ National Conference in Adelaide at the weekend.
To be really effective, “the app needs to be part of your life,” House of Travel Group commercial director Bill Lawler told the group’s PTMs.
“It needs to be part of your business. It needs to be part of every conversation you have about travel with your clients. We have to incorporate the app as part of our existence.”
TravelManagers’ executive general manager, Michael Gazal, said the company has been pilot testing the app with 10 volunteer PTMs, and the feedback has been impressive.
“Our pilot PTMs and their clients have been very enthusiastic about the new app. It’s important for us to go through this pilot phase, making adjustments and fixes on a daily basis, to ensure that when we launch in late September, we are offering the best possible version.”
Lawler said the app would only be available initially only on Apple devices, but an Android version would be rolled out soon. He said apps were becoming such a part of everyday life that 50 billion of them have been downloaded from the Apple store alone – a rate of about 800 apps a second.
Increasingly, people exchange apps like business cards.
Cathy Moir, representative for Gymea Bay and one of the PTMs participating in the app pilot phase, is very impressed.
“The days of travelling with a fully loaded document wallet are coming to an end. My clients have loved being able to access all of their travel details at the tap of their finger on their portable devices. They can even add extras while they’re away, safe in the knowledge that they’re using a reliable supplier – me. It’s as if I’m right there with them when they need me!”
According to Gazal, if a traveller has booked with a TravelManagers PTM, they will be able to access their details by simply logging in with their surname and booking reference number. From there, they can use their personal device to check their full itinerary, view maps and obtain weather reports for their destinations, check currency exchange rates and browse inspirational destination guides, which offers ideas for what to see and do. It also provides an easy way for clients to communicate with their PTMs while they are travelling.
“There’s even a trip countdown to the big day of departure!” Moir said.
Gazal says travellers won’t be able to use the itinerary function of the app if they haven’t booked directly with one of TravelManagers’ 480-plus personal travel managers throughout Australia.
“But they can still download the app and use it to browse more than 1500 travel articles on destinations all over the world and check the latest TravelManagers’ deals. Then they can use it to search for a personal travel manager by name or by postcode.”
Lawler said a “whole bunch of cool stuff” was included in the app and more would be added. A feature called Your Locker lets customers record their travel data into their phone. Travel insurance details and passport documents, for instance.
“Clients can search and pay for excursions on Viator and those trips are commissionable back to you,” he said. This point drew applause from the audience.
Lawler said the app was a subscription service. A charge of AUD 100 would cover the first two years, with unlimited use and updates for PTM subscribers and their clients. The reason for charging was not cost recovery, Lawler said (if that was the case it would be more like AUD 1000) – it was about commitment. The app needed to go to PTMs who were committed to its use.
Written by Peter Needham