Travel advisors looking for solutions to make their work flow a little more seamless might find the solution in this platform, which helps advisors see closeouts and special offers. “Our industry is facing very challenging times with severely limited staff and resources,” says Michael Herrmann, founder of TourConnect in a press statement.
TourConnect, a B2B platform for the travel industry, has addressed a key operational challenge that nearly every tour operator and OTA experiences on a daily basis—loading closeouts and special offers. Using machine learning, add-ins, real-time reporting, and streamlined user interfaces, TourConnect’s new Travel-ML tool drastically cuts down the manual effort needed to load this critical information that suppliers send every day. Suppliers don’t need to change their process, fill out a form, or log into an extranet. Travel-ML does all the work on its own.
TourConnect estimates Travel-ML can streamline data entry by up to 40 percent on Day 1 of implementing the solution. As machine learning is optimized, it could be able to automate up to 90 percent of all closeouts and special offers for any organization.
“Our mission is to use technology to make our industry more efficient,” says Herrmann. “The B2B portion of our industry has been starving for technology for years. Building machine learning into our platform with tools like this is just the beginning of how we plan to use advanced technology to serve our industry.”
Thousands of closeouts and special offers are sent each week from hotels and day tours to their B2B partners. This creates a tremendous burden on tour operators, and OTA’s, to keep availability and pricing up to date and competitive. Currently, every closeout, stopsell, or blackout date, must be loaded or else bookings might be made when there isn’t availability. Special/tactical offers and promotions often don’t ever get loaded, which results in less competitive quotes for travelers and their agents. Travel-ML uses technology, rather than manpower, to overcome these challenges.
Rob Russell, CEO of one of the UK’s leading tour operators, AC Group, says, “We process thousands of closeouts and special offers. We can’t keep throwing human resources at our problems and hope they go away. TourConnect’s Travel-ML is the future,” says Russell. “With this new tool, we are excited to reduce our admin work, so we can be more competitive in the market, while focusing on serving our customers and putting together incredible trips.”
TourConnect’s Travel-ML tool has streamlined data entry so users can avoid switching between applications constantly. In addition, the tool’s machine learning will, over time, begin auto-filling the data entry form with the closeouts or special offers that it finds in the e-mail and attachments—regardless of the format in which the supplier sends the information.
Integrations with tour operator/OTA booking systems are part of the implementation process for new clients. Travel-ML can be implemented in as little time as a few days, depending on the complexity of the booking system integration that is required.
“However, this isn’t just a tool for today and our recovery. We believe this is the right tool for the long term, and one that will blaze a trail for the role technology will play in the future of B2B operations in our industry.”