eRoam is a B2B marketplace featuring millions of global travel products including over 750,000 hotels, guest houses and villas, over 100,000 tours, activities and attractions, and thousands of transportation providers including airlines, car hire, rail, cruises, and more. Users can create their own travel shop within minutes and quickly start building and selling their own itineraries using our easy itinerary builder, while travel creators can push products and itineraries to a huge network of buyers.
We spoke to CEO & Founder, Anthony Hill, for more. “There is a major problem in the industry with efficiency. When someone walks into a travel agency, we don’t give them what they want, we give them what we have available to give them - we wanted to change that.”
The platform uses a mix of AI, machine learning, consumer data and travel expertise to build smart itineraries in a matter of seconds, meaning users can turn around customer enquiries in minutes rather than hours/days.
“With an itinerary of London, Paris, Rome for two adults, one room, four-star accommodation – you put in travel dates, if you want transport, hotels and activities, then hit search. If then the client wants to add another city, say Munich, you can add it anytime. If you want to change the destinations around ending with Rome, the agent can just drag and drop it into position.
“To put this in perspective, at the moment, for this kind of itinerary an agent, would have to go into the GPS for flights, somewhere else to look at hotel and somewhere else for ground transport etc. If they want to do a group, they have to go into another portal to find all the group tours – but with this system we have direct connections with all the tour companies so they can drop them into the itinerary.
“Because there is big problem with a look to book ratio’s especially with the airlines, we have developed this to cut down on the look to book ratio so they agent can spend more time with the client designing from how long they want to spend in each destination, what they want to do while there like river cruising etc. All of this hard work is just a push of a button and it’s all done robotically – all in two or three minutes for a 14-day itinerary, which would normally take two or three days, while the agent waits for replies from different suppliers. The platform looks at all the agent credentials and their contracted rates to choose the hotels etc. It will list all the different room types, their net rate and retail rate.”
The biggest problem for agents, especially when doing 5 to 10 city itinerary is using all those different sources to put together an itinerary, this system does this all for them, says Hill. They can download the itinerary and email the client immediately or show them on the screen. They can either click to save or book it. You don’t have need to fill out 20 different systems to book, this is a dynamic booking form and allows to add additional fields if required (for example, a helicopter trip may need the clients weight or different activities where there are children involved, you may need a height, etc) the dynamic booking form manages all that.
“We have a basic CRM. A lot companies especially the smaller companies need full time staff just to look after the CRM, so we have created a basic CRM that can manage client profile. The agent can use all this data and be more predictive in search criteria, they can look at customers’ history too if another agent is looking after that client, the history is there. They can see all your tasks that are outstanding, see if the client has paid anything or if he hasn’t confirmed a booking they have put together for them.
Automatic vouchers are uploaded, emailed vouchers can be attached to the booking. So basically, all the information you need is all in one place.”
“For management, the system can also add in all the back-office information.
“This really is a global solution for a global problem and as we come out of Covid-19 people are going to be more competitive. The biggest thing with bricks and mortar travel agents is cost of doing a quote. When they do a quote they have no guarantee it will turn into a booking. With this technology, you can do that same quote in 20 minutes (maybe even quicker). So instead of costing the agent $400, its cost them $50, so they have effectively saved $350 that they can use those dollars to become more competitive.
“People have been forced over the last three months to use technology - you have 90-years-olds using Zoom! That is not going to go away, they have that knowledge for good,” says Hill.
TTN is the most established trade publication in the Middle East distributed on a controlled circulation basis to members of the travel and tourism industry.
Published monthly by Al Hilal Publishing and Marketing Group, the region’s foremost trade publisher, TTN is aimed at professionals in the industry, from travel agents to airline and hotel personnel.
TTN provides in-depth and extensive coverage of relevant issues in the Middle East and North Africa as well as in other parts of the world. Travel related news, analysis, and new appointments together with information on up-coming exhibitions, marketing and promotional campaigns are presented in an innovative and striking colour tabloid.
Every issue also contains a collation of international and regional news and topical features of interest to readers.