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Passport Online Launches New Cruise Booking Tool: TandemFebruary 17, 2010 By: George Dooley
Passport Online has announced its new cruise booking engine, Tandem. Tandem is the first product for agencies that integrates the marketing process, the consumer shopping experience, and booking, and is designed to help agents work “in tandem” with their clients to maximize the chance of closing the sale, whether booked by the consumer or the agent.
Tandem has been in development for over a year, with significant input from Passport Online’s extensive agency customer base that has been using the VacationPort and NexCite website programs for years. Passport Online has focused over the years on creating a superior website consumer shopping experience – Tandem is the natural extension into the booking process.
“Our customers have been asking us for years to provide a booking solution. Our overall mission is to provide whatever Internet solutions our travel agency customers need. This was the natural next evolution,” said Greg Kott, president and CEO of Passport Online Inc.
Tandem is the first online cruise booking engine designed to focus on both marketing and booking capabilities for travel agents, integrating email marketing, consumer website shopping, and real travel agent consulting and expertise into the solution.
“One example of this level of selling and booking synergy is that now agents can email cruise offers to their customer base, via our email marketing tools, and when the customer clicks on 'more details' they have the option to easily contact the agent or to simply book the cruise online, at the agent’s website,” Kott said. “We are working on additional features which will help agents close more business, online or offline.”
For travel agents, this solution is proving good for business. "On the agent side, it is a booking engine for the future” said Sharon Bernhardt, president of Westside International Travel at ALTOUR. “The agent of the future is going to be a graphical agent. She is not going to be a format driven agent. That is also where our consumer is. Our consumer does not want to read a lot of text. They want verbage kept to a minimum. Travel is visual. And I believe with this product, Passport figured that out. Throughout their product delivery is that understanding that basically and fundamentally buying travel should be a visual experience. They have produced a product that looks pretty and yet contains everything needed to make an educated decision."
For Bernhardt, the product provides strong business management advantages. "As an owner, I like the ability for the agent, and the consumer, to save a booking in process and come back to it," she said. "I like the history, in terms of being able to look at reports and determine sales patterns, etc. And, from a sales perspective, I like very much that you are able to tie it to marketing." To view the booking engine live at her site, click www.westsideintltravel.com/book-online.asp.
And the agent with the very first booking was Jerry Vaughn, president of World Voyager Vacations. “Last week, when we went live with Tandem, we were thrilled to see that almost immediately the first booking was a $6,700 cruise sale for us, completed by the consumer on a Saturday night at 8 p.m.!” said Vaughn.
Tandem is competitively priced at $1,500/year license fee for existing VacationPort and NexCite users with a one-time set up of $750 and $3.00 transaction fee for consumer bookings. For new Passport customers, Tandem is priced at $2,049 /year license fee with a one-time set up fee of $900 and a $3.00 transaction fee for consumer bookings. All agent bookings are at no cost.