At the Inspire Conference onboard the Norwegian Bliss, Sandi Szalay, vice president of information technology for CruiseOne, Cruises Inc. and Dream Vacations,
updated the agent audience about new, proprietary 2019 technology initiatives. “When designing technology, it is critical to provide an end product that delivers a seamless experience,” she said, noting that a streamlined booking process, whether it be cruise or land, frees up agents’ time to sell travel.
“We’ve made big changes to our consumer sites,” she said, noting that “in the last 90 days, we have more than tripled the number of online bookings from the same time last year.” Most of those were also paid in full at the time of booking.
She said agents from all three brands had been asking for an all-in-one booking platform that allows them to do everything from quoting to booking on any device. Now, they can book both cruise and land and the technology has an itinerary builder.
Plus, there is an interactive mobile app that allows agents to communicate with clients, share travel documentation for upcoming trips and track flight status real-time.
Also new is a major enhancement to the group registration sites for CruiseOne and Dream Vacations. For example, a one-time payment now can be paid/split among multiple credit cards. A deposit can be paid, or alternatively, another sum.
“For our agents, ‘the win’ is that the registration tool and now payments too are now fully integrated into My Cruise Control, saving you time from duplicate entry,” she told the agents.
But the updated Group Module is a massive undertaking, so the technology department broke out groups contract and inventory control in what will be the first release; it’s also expected to set the groundwork for more enhancements to follow, Szalay said.
Enhanced Technology for Land: The largest technology development this year has been working on land bookings. She gave agents a sneak peek at the new land experience agents from all three brands and their clients will see starting in 2019.
The new land entry screen will be supported on Mac and other browsers. The process for agents will be similar to entering information for a cruise booking.
That said, land is a bit different than cruise with multiple suppliers much of the time. “You told us you needed a way to manage more customer payment rules,” Szalay said, “and the flexibility you asked for has been added.”
Multiple suppliers often mean multiple rules and the need to track all that. “So we’ve introduced these reminders that you can send right from the booking” and more.
Adding a line item is easier, too. The system will allow the agent to search a world-wide data base of hotel names in destinations and show those suggestions.
For each line item added, there’s a new notes section too and additional instructions can appear on the client invoice. More enhancements are planned, said Szalay, urging agents to attend the IT Fourth Quarter Webinar.
Back in My Cruise Control, the agent can send a new land invoice via email; to check out one example, Szalay suggested the agents visit www.tripfordrew.com, an test document that’s accessible to agents all this week.
What agents will see there is Travefy, a soon-to-be-launched, integrated land itinerary builder, available to CruiseOne, Dream Vacations and Cruises Inc. agents, so they can inspire customers for their upcoming trip. It includes all the elements the agent has put together for the client in terms of hotels, excursions, transfers and more.
“Your customers will be able to visualize their trip in detail” on any device as they travel, explained Szalay. Many agents already use Travefy but now the home office will provide Dream Vacations and CruiseOne agencies with up to 50 free Travefy itineraries per month for free.
Simply put, said Szalay: “This will make you look like a star and wow your customers.”