Does new technology deliver the productivity gains it promises? In the case of Vacation.com’s EZguider it does. Travel agents using EZguider, an all-in-one booking platform, easily bested six agents using supplier call centers and websites in a timed “Book-Off” contest during Vacation.com’s 11th International Conference at Las Vegas’ Caesars Palace.
The contest featured one agent using EZguider against six experienced agents, three of which used supplier websites, while the remaining three contacted reservation call centers. All seven agents were given the same detailed scenario to search and book two tickets. EZguider completed the test in six minutes, while the fastest agent online finished in 19 minutes, followed by a phone booking in just less than 22 minutes.
“The Book-Off results confirmed what agents have been telling us from their own experiences with EZguider,” said Ron Cole, Vacation.com’s general manager of EZguider. “Agents can typically make three bookings through this powerful tool in the same time it takes to make just one through a supplier’s site or reservation line. If time is money, then EZguider is truly a money-maker.”
The scenario that all seven agents simultaneously searched for included two adults, ages 62 and 65, looking for a choice of five-seven day Caribbean cruises from Ft. Lauderdale/Port Everglades in a balcony suite at a pre-determined budget, including tax and port charges.
The six agents using conventional booking methods contacted the reservation centers or visited the websites of a few suppliers to compare itineraries—a feat EZguider performs automatically, displaying the results of inventory from many cruise lines side-by-side to quickly zero in on the ideal cruise.
The results of the Book-Off were no surprise to the agent who represented EZguider in the contest: Heather Wege, manager of sales and operations at Online Vacation Center, a member agency that will receive a special Power of the Partnership award due to making at least 1,000 bookings through the tool. The 1,100 agents attending were offered on site demonstrations of EZguider as well as training seminars on the new booking tool
“EZguider truly deserves its ‘EZ’ name,” said Wege. “One agent in our office is not tech savvy at all—she is still learning how to send text messages from her cell phone. I showed her how to make a booking in EZguider just once, and she has been making them on her own ever since.”
Vacation.com notes that agents can also use EZguider to search for and compare side-by-side and book tours, river cruises, insurance and now stand-alone and add-on bookings from more than 400 airlines with EZair without a GDS contract, monthly fees or productivity goals.
Cole believes that EZguider has tremendous potential to increase agency productivity and sell more products with an easy to learn and use system. “EZguider is better than the phone –indeed better than any of the traditional booking channels," he said. "We are not only training agents in its use but offering support and as with this test demonstrations that EZguider works for agents.”
The test is part of a major ongoing effort by Vacation.com to encourage more agency members early adoption of EZguider which Vacation.com believes gives it members a competitive edge as well as a key to higher profits and productivity gains. Vacation.com invites agents to visit www.EZguider.net to learn more about this all-in-one leisure-selling tool. EZguider is free to Vacation.com members.