Jamaica-headquartered Holiday Services has recognised the urgent need to take its B2B business online in order to thrive in today’s competitive global travel arena and will implement cutting-edge ‘Illusions OnDemand’ (IOD) technology to achieve this goal.
The DMC’s managing director, Jennifer Hilton, has opted for IOD’s Professional edition – an off-the-shelf product that will ensure the travel firm can offer the best rates at Caribbean hotels in real time that are bookable online to its growing customer base. This covers its established source market, Eastern Europe, where the company boasts more than 500 clients, as well as Latin America – a new source market for Holiday Services where it has already forged relationships with at least 50 key customers.
“We are a 28-year-old business with a very strong reputation for offering ground arrangements in the Caribbean,” she said. “But if we want to stay competitive, we have no choice but to go online with good hotel rates, particularly now we are offering our services to the Latin America market, which is dominated by players such as [B2B bed bank] Hotelbeds.
“The business of booking rooms has changed and you need to be online or get out of the business.
“We already have a competitive edge in the Caribbean market, but implementing this system will take us up a notch higher, not just regionally, but globally, showing that we are embracing technology and ahead of the game.”
Before opting for IOD to take her business online, Hilton had started to work with a travel technology firm based in Malta, which she quickly realised did not suit Holiday Services’ needs.
“The system was geared towards the Greek hotel market and didn’t work for us, plus it did not have XML capabilities. It proved too risky and it never went online,” she explained.
“I had heard about Illusions as an award-winning company with global recognition and after meeting the team at World Travel Market and having a demonstration of the system, I realised I had found a company that was perfectly suited to Holiday Services.
“In addition, Illusions could offer us a payment package that was flexible and so everything just clicked.”
Holiday Services’ IOD Professional system will automate, integrate and centralise almost every aspect of its business including product management, hotel/services contracting, client profiles and tariff rules, a booking engine, client and supplier documentation, accounts receivables and accounts payables, logistics and planning modules, as well as Internet booking engines for clients to purchase the entire accommodation product range online.
Hilton said she anticipated the business to grow at least 50% in the 12 months following the implementation of the system due to several factors, all of which greatly benefited Holiday Services’ rapidly-expanding client base.
“The system has XML capability and we already plan to interface with several key customers,” she said.
“It will also provide our clients with instant rates, availability and booking capabilities 24 hours a day, seven days a week, whereas at the moment, because of the time difference between Eastern Europe and Jamaica, our clients know that in general, we won’t reply to their requests until the following day.”
She added: “Our staff will also be more productive because almost every aspect of our business will be automated, leaving them to sell instead of entering data or issuing invoices. It will save tonnes of time and money.”
Hilton is also very excited by the business prospects offered by Illusions Online’sWorld Travel eXchange (iWTX) system.
The brainchild of the travel technology firm’s founder and CEO, Faisal Memon, iWTX allows all Illusions clients – market-leading tour operators, DMCs and travel agents located across five continents – to access and sell one another’s content.
“We have set up a distribution agreement with Illusions clients so they can share content and contacts and we are the conduit,” explained Memon.
“So our clients all over the world will be able to access and sell Holiday Services’ products and pricing in real time.”
Hilton said: “The possibilities for networking with global travel firms that use the Illusions system is huge and what’s more, it will be in a secure, seamless and professional environment with companies you know are solid.
“The World Travel eXchange opens up North America to us, which is a market we haven’t explored much in the past,” she continued. “It could also lead to new clients approaching us and even former customers returning to us.”
Memon said the deal with Holiday Services yet again proved Illusions was “ahead of time” offering a pioneering product that perfectly suited the needs of today’s forward-thinking tour operators, wholesalers and DMCs.
“We have worked with the travel trade globally for more than 15 years and have now developed a core product that is pretty much ‘out of the box’ and meets the complex requirements of most travel firms,” he said.
“What’s more, our solutions can be implemented in a short time frame, which is unheard of; we are talking about going live with the Holiday Services’ system by the end of the year.”
The agreement with Holiday Services marks another milestone for Dubai-based Illusions in that the DMC is the travel technology company’s first client in the Caribbean.
This deal has been inked following an immensely successful 2012 – a year which to date, has been punctuated with several key achievements including rapid expansion in Asia where Illusions has secured several big names.
Illusions has also bagged several high-profile accounts in Europe this year with the likes of travel giants, TUI and the Rewe Group now classed as key clients.
“We are fast becoming the leading travel technology player globally,” said Memon.
“The deal with Holiday Services further expands our international reach demonstrating that our solutions are universally sought-after and revered.”