Technology

TTE 2017: Suggestion engine Sujester re-emerges as web app looking for travel agent partners

Posted by Lee Hayhurst on
TTE 2017: Suggestion engine Sujester re-emerges as web app looking for travel agent partners

Travel exploration and inspiration tool Sujester is poised to launch a desktop tool for travel agent and tour operator partners to integrate into their sites.

The brainchild of Andy Owen-Jones, founder of Bd4travel, the concept was originally launched as a tablet app but has been turned into a web app.

It is now being headed up by managing director Sahil Shah who Owen-Jones previously mentored when he was running start-up point-to-point trip planning app TripSnapp.

Shah said he was in advanced talks with a number of potential travel retail partners in the UK to go live with Sujester on their sites under a white label arrangement.

“We now have something that’s functional and working and in the process of closing the first deals and hope to pilot it in six to eight weeks,” said Shah.

As well as UK agents and operators, Sujester is also working with New Zealand agency House of Travel, which was the inspiration for the concept.

Sujester works by promoting travel “moments”, essentially destination experiences, using inspiration content like images and descriptions which customers and partners can curate.

Consumers can build up desired travel experiences based on the Sujester moments which can form into a single trip or a wish list of desired trips for the future.

The system also captures people’s past travel behaviour as they can rate an experience they have had or indicate if it is something they would like to do.

Individuals in groups like families can also use Sujester to collaborate to plan a trip.

Shah said Sujester has over 3,000 moments and he is looking to work with tourist boards, event organisers like music festivals and the travel photography community to develop more content.

Trade partners will be able use these as well as uploading their own moments from in-house content and to promote experience to clients in the Sujester app.

“It is moments, the things you do on holiday, that make a trip, that gets someone excited about that trip and is the reason why someone chooses to go somewhere,” Shah said.

Behind the Sujester interface a recommendation engine will use machine learning technology to hone the suggestions it makes.

Shah said the application could be used on in-store devices as well as on websites and he is targeting small to medium sized travel agents.

“As well as customer lifetime value a big part of this is customer acquisition,” said Shah. “At the moment it’s a very crowded space at the point of booking.

“This comes a little earlier in the customer journey and you are more likely to convert them because if you know intent can contact them before they look at competitors.

“From an agent point of view, there’s also data-driven insights because we are capturing each interaction we are able to ascertain about moment popularity and how people tend to combine moments within trips.

“That data is very useful from a product planning point of view. A lot of this is very forward looking in that it is what they want to do not what they’ve done in the past. It’s not just using behaviour to predict the future.”

Shah said Sujester will operator commercial model in which partners will pay for leads and it will also offer sponsoring of moments by in-bound tour operators.

He said commercials are flexible depending on volume of leads and how qualified they are.

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