A new mobile app is being targeted at travel agents and tour operators to make the task of putting together and managing group bookings more simple.
Snapgroup launched this week offering travel firms a full-service group travel organiser service for a flat fee of £9 for every group created.
The app was created by a team of Israeli tourism entrepreneurs including Zohar Ohana, who said existing technologies are not suitable for such a complicated task.
Ohana, Snapgroup chief executive, said: “As owners and partners in a tourism company for over 14 years, we’ve established and have operated thousands of travel groups worldwide.
“All professional travel agents dealing with group travel know that we are all still using very outdated tools and there are almost no modern technologies suitable to our activity.
“It is not easy to coordinate dates, request copies of passports and documents, receive payments for each of the participants and so on.
“And it’s a challenge to close several hotels for a group of 30 people, in several different locations on different dates. Creating a group and managing it is a highly complicated task.”
Snapgroup allows trip organisers to create either public groups which members of the public can register to join or agents can form private groups for their customers.
The firm is based in London and the first version of the app has been pre-populated by tour guides offering a range of single and multi-day tours in the capital.
Once a group has been established the app offers a range of services including payments, dynamic maps, a voting platform, social sharing, a quoting system, group chat and itineraries.
The technology took 18 months to build and Ohana said it cost “a few million dollars” to develop.
“We launched the initial version at a festive event in August 2017 for a small and professional audience of local travel agents.
“The positive reaction made us realise that we must immediately go to the global market and spread the word among our colleagues around the world,” he said.
“It was important for us to provide the group members with a sense of belonging and social vibe even before the trip took place, and of course after it finishes.
“It’s terrible to watch group participants move around with folders of printed pages for the trip plans, insurance, etc, it’s just so outdated.
“So, we developed dozens of cool features for them. Now they can talk to each other, pair in rooms by themselves, select pickup stations, see where everyone is on a live map, enjoy interactive profiles of the hotels and other service providers of the group, view the group itinerary on an interactive map and many more interesting surprises.”
As well as appealing to the trade Snapgroup expects its app to be used by human resources professionals planning work trips, extended families, organisers of stag and hen weekends and managers of school trips.