Vertical Systems is targeting international growth as it rolls out new travel agent customer relationship management (CRM) agency dashboard that is fully mobile compatible.
The firm has rolled out its new CRM in Ireland to its in-house brands including Best4Travel and Vertical’s UK brands will get their official release in the first quarter of next year.
The Essex-based firm is also to start targeting the UK inbound sector which it sees as a route to more international clients.
Peter Healey, owner of the Vertical Group which includes the technology supplier as well as numerous travel agent brands, said the firm had recaptured its status as Ireland’s biggest supplier of back office travel systems.
“The travel market in Ireland has completely recovered, in line with the economy. We’ve listed to Mr Hammond (the chancellor) saying as a country we do not know how to export and we are going to become more international,” he said.
Vertical’s Systems’ new CRM Has been designed to work on all devices giving agents who use it the ability to operate on iPads, Apple Macs, Chromebooks and mobile for the first time.
A pilot is currently being run with a client in Scotland which is using the technology as a meet and greet scheme in its stores. The technology has been built to be “mobile platform agnostic”.
It fully integrates with Vertical’s existing TARSC back office system, which is widely used in the UK travel sector, and is designed to make that system “silent partner”.
Rob Barker, the new managing director of Vertical Systems, said: “We have spent a lot of time and money refining it. The challenge is getting to a point where an agent would rather use it than not.
“You have to get to the point where they say I might as well use it. That’s been a difficult journey but I think we are pretty much there.”
The technology offers a range of dashboards relevant to individual agent types including homeworkers, for high street branches and for management.
Barker said the technology provides past customer details just from their search criteria, creates documentation for quotes and takes care of receipts and Atol requirements.
Healey said: “I’m using our own business as guinea pigs trying to get to the point where TARSC is just there. You use it to pay the bills and get your accounts but it’s invisible.”
Vertical says its updated new technology fully integrates front and back offices systems providing users with transparency and “penny perfect accounting”.
“We see a lot of CRM systems out there, but because they cannot from front to back there is a point where there is a translation process which we do not have to do.
“You have to build a business on solid foundations and TARSC is one of those foundations. That is the unglamorous bit at the back end, the CRM is the glamorous bit.”
Barker said that Vertical is now finding that marketing departments are getting interested in the systems because of the data that the CRM is able to produce.
He cited one example of a Vertical member who saw conversion rates leap 56% after using data to find out when the best time was to call back a client who had received a quote.
“Some of the Irish businesses six months ago were still using XL spreadsheets. This is a real revolution for the business owner and the marketing director.
“The dashboard is the final piece of the jigsaw, it pulls together the last two years of hard work in a single place.”