STA desktop alert tool to put students in control

Student travel group STA Travel has launched a desktop alert system to coincide with the beginning of the new academic year and a general upsurge in interest in the sector.


The tool – known as The Source – has been created by the London-based Skinkers group and will allow users to select likely destinations for a holiday and obtain regular updates on flight prices, relevant blogs, podcasts, accommodation and entertainment.


In another landmark development for STA, the travel site will allow users to select their own RSS feeds directly on to the desktop application and also produce local information for students in 10 UK cities.


STA online marketing manager Sarah McDonald said: “The Source is pushing content that is rich enough and cool enough for the user to enjoy being notified once a day.


“We review all the web has to offer and draw attention to the gems. Our customers also have a lot to say – with Skinkers we’ve now harnessed and shared this content with other travellers.”


The application will also hand STA a significant boost to its customer relationship management by automatically pushing specific deals or air fares to users based on their preferences.


Skinkers chief executive Matteo Berlucchi said: “There is a lot of information that people who are about to travel would like to made aware of before they set off.


“Timeliness and visibility are two important factors.


“Our technology has been designed specifically to help people receive the information they should know about directly to the screen of their computers in a way that can’t be missed.”


The launch of the Skinkers tool follows a major overhaul of the STA site in August to allow content feeds from the likes of guidebook expert Lonely Planet to be displayed on the site.


STA also put in place what it called a standard globalisation across the UK, US, Australia and Canada, alongside launching local language sites in Germany, Switzerland and Austria.


The redevelopment of the STA site and the launch of the desktop application comes amid growing interest in the student market following the launch in August of Univillage.com, a networking and content site backed by Lastminute.com co-founder Brent Hoberman.


Univillage.com boss Henry Yates told Travolution at the launch that Hoberman’s involvement did not necessarily mean travel tools would be incorporated, although he wouldn’t rule out some kind of functionality in the future.

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