Handy Group becomes mobile travel agent

Mobile phone technology could be the future of travel retail, according The Handy Group, a new agency offering the latest in hand held holiday shopping.

The Handy Group sells product exclusively through mobile phones and has signed up 37 no-frills carriers, including EasyJet and Ryanair, alongside 10,000 hotels in 52 countries supplied by Ratestogo.com.

The Handy Traveller system, currently available through mobile phone networks T-Mobile and 3 and soon through Vodafone, also has airport parking and hotels from Holiday Extras.

The company operates like any other travel agent charging a £5 booking fee on flights and earning between 10% and 15% commission on all other products.

The system stores customers’ information except credit card details, making repeat bookings quicker.

It also stores booking information allowing the Handy Group to dynamically package bespoke holidays based on a customer’s preferences. Offers are marketed via text message.

Chief executive Michael Lacy said packaging up tailor-made holidays was central to the development of the mobile travel agency.

“We would be daft not to use the profiling,” he said. “To package dynamically is the way forward for the travel industry.”

Lacy admitted the Handy Traveller has only received “a smattering” of bookings. However, he believes the market has great potential citing industry analysts who claim a third of all online travel bookings will be via mobile phones in two years.

The 3 network claims those aged between 14 and 18 spend more via their phones than anybody else.

“It is just a matter of these people growing up,” Lacy said. “They will be so used to using their mobiles for purchases they will adopt it for holidays.”

Meanwhile, Lacy said he is talking to a number of other leading airlines, including British Airways, about putting their flights on the Handy Traveller system.

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