‘We are now in the technology race’, declares Monarch

The Monarch Group has declared it is now in the online technology race as it continues work on the integration of Codegen technology.

The airline, package holiday and accommodation-only provider, and river cruise operator, will complete the integration of Travelbox later this year having started last December.

This will see the traditional travel agency selling platform Viewdata finally switched off in 2014 after a transition period during which technology with translate from the old system to the new.

Codegen was chosen from a shortlist of six technology providers after Monarch went out to tender last year.

Stuart Jackson, Monarch Group distributions director, said replacing its previous 20-year-old system known as Cosnet ensures it is “in the race” to compete online with OTAs.

“The project is not just IT, it’s business transformational. We have not fallen into the trap other companies have in the past where you buy a new system and you mould it back into existing practices.

“We have gone the other way. The business will work around the way the system operates. You get quicker and more agile implementation and modernised internal processes in the new system.

“If you try to adapt a new system to what you do now it will take twice as long and be twice as expensive. This way you get greater clarity throughout the business and it gives you the opportunity to re-energise divisions and departments.”

For Monarch’s own website the new system will allow a greater degree of merchandising and bringing in third party and dynamically created product that compliments its own programme.

For accommodation stock it means it can reciprocate with other bed bank providers giving greater insight into the market and drastically cutting down speed of property integration.

Jackson said previously it took five to eight days to bring a new property into the system, with the new technology this could be brought down to as little as just half an hour.

“That enables the tour operator to grow exponentially the volume of product it has, the ability to compare and contrast and dynamically create products so price competitiveness will be better.

“We will always be a traditional package holiday operator but Cosmos will offer package holiday and in the back ground some of them will be dynamically created.

“Some will be on third party suppliers outside of the Monarch group, but they will all be fully protected.”

The intention is that restrictions associated with the outmoded Viewdata technology are ended and any partners will be able to merchandise to consumers just like Monarch does on its direct website.

Here meals can be pre-booked and customers can choose their seat. Currently travel agency partners are not able to do this on their systems.

Viewdata will be switched off in October although a translation mode will continue to reconfigure the code for a year while agents transition over and they should see no difference.

Some of Monarch’s agent partners connect directly to the supplier while others go through intermediaries like Comtec and Multicom.

“It’s important not to lose any revenue opportunity. People are not optimising the revenue sales opportunity because they are not taking all the product that’s on offer,” said Jackson.

“We are now in the technology race. OTAs have done very well with good technology integrated into SEO and third party product and legacy operators have always been slightly behind. We are now in that race.” 

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