Luxury market lagging behind in tech, says Holidaysplease

Holidaysplease is to build a new technology platform to enable its homeworkers to get prices from tour operators automatically.

The luxury online agency appointed former Abta chairman John McEwan to its board this week to help facilitate expansion of the business.

Director Charles Duncombe said the company’s 45 homeworkers were still spending too much time on the phone to tour operators getting quotes.

The company has built its own in-house system for its homeworkers is now looking to introduce API feeds from suppliers.

He told Travolution: “We have a big drive at the moment to reduce the administration for homeworkers. Part of this is to build a new technology platform to get prices from luxury tour operators automatically.

“Traditionally they work from paper contracts, excel spreadsheets and you have to ring for prices. John has had experience of improving this process through his involvement with the Advantage consortium and so we look forward to working with him on the issue.”

Duncombe said technology was still underdeveloped in the long-haul travel sector compared to short-haul.

“In ten years’ time we’ll be saying ‘don’t you remember the days when agents had to phone up operators’.

“So far a couple of operators have managed to produce API price feeds that we are going to test and incorporate into our system but there are many more we need help with. I think the luxury end of the market is behind the short haul market in this respect and it needs to change.”

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