On the south coast of England, is a company which unknown to many handles the travel arrangements for some of the most demanding and high-profile customers in the UK. Travel Places has been working with many organisations such as Formula 1, the Football Association and Team GB for many years, providing niche but specialist travel management, not only coordinating their needs but also accompanying them on their world-wide travels to ensure everything works seamlessly.
They continue to act as the trusted advisor to their customers (large teams to high-net-worth individuals), handling travel logistics, coordination with airlines and private operators, hotels & accommodation, local transport and on-site concierge and general requirements, solving any problem as it comes up.
A good example of this, is the management of the entire travel logistics for Formula 1 teams throughout each season, and with a demanding customer base, comes a high expectation of customer service delivery.
As business, they fit a common profile for Solis Digital; i.e. a company that has grown through great customer service, having implemented cost effective solutions to get it to that point, but one that now recognises a necessary level of investment in digital consolidation to get it that next level of growth and achieve the position it rightly deserves in the industry.
Behind the scenes of Travel Places is an organisation which must blend the continually changing needs of individual customers and teams, with the availability of flights and resources, changing schedules and now the impact of Covid.
One minute a booking is made, which needs in turn to be confirmed with British Airways (“other airlines are available”), and next they need to check availability for a return leg on a different date with a different airline. The customer then wants to know what is booked, or maybe take control of their booking themselves rather than request and wait for confirmation. Maybe payment has already been made, so credits, refunds or transfers need to be processed.
It all gets very complicated very quickly, but that’s what they pay Travel Places to deal with, and hence the need to ensure their systems keep pace with the ever-increasing expectations of their customers. This increasing set of expectations is a tough set of plates for anyone to keep spinning without a strategy for growth ultimately involving some aspect of digital automation and transformation.
It became evident early on, that the Travel Places management team fully recognised and wanted to embrace the opportunities available from digital transformation, which made the process of curating a digital roadmap from their vision a very productive process. The primary aim was to differentiate their business from the rest of the market by providing the very best customer experience possible.
We approached this by tackling each area of their business in turn (“Hubs”), reviewing the process (and leaning / tweaking where necessary), where it fitted into the overall roadmap and framework. Designing the flows, user interactions and functions we quickly established a digital solution which gave them the targeted benefits together with a plan for management transition, and then finally moving into implementation and support.
Typical areas consisted of central booking and itinerary management, customer portal, integration to the commonly used GDS system (Sabre) which allows the system and book flights, forecasting, spend, trends and management reporting.
As with many customers, we have now become part of their ongoing process of digital renewal, improving their systems as technology and markets flex, and we continue to support Travel Places as their new system supports the 2021 F1 season and Tokyo Olympics.