Travel Counsellors is to revamp its MyTC app and roll out template packages and Amazon-style recommendations on its booking system Phenix.

The three tech developments were unveiled by chief technology officer Rob Snelson at the homeworking company’s conference in Manchester, celebrating its 25th anniversary.

MyTC will have a new look and feel from December with updates which have been built “from the ground up”.

New features will include flight alerts, and notifications to Travel Counsellors when customers view quotes – which Snelson said would give Travel Counsellors valuable “insights” into their customers.

“Customers love it [in its current guise],” said Snelson. “But we want to make sure that MyTC doesn’t look old. It’s starting to show its age.”

Snelson urged Travel Counsellors to send quotes via MyTC, pointing out that customers book 18.4% more quotes sent on the app compared to those sent by email.

He said 84,391 Travel Counsellors customers currently use the app, which has ratings of 4.5* on Android and iOs, and that 251,113 don’t.

“For a Travel Counsellor who takes over £350,000 of sales, that’s £2,500 extra net profit margin just for clicking ‘send to app’,” Snelson said.

Phenix Itineraries will be launched next year. They are template itineraries created by Travel Counsellors’ product team, available to view within the Phenix booking system.

Currently, Travel Counsellors build itineraries from the product within Phenix. Snelson said the new itineraries could be tailored to fit customers’ exact needs or to offer upgrades and ancillaries.

The third tech announcement was the Recommendation Engine for Travel Counsellors, which – similarly to Amazon – looks recommends holiday options based on a Travel Counsellor’s customer’s requirements.

Travel Counsellors can click on tags such as ‘long-haul’, ‘beach’, ‘kids’ and ‘sun’ to narrow down what their customers are looking for, and the engine will return recommendations “instantly”.

The engine pulls on their customers’ demographic and compares them to customers with similar backgrounds across the data from all 1,900 Travel Counsellors to determine what options would suit the customer.

Quotes can be saved for the future and edited to tailor-make them to the customer’s needs.

Snelson said the engine, which has been developed over the last nine months with a £600,000 investment, will be rolled out in spring 2020.

It will work with hotels to start with and then gradually incorporate other components of the booking such as flights, car hire, transfers, excursions, ancillaries, visas and insurance.

“We’ve got thousands and thousands of properties [on Phenix], everything from two star to ultra-luxury,” said Snelson. “We are bringing all of that together in the recommendation engine to assist the Travel Counsellor to be able to provide options for the customer that they were perhaps not even aware of.”

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