TRAVEL agents are paying too much for their office systems according to a new player in the market who has launched a product which it claims is at least half the price of rivals' systems.
The Travel Agents' Database is a Windows-based combined front and back-office system aimed at small travel agencies with about five terminals.
It was designed by technology expert John Woodward after he was approached by a friend who runs a travel agency to develop a system which would be easy to use, cheap to run, yet be able to manage all the things the agent required.
Woodward claims the system has proved so successful that he is now marketing it to other travel agents.
He said: "The main problem my first client was having with his previous system was that there was not enough room on one file to put all the information required.
"For example, the system restricted him to having a maximum of three components per booking.
"So, if he booked the tour operator, insurance, and car hire that was okay, but if he wanted to book a fourth component, such as car parking, he would have to open up a separate file."
The system Woodward developed allows an infinite number of bookings to be made on one file.
It also enables the user to carry out projects such as VAT analysis in full detail, end-of-year accounts and daily banking, but at a fraction of the cost of most agency systems on the market.
Depending on the client's needs, the system costs between £800-£1,000. Other systems suppliers can charge four times that amount.
Woodward claims the beauty of the system is that it has been devised with a travel agent's needs in mind.
He said: "I have been talking to agents to find out what they want. One told me she had installed a system four months ago but was not using a third of it because it was too difficult and too cumbersome."
There are some things that it doesn't do, such as downloading from viewdata.
TAD users have to enter the customer name and address in manually.
"Some other systems do link to viewdata, but the link does not seem to work all the time. Agents I have spoken to say they tend to make up a manual file anyway, in case there is a problem with the viewdata link."
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