What do Amadeus’ technological solutions mean to the wide variety of customers that use them? To find out, we sat down with Tessa van Willigen – owner and director of the agency Maritime Travel Service (MTS), specialized in arranging flight reservations for ship crews, technical personnel, superintendents…
We discussed the significance of mobile services in her end of the travel sector, as well as Amadeus’ larger role in her business. Or why releasing a finished mobile app is a bad move.
As the name suggests, your company is firmly rooted in the maritime travel sector. Do you feel the presence of a “mobile revolution” in your particular part of the travel industry?
Not so much in our end of the sector, actually. The maritime sector is typically quite old fashioned. Passengers consist of short-term contracted personnel – not the profiles we communicate with on a longer basis.
Rather than something that answers to a certain trend or challenge – we regard mobile as an additional service that adds value. The shipping companies I’ve spoken to all see it in the same way. Corporate passengers mostly use the app for its location services, flight information and prices – and happily so.
Have you considered educating your customers to make use of all the app’s features?
We are yet to add a credit card payment solution to the application. Once it’s there, and it becomes a robust service, we’ll probably see a dramatic increase in our mobile booking. Come to think of it, this particular feature does answer to a challenge we’re facing in the sector.
Similar to the rest of the travel industry, pressure is rising on the fee levels for full service bookings. People are becoming used to booking their travel online. If we don’t offer them a very easy to use booking tool, we’ll lose them in the future. It’s a value added service that keeps us in the race.
What was the final push that made you go mobile?
I actually looked at myself and considered what I would like to have as a passenger.
For example, having free access to my travel itinerary in a very easy way through my mobile. In the earliest stage I looked at building our own app. I made a wish list of all the features I wanted to include, and started to move towards development.
It soon became clear though that it would take a lot of resources and risk. It was at that time that I remembered Amadeus was developing its own application. Much to my delight, I saw a lot of the features that were on my wish list had made it into the Amadeus app.
How did the process continue with Amadeus?
The mobile application project was quite revolutionary for Amadeus. For the first time, they set out to a release a solution that was not yet fully completed. At first glance that may sound like a weird idea, but is actually strategically well thought-out.
Mobile is such a quickly developing arena that building a complete product leaves you with an outdated product. In other words, it’s better to release it before it’s completely finished, and then come out with incremental improvements.
And how did that strategy turn out in reality?
Great, actually. We have our app, the customers are happy with it, and we know Amadeus is continuously improving it. In fact, we heard there might just be a new look and some new features in the pipeline.
I’m starting to view Amadeus more as a partner rather than a service provider. They listen and proactively provide solutions to improve the value we give to our customers, even when we otherwise wouldn’t be ready for it.
Do you use any other of Amadeus’ IT solutions?
A major one we use is Amadeus Ticket Changer. It has created a lot of efficiency for us. By going from a manual to a fully automated process, we’ve diminished the time from a matter of minutes to a matter of seconds.
We’re also slowly starting to introduce the Mobile Messenger to our clients. They’re often quite taken by surprise by the breadth and extent of features it has.
Looking ahead, are there any other technologies that catch your interest?
Just now we were looking at travel agency business intelligence. In short, it would allow agencies to have more insights into the productivity of their staff and the amount of work that goes into certain client bookings. It’s still in its infancy stage, but possibly an interesting route.
At any rate, judging by our past cooperation with Amadeus, I have high hopes for what the future brings.
Thanks a lot for taking the time to talk to us!
How would Amadeus travel technology work for your agency?
- read “When a travel messenger becomes a crisis manager”
to discover Amadeus Mobile Messenger
- read “Your travel agency’s personal GPS” featuring Stef Rijkers
to discover Amadeus Agency Insight
- visit our “Amadeus Ticket Changer” product page
to discover its main features and benefits
Care to link up?Find Tessa van Willigen on LinkedIn here.
Tessa van Willigen
Director & Owner