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Interview - Umbrella Faces Profile Automation at Club Travel

May 18, 2020 6:29:41 PM

donna henry club travelClub Travel is Ireland’s largest travel agency. Donna Henry leads their project management team which has successfully implemented Umbrella Faces in 2018.

Donna, what is the main benefit of Umbrella for Clubtravel?

We made a strategic decision some years ago, to adopt a multi-GDS approach and to store profiles independently from the GDS. After researching the various options, Umbrella was the obvious choice.

The main benefits are,

  • A single Profile Platform that integrates to all other technology we use or may use in the future
  • Not reliant on GDS to store profiles
  • A profile system that imports-exports profiles via APIs
  • API integrations to various GDS and OBTs already developed and ready to go
  • A customizable frontend
  • The Benefit of ‘Community Enhancements’
  • Shared high level data security
  • Cost competitive
  • Scalable

Could you tell us a bit more about the TMC market and your key challenges in Ireland?

It’s a complex business, technically demanding, with a large reliance on connected systems with varying standards and protocols. So, it’s challenging in normal times, and extremely challenging during the current Covid-19 period.

Ireland is no different to other TMC Markets and all Major TMCs have a presence. We are primarily a technology business that specializes in Corporate Travel. We have gradually grown the Development and Technical side of our business to 20+ employees, ensuring we are self-sufficient and agile, while embracing the best third-party community technology.

 Could you share some key figures/numbers about Clubtravel?

Club Travel is the single largest TMC in Ireland, established in 1971. We have grown organically and by acquisition having recently acquired Atlas Travel, the GBT partner in Ireland. We have 260 staff and overall turnover in excess of € 200 million with the Corporate division accounting for 140M.

Storing CVCs in a PCI/DSS compliant way is a key feature for a profile tool in Ireland. Why is that so?

Our Main carriers from Ireland are Low Cost Carriers, such as Ryanair and Aer Lingus and this would account for c. 50% of our transactions. If we were unable to store Client Card’s in a PCI/DSS compliant way, we have to make phone calls to the clients to obtain this information each and every time, which is laborious, time consuming and annoying for clients. So, it’s a critical business imperative to have access to CVCs to ensure we are efficient and productive.

What were the key challenges for the implementation of Umbrella Faces?

The implementation was actually very smooth. A lot of preparation was done before the process was started and this definitely helped overall. Of course, we had the usual learning curve, and we had to ask for developments to get exactly what we needed as a company, but with the help and support we received from Umbrella it was a successful process. The biggest challenge was from a user point of view, some of whom were not used to self-managing profiles, and the training on the system, but its very user Friendly, and generally was embraced by all that are using it.

What was your most remarkable travel experience so far?

Wow – that’s a tough one. I had the privilege of living in Jordan in my early twenties (only a few short years ago!) and working as an Air Hostess. This experience alone was life changing and I got to see so much of the world.

I probably didn’t appreciate the beauty of Jordan, with Petra, Jerash & the Dead Sea at the time, but in hindsight it was a stunning country with exceptionally hospitable people. But I think the highlight of all my travels has to be when I went to Malawi. We flew the president of Malawi back home and were invited to stay in Malawi for the night. It was, and still is, one of the poorest countries in the world, but the lush vegetation, the smiley friendly people, and the stars in the sky so close you felt you could reach out and touch them, was a sight to behold. When we were accommodated in the ‘nicest hotel in town’, which was more basic than a student hostel, it made me appreciate what I had and how simply other people can live happily.

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