Club Travel is equipped for growth with ProTAS
- Gary Mulder
The world is a big old place, yet it is becoming smaller in many ways. It is easier and quicker than ever to travel around the globe, and as a result, doing business in a single country no longer makes sense. There's a whole host of exciting opportunities out there just waiting to be explored, and this is as true of travel management companies (TMCs) as it is of the clients they work for.
Of course, for a TMC looking to expand into new markets, having the right technology in place to facilitate growth is crucial. Outdated mid and back office systems can seriously strangle business ambitions and put firms at a real competitive disadvantage.
Gary Mulder, financial director at South African travel agency Club Travel, knows that having the right solution in place can make all the difference when it comes to developing a new international growth strategy. His company adopted the ProTAS mid and back office solution from Procon more than ten years ago, and with it plans to diversify and expand have been easier to implement.
"The business has grown substantially and we probably wouldn't have been able to grow as easily with an alternative," he explained. "We would probably have needed to have more than one system for our diverse business interests, which would add complications."
Club Travel started out as a predominantly leisure-based travel agency and in the last decade has also established online and corporate divisions - something ProTAS has helped it achieve by automating processes and providing the flexibility needed to deal with the additional demands of corporate customers.
Now it is looking to expand into other African markets on a franchise basis, offering its online products to travel agencies in those territories. Again ProTAS will be instrumental in this process.
One of the biggest challenges when moving into new countries is dealing with different currencies, and Africa is certainly no Europe since most African nations have their own legal tender. ProTAS mid and back office can easily handle multiple currencies, and Club Travel has recently adapted the way in which the system is configured to make the most of functions such as automated fees.
What's more, using ProTAS means Club Travel does not need to re-invest further as they have full infrastructure in place which allows for ease of roll out into each new market, making international expansion a much smoother, faster and less expensive process.
"If we didn't have ProTAS we probably wouldn't have changed our growth strategy," said Mr Mulder. "We would have had to make do with systems that didn't offer the same functionality."
He also pointed out that there is much more that ProTAS can do for Club Travel in the future, since the company has only just scratched the surface when it comes to automation and process efficiency and would like eventually to move to a no-touch environment.
For now, however, the solution provides an answer to the growth challenges facing Club Travel and will continue to do so in the years ahead, since it can be modified as the business evolves.
"We can almost customise it as we change tack," said Mr Mulder. "We can change the product to be able to meet our needs quite easily."