Travelbag is a UK-based agency that helps people make their travel dreams a reality, no matter how big, small, (or in this case) crazy they are. The company lives its ethos of ‘Out There Made Easy’ by taking care of all the details to make trips simple and hassle-free for customers. It’s part of the DNATA group, and operate as an online tour operator as well as having six high-street agency stores. It specializes in tailor-made package holidays and has 40+ years’ expertise crafting unique itineraries.
Putting Travelport+ to the test
Travelport wanted to push the boundaries of what our modern retailing platform Travelport+ can do. And what better way to do that, than a GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ attempt? We challenged Adventureman (Jamie McDonald) to take on the world’s most complex itinerary: visit the 7 Wonders of the World in seven days, all powered by Travelport’s technology.
But this was too big a feat to go it alone. So we sought a tour operator partner to help figure out the most effective itinerary and give him the best possible chance to succeed. Caroline Foxwell, Sales and Service Leader at Travelbag, answered our call.
An itinerary so complex, they say it can’t be done
With more than 25 years’ experience creating every kind of trip, Caroline thought she’d seen it all. But she’d never planned anything like the 7 Wonders Challenge. It means traveling more than 22,000 miles in seven days, visiting seven different countries, in 4 continents, across 15 time-zones — with very little room for error.
She told us: “you’re constrained on what choices you can make because Adventureman is up against the clock, and you have to work around certain locations and routes to work around time zones. Plus, if anything goes wrong while he’s on the move, the timing is so tight that it could completely ruin the attempt. I’ve never seen anything like it in my 25 years working in travel. It was beyond complex.”
Search. Book. Respond.
For a journey like this, you have to search through literally billions of travel products to build the perfect itinerary. That would be impossible without a powerful platform like Travelport+ on your side.
Travelbag got to work using Smartpoint Cloud — a modern retailing interface that connects agents to Travelport+. Not only did it have a huge range of content, its intelligent storefront helped Caroline understand what flights were on offer in more detail. She could easily compare all the available options (including traditional content and NDC), with up to 5 offers on view at any time. This reassured her she was booking the most effective itinerary and gave Adventureman the best possible chance of success.
“Smartpoint Cloud almost does my job for me. It builds the perfect itinerary with images of the hotel and all the information you need. And it’s very, very easy to use.”
On a trip this complex, there was always going to be unexpected hiccups. When Adventureman missed his connecting flight from Rome to Rio, Caroline was on hand to find a solution. Travelbag used the automated exchange capability on Travelport+ to get him on the next available flight, ensuring his chances of setting a world record weren’t lost.
And, true to form, the agency managed all the details and sent the new information through immediately so Adventureman could continue on his way. The tools on Travelport+ proved invaluable in this situation, saving time and effort and making sure the exchange was processed quickly and easily.
After an action-packed week, all Caroline’s hard work, planning, and support paid off. A whopping 13 flights, two exchanges, 29 ground transport changes, and 22,856 miles later, an adrenalin-fuelled Adventureman sprinted across the finish line at Chichén Itzá. Against all odds, the agency had done it.
Record setting tools
Normally when you’re booking a trip, you’ve got a ton of flights to choose from, but when you’re as tight on time, you need to be able to filter to the most suitable options, and fast. During planning and booking, Caroline’s main asset was Smartpoint Cloud’s intelligent storefront, which offers fully customizable flight search (including NDC).
“I had everything in front of me and it gave me all the options I needed. I couldn’t have done this without Travelport+.”
Trip Quote also saved Caroline a lot of time putting all the elements of the trip together in a single place. In a click of a button, she could build a fully branded itinerary and send it straight on. And, if an earlier flight became available in any location, Caroline got alerts through the Productivity Automator tool without having to do any manual searches. This meant she could easily move Adventureman to it, and quickly send him the information.
As Caroline knows, there’s a lot that can go wrong on a trip like this, and you need to be able to pivot at a moment’s notice. Travelport+ exchange capabilities meant that when Adventureman missed a flight, she could get him on the next one straight away, without further disruptions. Caroline could see the options available and quickly make that exchange, seamlessly and with no manual entries. She said “The exchanges tool just made everything so much quicker and easier. I was able to just put him straight on the next flight.”
By the time Adventureman reached Mexico, he needed some serious R&R. Caroline made sure a suitably great room was ready and waiting. Using the new Hotel search on Smartpoint Cloud — which includes detailed property information, room attributes, detailed maps, photographs, and comparative rates — she could choose the perfect property.
Crossing the finish line
Would Travelbag have been able to manage this trip without Travelport+? Caroline said “I’d say it’d be impossible.” And the same goes for anyone trying to manage a complex itinerary like this alone, without the help of a modern travel agency.
She concludes “Being a tour operator is amazing because we get to talk to our clients and help them plan the best possible trips. I pride myself in the job that I do. And so she should, as now Travelbag can add ‘world-record setter’ to its many lists of achievements. Not to mention, raising almost $23,000 for a very worthy cause. We think both Caroline and Adventureman deserve a vacation after pulling all that off.
“This challenge was considerably easier thanks to Travelport+.”