- A few months ago you launched Cruise Browser. What acceptance have you had among the travel agencies?
Since we launched Cruise Browser the product demand has been spectacular. It is an immediate implementation cruise booking engine that allows travel agencies to book more than 14.000 cruises from 30 different Cruise Lines in just 3 steps. In addition, the agencies have access to a back office that allows them to configure and adapt the tool to their particularities. Our goal has always been that this product meets the main challenges faced by the travel agencies in the on-line sales world and I think we have succeeded. We have taken advantage of our knowledge and our 20 years experience and we have applied it in the design and in the creation of Cruise Browser. Since the first version, we have been including our customer’s best suggestions in the booking engine, adapting it more and more to the market’s requirements. Our policy of always listening to the professional and trying to meet their needs, has made Cruise Browser to be also built based on the contributions and the know-how of travel agencies and professionals in the sector
2. How many cruise companies are included in the platform?
There are currently 30 Cruise Lines available at Fibos Technology. Cruise Browser and all our other tools are feed on this technology. Among the main Cruise Lines are the most important cruise companies in the Spanish market as are: MSC, Costa, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, Pullmantur or Carnival. We are now finalizing the incorporation of the Disney Cruise Line in our portfolio so that our customers can make a complete on-line booking process. In parallel, we will also begin work on the incorporation of 3 new Cruise Lines into Fibos Technology.
3. How many travel agencies are you currently working with?
More than 45.000 travel agencies are connected to FIBOS Technology, through one of our tools, in 60 countries worldwide. With our different on-line solutions we have been able to group the information of 30 Cruise Lines and make it accessible to the travel agencies, tour operators or wholesalers in the sector so that they, whatever their capacity, can integrate the cruise product. At present, we are in negotiation with 3 management groups in Spain for the expansion of Cruise Browser 4 Business (CB4B). It is the specific Cruise Browser version for B2B and developed for tour operators, wholesalers and management groups to increase their travel agencies’ productivity. Cruise Browser 4 Business (CB4B) allows a travel agent’s individualized access to the system and it also has a back office with multiple functionalities to better manage the booking process. It is also possible to configure the travel agencies’ profile, with administrator’s credentials, as well as their commissions or view their reservations. All this gives them an overall view of their productivity.
4. What agreement do you have with the Cruise Lines and agencies for them to use your platform?
We offer the Cruise Lines the possibility of making global or local agreements (by market). Through a unique annual license the shipping companies can distribute our solutions among their network of agencies.In the same way, the travel agencies contract our products through an annual license, if such license is not assumed by the shipping company. We also offer the possibility of integrating every Cruise Line in budget request mode (the reservation is finalized with the direct contact between the travel agency and the user) or in on-line booking mode depending on their needs. In this way, travel agencies can build customized shipping packages.
5. What volume of reserves did the agencies channel through your platforms in 2016?
As for on-line, in 2016 we registered more than 60.000 reserves and a total of 500.000.000 transactions channeled through FIBOS Technology. The number of passengers translates into approximately 150.000 passengers. Many agencies prefer to capture the customer by generating a budget. In this way they advise and guide their customer helping him/her to choose the cruise that best fits his/her profile. Our off-line products allow the final consumer to generate quotes with the prices and availabilities of the day so that the travel agency can later confirm the reservation through the shipping tool. In this case, we cannot quantify the reservations that come to be confirmed through this channel. With the entry of the new Cruise Browser (CB) product line, we expect to increase this number considerably.
6. What was IST’s turnover in 2016
In recent years we have achieved a constant turnover growth between 15% and 20%, once the expansion and consolidation of markets/ users goal is achieved, we plan to increase those percentages considerably.
7. What projects or developments are you currently working on?
All of our development department’s efforts are focused on achieving a new level of automation of the cruise product and everything that encompasses its booking process as well as its complementary services. Our objective is to be able to provide the cruise industry’s stakeholders with useful and simple technological solutions with which they can increase their productivity. Our analysts work on it constantly. In this sense, in 2017, we will integrate groups in FIBOS Technology so that the travel agencies can load their own product directly and thus automate the sale of these types of cabins. In addition, we plan to add other tourism products to our tools such as flights, hotels and excursions. The cruise will always be the main axis on which the rest of these products will turn, thus leading to a complete automation of the sale. In parallel, and as we have already advanced, we also scheduled to incorporate new shipping lines that will be added to FIBOS Technology throughout the year. Also, one of our objectives is the international expansion of our products and that is why this year we will be present at the FIT (International Tourism Fair of Latin America) to thus strengthen our presence throughout Latin America.
Interview published on magazine AGENT TRAVEL and www.agenttravel.com on May 2017