A Swiss-based firm has opened a UK office so it can offer its ‘contextualised’ ancillary sales service to UK travel companies.
The company, called epteca, is looking to work with travel agents, tour operators, airlines and other travel firms to offer a pre, during and post-holiday product delivery service using its own technology and operation.
Using data integrated from the company’s own booking information from customers and epteca’s own profiling tools, the service will work with companies to send targeted emails or SMS messages to holidaymakers who may want to purchase particular items for their holiday.
Pre-bookable products and services include a nappy delivery to the resort; a ‘beach pack’ for families which includes items like inflatables and a welcome home basket for when travellers return home.
Services could also include information about the weather, flights or a recommendation for a restaurant on the first night of a holiday, all which could be linked to a product too.
The company works with destination management companies and local vendors to provide the products and services so that local economies do not miss out, with a current focus on city breaks and beach holidays.
On Holiday Group has already signed up to use the system, with Carl Denton, head of sales UK & Ireland at epteca telling Travel Daily there are continuous discussions with other groups.
“If presented at the right time and through the right way, we can promote products that create a need and in a manner that means it isn’t a hard sell,” he explained. “Customers do not want to be swamped with information and we are against the normal marketing processes. Instead we aim for communication only three or four times with clients, on behalf of the companies we work with, which acts like a concierge but mixing that with information about products.”
In what Denton calls “contextual selling”, the epteca product comes as personalisation and “going the extra mile” in customer service becomes more important to travel companies in the UK. With epteca’s focus on convenience for clients, it would be easy to see how firms could build up more loyalty by offering more.
“Customers will start to see travel providers as a way of obtaining more than just a holiday,” said Denton. “While the travel companies focus on their core business of selling the flights and hotels, our service means we can help them to leverage profits from the traditional travel segments and improve their margins.”
epteca has predicted the industry is missing out on GBP200 million worth of profit from selling typical holiday items that are often not seen in general high street stores such as department stores, or are forgotten about such as plug adaptors.