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Vertical’s zesty suite

March 10, 2012

(Published in TTG 08.03.12)

After 30 years, Vertical Systems has updated its Tarsc software, adding a suite of new services called Intuiti and rebranding at the same time. Matthew Parsons reports

If you were at the recent Travel Technology Show, you may have noticed a large perspex container filled with lemons
at stand C33.

As far as displays go, it’s an unusual way to lure in other delegates – but one that worked well for Vertical Systems.

Its chief executive, Mike Russell, says there was some gentle ribbing over the choice of lemons, but it caught the eye of passers-by.

And at a show that some delegates complained was “subdued”, Vertical had queues at its stand to showcase Intuiti, its new cloud-based suite of travel technology products, on its laptops.

Vertical Systems, the technology arm of the Vertical Group (which includes brands such as Miss Ellies Travel, Bedbank.com and Holiday Experts), has been an established player in the travel technology field since 1982, due to its travel agent software Tarsc.

New portfolio
Tarsc remains — although it is now available web-based and called Intuiti Tarsc – and is joined by new products Intuiti Web (an online booking system and content management system); Intuiti Money (for foreign exchange); Intuiti CRM (a customer relationship management system); Intuiti Search (client-facing software, using XML feeds); Intuiti Stock (online inventory); and Intuiti CTI (a telephone system that recognises callers). They all integrate with Intuiti Tarsc, but can be bought separately.

One stand-out feature of the new suite for Abbey Thomas, key account manager at Vertical Systems, is Intuiti CTI. This telephone software system is able to recognise callers, and instantly integrates existing customers’ details into the main Intuiti CRM – or indeed any other CRM.

Another plus for the agent, Thomas says, is that the suite integrates so well that the user rarely needs to leave the system, and passenger details are carried over seamlessly to each product.

Coming from a travel agent background, Thomas says this is a tool she would have been grateful of in her homeworking days, when each operator, hotel or airline required details to be entered each time, as it saves time.

During my test run, the call from her mobile leads to her name and details being displayed. A booking is made – using Intuiti Search to find a hotel and flights – eliminating the need to visit other websites. Even links to review sites such as TripAdvisor are incorporated.

However, one glitch was that despite checking the “direct-flight only” box, the results returned indirect flights. She says tweaks are still being made.

Although prices have yet to be confirmed, Thomas says the more components you purchase, the better value. Purchase also comes with training, forums and a help desk. Thomas hopes to use Facebook to answer any questions (facebook.com/
verticalsystems).

As well as launching Intuiti, Vertical Systems also used the Travel Technology Show as an opportunity to relaunch the Vertical brand itself. Russell, who joined Vertical in 2009 and became chief executive in April 2011, says the time is right for Vertical Systems to shout about its technology.

“It’s been a couple of years since we had a stand here,” he says. “We’ve been developing our products and wanted to produce something that we think is suitable for agents – not something that was company-led.”

The launch has been “hugely successful” he adds. “Intuiti has been well received — people have been queueing up, and one potential customer didn’t believe it was a live demo as it performed so quickly.”

Vertical Systems has already taken orders from several “small and large companies”, and Russell says it is important travel companies refocus on selling holidays. “Social media is important, but you need to get to back to basics,” he says, warning that tough market conditions are here to stay: “Even after the recession, we’ve all still got a long struggle ahead. There will be consolidation in the industry.”

In the meantime, Vertical Systems is set to showcase Intuiti at its own roadshows this year, and will attend Abta regional meetings (it is an Abta travel industry partner).

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