24 June 2002
An independent travel agency based in Oxfordshire has almost doubled its revenue after introducing a transactional website for ferry bookings, reports Travel Weekly.
The Travel Gateway launched aferry.to last November after e-commerce specialist Entee Global Services licensed its technology, which allows consumers to make on-line real-time bookings, to the agency.
Director Sarah Pitman said: "Since we introduced the website we have gone from being a ú1.2 million business to a ú2 million business, and bookings are increasing 50% each month.
The move has been so successful that the agency now only opens to the public between 10am and 2pm. The rest of the time is spent focusing on handling business that comes in through the website. Eventually Pitman expects to wind down the traditional side of the agency.
"We have been an agency for 28 years so we didn't want to just close and leave our regular clients stranded. We hope we can build confidence in our customers and encourage them to come to us on-line through aferry.to."
Entee commercial director Nick Rowley said his company had no plans to license the technology to other agencies, but it will supply the technology to other operators and agencies that can then rebrand it to suit their own websites.
Aferry.to allows customers to make bookings with every UK ferry operator. The technology also powers ferry operators' own websites, including P&O Portsmouth, P&O North Sea Ferries and Stena Line.
Rowley said ú15 million of the ú50 million of UK ferry bookings made last year came through the Entee technology to the benefit of The Travel Gateway.