The COVID-19 crisis has brought about years of change in the way companies in all sectors and regions do business. According to a new global survey of executives, companies have accelerated the digitization of their customer and supply-chain interactions and of their internal operations by three to four years.
To stay competitive in this new business and economic environment requires new strategies and practices. Thomas Cook recognizes technology’s strategic importance as a critical component of the business, not just a source of cost efficiencies. We have enhanced our business by implementing the use of more advanced technologies, and speed in experimenting and innovating.
We asked Amit Madhan, President & Group Head- IT & E-Business, to update us on some of the key features implemented by our company, the more advanced technologies we are using, and the digital innovations that have kept us ahead in the travel business.
Here we go:
Digital acceleration/Digital drive across businesses:
Our digital transformation journey had begun since 2019. The pandemic induced downtime served as a perfect opportunity for strategic technology upgrades and implementation of valuable new platforms.
The onset of the pandemic altered the environment and necessitated changes; we went back to the drawing board and focused on what the businesses and customers require. We carved priorities based on customer point of view from new project implementation, process enhancement to technology upgradation.
With a strategic focus on digital transformation we enhanced our omnichannel model which enabled cross utilization of resources for lead management and built an integrated sales and service model. In the pre-pandemic period we were limited to fixed land packages with flights sold separately, customization via email communication and only static content.
Our crucial digital transition to dynamic packaging for complete package customization, real time-inventory of flights and land packages and dynamic API content/connectivity enabled us to offer customers the ease and convenience of booking.
Seamless vendor management through a NewGen system resulted in reducing the dependency on manual processes across businesses. The new whiteboard system enabled streamlining of visa information, costing and operations.
The journey of digitization leveraged AI and bots through implementation of robotic process automation enabled faster and accurate process.
- CANVAS a unified platform across SOTC-TCIL with a common inventory and automated product-operations processes
- Bots were introduced to reduce product mastering from 2 hours to 7 minutes
- Customer self-booking/self-service apps; booking and invoicing bots were introduced to enhance convenience, speed and efficiencies
- Launched Virtual Holiday Store towards contactless service – critical during the lockdown and invaluable in scaling up the business post pandemic
- Customised solutions were introduced: Dyna-Pack (Air & Land holiday bundler with real time rates and availability); Build Your Own Holiday enabling customers create personalised trips around their unique interests/preferences
- India’s first Safe Holiday helpline – a free service to the public, offering expert guidance and assistance for safe holiday planning, visa assistance, country specific updates, on-ground health and safety measures, travel documentation, health certification, etc.
- FXMate, a contactless booking tool was launched for Forex Partners, aimed at expanding the B2B network
- Document Management System (DMS): This centralised digital repository enables storage/retrieval of documents required by regulatory authorities
- E-invoicing and e-submissions to expedite payments
- Virtual branch model set up for contactless and seamless customer sales-service; integrated with dialers & CRM
- FX-Now a corporate self-booking tool launched to reduce dependency on implants
- Enhanced our Corporate Booking Tool with Eva, a seamless web-interface, coupled with a mobile app for self- service
- Ibook the backend application was augmented with ibots/robotic reconciliation enabling faster reporting; e-invoicing and e-submissions towards a paperless environment, with seamlessly integration to respective corporate ERP systems
- Introduced Granth – a centralised product repository launched towards improved accessibility and TAT
- CRM integration with automated funnel/process – from lead to sales; smarter workflows
- Sales MIS capabilities
- Gateway app for TC/Connect app for SOTC aids Customer Journey with an end-to-end automated/digital customer servicing including storage of traveller information, visa and itinerary details, automated guest payment, on-tour feedback and assistance.
- Mantra – new MICE Team (mid-office internal) application developed for end-to-end process from bookings to transactions
Human Resources (HR):
- Another key area we focused on for digital transformation that enabled HR processes to be automated and helped in better data-driven decision-making
- Launched MYHR, a 360 degree automated platform that delivers simple and streamlined HR processes; one-point-access to all HR related systems. This convenient mobile app/web-based access offers geo based attendance log-in and a range of automated features for an enhanced employee experience
- Ingrain app: e-learning platform; easy access with learning at your pace modules
- Our prowess in this domain further enabled valuable partnerships with Air Arabia and Vistara Getaways to curate and distribute air-inclusive holidays in India
- We built a user-friendly interface that empowers customers with simple, quick and convenient online booking/transactions
- Thomas Cook India & SOTC won the ‘Innovation in Omni-experience’ Award at International Data Corporation’s (IDC) Industry Innovation Awards 2021
- Thomas Cook India and SOTC won the CIO100 Award for digital innovation
- Thomas Cook India won the silver for DMS (Document Management System) project at the Annual Quality Fest awards hosted by Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL)