Signature Announces New Tech at Owners' Meeting

(Matt Turner)

Among the many announcements from Signature Travel Network’s Owners’ Meeting at the Fairmont Austin in Texas was a myriad of technology updates—something that had advisors in attendance very happy.

Alex Sharpe, Signature president and CEO, said that the network was undergoing a major capital project where it’s reinvesting in its tech offerings, among other channels. Included with the updates are improvements to the cruise booking engine, Hotel Connection 2.0, a rebuilt  Client Connection process (capture and management of consolidated client database of 4.5 million households), an advisor communication tool and more.

With the updated cruise booking tool, advisors will have access to one central repository that has multiple price points on cruises, a reinforced database, up-to-the-minute pricing and the ability to integrate your own group pricing. This will roll out in October and the full onboarding will be completed by November or December (just in time for Wave Season). A consumer-facing booking engine will be offered in Q3 of 2020. Additionally, Karen Yeates, EVP, information technologies, spoke about the updates to CruiseTrack. Among its benefits: Should a cruise change its itinerary, price or promotion, that information will be pushed to the advisor so they can keep their clients in the know.

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Hotel Connection 2.0 is essentially an entirely new booking engine. It has an easier-to-use GDS, color coding (to show which are the Signature rates), added sorting options (including by rates or amenities), and the ability to book multiple rooms and append existing PNRs. It will also have pop-up warnings for nonrefundable bookings.

ClientBase synchronization process was also rebuilt from the ground up, Yeates says.  The new synchronization process is more reliable, is faster and has more frequent synchronizations.

A new, secure digital advisor communication tool will keep track of all of an advisor’s conversations with their clients, no matter what medium the client is using. So, a client can text, Facebook message or web chat with an advisor and it will all run through the tool, arrive at the advisor’s computer, and their response will be sent back through the same medium that the client reached out through. The tool, according to Yeates, will allow for increased engagement with clients, keep all messages between your advisors and their clients centralized and offer real-time feedback. It will sync with ClientBase and will also be able to send PCI-compliant links for payments.

Pocket Travel by Axus will have more supplier integrations, a Live Connect sync (with ClientBase), welcome email customization, active links to contact advisors at the top of the app level (not just in the itinerary) and consumer hotel booking engine integrations.

Despite the slew of new tech offerings, Yeates says there’s still more to come following the large-scale database and web services projects, which won't be completed until 2022. What's on tap? Hotel Connection 3.0 with integrated GDS rates and wholesaler rates all in one engine. Additionally, Client Connection 2.0, which is CRM-agnostic and offers a new centralized database and expanded Web Services, will create the opportunity for other enhancements, including a consolidated messaging center (email marketing, one-to-one quotes, SMS and Facebook, payments, and Pocket Travel all in one place) and augmented analytics (which will give us insights to help drive new marketing, communications and services).

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