Travel Counsellors developed its own dynamic packaging system, Phenix, two years ago.

The company felt it had the internal resources and skills to build a completely tailored system for its counsellors. It also believed it would have a system in place more quickly by taking the development in house.

In addition to its existing in-house skills, Travel Counsellors recruited a systems analyst to identify what the counsellors needed, as well as a project manager.

Managing director Steve Byrne said: “We’re fortunate to be able to make the investment and we have the skills in house.”

Since its introduction, Phenix has evolved from just enabling flight and hotel bookings to a more complete dynamic packaging service with car hire, transfers and other add-ons, as well as more destinations.

Byrne said: “70% of what we do is bespoke short haul or long haul and Phenix accounts for about half of that. In the next two years 50% of our total business will be transacted through Phenix.”

He also claims the system has more than paid for itself in terms of the initial investment, although Travel Counsellors continues to invest about £750,000 a year on enhancements.

“There is a calculation to do in terms of payback, but strategically we’re in a better place – we are not reliant on third-party tour operators.”

Phenix: a Travel Counsellor’s view

Travel Counsellor Heather RigbyHeather Rigby has been awarded ‘Best Phenix Travel Counsellor’ by the company, for the past two years.

Rigby says her commission has doubled by using the system and it enables her to provide a flexible, tailor-made service to her customers while still remaining highly competitive.

She said: “You can use the system to tailor-make anything and everything to suit the customer. You can use it for a business customer, the neighbour down the road or for a low-cost carrier passenger.

“It brings up every permutation you could possibly need.”