WTM 2010: Comtec previews iPad and iPhone apps

Visitors to travel technology provider Comtec’s stand at World Travel Market have the chance to shape its new iPad and iPhone app before its official launch next year.

The firm has developed a non-branded version to show to potential customers and it is offering the chance to win a iPad to WTM delegates who fill in a short questionnaire.

Humphrey Sheil, Comtec chief technology officer, said it was the first time the firm had looked for input on an innovation it was developing.

“Normally Comtec goes away, tries to build something and then launches. There are three areas of product strategy we want to reach out to get more customer involvement: mobile, social media and personalisation. We are working on all three.

“We have been talking to a large number of people about what they want to do with their mobile strategy. We do not normally look for involvement at this stage of the process – it’s almost a bit of crowd sourcing.”

Sheil said the app has been developed using the WebKit framework on which browsers like Safari and Google Chrome are based so it renders well.

The app includes a ‘manage my trip’ functionality and offers customer the chance to sell insurance to their clients after they have booked their trip.

Sheil believes this will be particularly popular with tour operators as they look to increase the value of the basket they sell.

It also has the ability to link to location based services like Google Maps through which customers can be offered deals on local attractions.

Comtec customers will be able to easily brand up the app using CSS, Sheil said, and it is hoped it will convince operators and agents about the potential value of business through mobile devices.

Sheil admitted that most customers doubt this, due to the small volume of transaction online but he expected that to significantly increase, particularly with the iPad, on which he expects people to book entire trips.

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