Sep 29
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Be born and prosper for over 40 years

We talked to Business Development Manager Juan Iraola about London Travel In work.

There are not that many transport companies that can trace their roots back over 40 years, but London Travel In has just such a history, thanks to a well-timed business acquisition by LTI CEO Silvino Pires.

London Travel In - Silvino Pires

Silvino Pires – CEO

This move formed LTI as we know it today, and started the group out on a decade-long expansion programme which has seen the company grow from its starting point at that time of just five minibuses, one 29 seat coach and two 16 seat coaches.

Says Business Development Manager Juan Iraola:

London Travel In - Juan Iraola

The company was growing at time when competition for coach travel and transfer business in the UK travel industry was very fierce.

I think we succeeded during that period because we were hungry, we didn’t say ‘no’ and, quite simply, everyone in the company worked extremely hard to make sure we provided a guaranteed service.
Juan Iraola

Today LTI can show the benefits of that hard work with a range of services that covers.

Private hire, private transfers, events and festivals, corporate transportation, VIP services, excursions and school transport.

The latest offering from LTI is a range of airport transfer shuttle services from central London to and from any airport with a meet and greet service including professional English speaking driver.

The client simply books the time of the flight with LTI who will arrange a hotel pickup in plenty of time to get the group to the relevant airport with plenty of time to spare.

London - landscape

But clearly, there is more to growing a company in the face of stiff commercial competition than just having a wide range of services.

We knew we had to bring in new business from the wider travel industry.

As a result we reached out, not just to incoming tour operators, but to other potential business partners such as language schools and UK-based MICE agencies handling both leisure and incentive business.

Another vital factor is having the right software to make sure that all those bookings are fulfilled and all those vehicles are in the right place at the right time.

This is why, after many years of using in-house reservations and billing systems, LTI realised that it needed a more sophisticated system to cope with the new business that its decade long expansion plan was producing.

An evaluation of the marketplace eventually took LTI to the beautiful city of Siena in Italy’s Tuscany region where they discovered that, whilst many of the buildings in its central area dated back to the 14th century, there was nothing old fashioned about the technology the area was producing.

Siena - landscape

In particular this meant the Sengerio transport management system produced by software developer parent company Allbus.

The key message on the front page of Sengerio’s website is ‘Simple bus charter and limo software’ and this chimed with LTI.

Juan Iraola’s view is that the critical point for LTI was the fact that the system integrated both reservations and invoicing in one system.

This meant no more transferring data between two systems to create invoices, a situation where errors are bound to crop up

After an initial trial LTI took adopted the Sengerio system and worked with the company to integrate the nine key modules into LTI’s existing workflow.

These cover:

  1. Quotations, Bookings and Expenses.
    • Calculating prices from a list, confirming reservations and tracking expenses.
  2. Calendar and visual scheduler.
    • Assigning vehicles, drivers and assistants and visualising assignments to reduce downtime.
  3. Drivers and assistants.
    • Sharing the status of the trip and the vehicle and accepting online payments.
  4. Online collaboration
    • Users can create their own network of selected suppliers and manage shared relationships.
  5. Invoicing and payments.
    • Generating customer invoices and online payments, checking supplier invoices.
  6. Vehicle management.
    • Monitoring expiry dates for insurance and licenses plus scheduled maintenance.
  7. Dashboard.
    • Displaying charts of overall performance and analysing key aspects of business volume.
  8. Activities reporting.
    • An overview of the travel assigned to vehicles, drivers and suppliers.
  9. Integrations.
    • Maps, online payments and communications.

There is naturally a cross-over period when everyone in the company needs to understand the new system and adopt existing work practices to get the best out of it.

But we recognised that this extra effort at the outset was going to pay dividends as the system began to increase out productivity and, importantly, help us to improve the service all our different departments were able to give our customers.

Clearly something is working well, as LTI currently boasts a fleet of over 60 vehicles, from cars and limousines through to 8 and 16-seat MPVs, 8 to 17-seat minibuses, medium coaches with 29 seats, standard coaches with seating configurations of 49, 50 and 53, and large coaches with 57, 59 and 68 seats.

Flexibility is absolutely vital to increase efficiency and keep prices down for customers.

Sengerio helps us achieve this by integrating many of our processes and saving manual processing time.

Dashboard - Sengerio

This increased efficiency has been mirrored in the nature of LTIs business expansion, particularly into the accommodation market where Hotelbeds is now the company’s biggest client, both in terms of large groups and smaller (1-8 people) transfers.

The majority of LTI’s business now comes from UK-based in-coming tour companies, a sector of the industry which, thankfully, has not been materially affected by the many concerns affecting the tourism business in the last few years.

Hopefully, with Sengerio’s assistance, London Travel In is in a good place to continue the expansion programme that has seen it develop so successfully since it was implemented some ten years ago.

Whilst there are naturally many challenges ahead for anyone in the tourism business, as well as specific issues affecting those of us specialising road transport, we feel that London Travel In, in partnership with Sengerio, is well placed to adapt quickly to rapidly changing conditions and customers’ demands.

So we look forward to further growth in the future.

About The Author

John Sansom is the owner of Presslink Communications in London.