Host agency Departure Lounge launches new booking platform

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Departure Lounge's new platform was developed by BookingVault.
Departure Lounge's new platform was developed by BookingVault.

Austin, Texas-based host agency Departure Lounge has launched a new booking platform for its travel advisors, featuring the agency's preferred hotels, hotels from agency consortium Virtuoso and Valerie Wilson Travel's air inventory.

The platform was developed by travel technology company BookingVault.

Departure Lounge founder Keith Waldon said the booking platform complements the host agency's other technology offerings for advisors: itinerary management platform Travefy and customer relationship management (CRM) system Travel Contact. Both platforms are integrated into the new booking platform.

Waldon has long been a proponent of new technology for travel agencies. He opted not to use a GDS when he launched his host agency nearly nine years ago.

"I was determined to create an agency where I didn't have to ask smart, talented people to step back in time 20 to 30 years to be a travel advisor," Waldon said in a release about his new booking platform. "A key part of that vision was current, easy booking technology, combined with other cutting-edge CRM and travel itinerary platforms."

In addition to featuring the agency's preferred suppliers and those of Virtuoso, the platform includes content from Valerie Wilson Travel's Air Access Program. VWT, No. 35 on Travel Weekly's 2021 Power List, was acquired by No. 13 Frosch last May. VWT is an independent brand under the Frosch umbrella.

Jennifer Wilson-Buttigieg, VWT's co-president, said she and Waldon have been working on the partnership since 2017. VWT is also a Virtuoso member.

"Our goal was to bring high touch and support through VWT's Air Access Program together easily with high tech for Departure Lounge and its travel advisors," she said. "BookingVault developed an impressive customizable platform that does just that, and I am thrilled to have it come to fruition."

VWT is open to giving other agencies access to its air program.

Similarly, BookingVault is also offering the booking platform it developed to other agencies.

"We're huge believers here in the future of leisure travel and are building the platforms to give a new generation of advisors the tools they need to lead agencies for the next 100 years," BookingVault COO Ben Nayberg said.

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