What is TourCAT?
TourCAT is a fully integrated reservation, accounting and management information system specially designed for the tour operator market. It is modular in design, with simple user-friendly screens and extensive screen-based help facilities. TourCAT has been designed using modern development tools to operate in an open system environment. The system is highly flexible, multi-functioning and can cope with both outbound and inbound tour operating requirements.
How does it work?
At the heart of TourCAT is an extensive, flexible database which includes all company and product information. The system has the ability to ‘switch on’ appropriate functions according to which task it is performing and what services are required. Currently 20 different travel services including flights, hotel rooms and car hire can be handled from the database. Package holidays and/or complex itineraries can also be constructed using the database. Common to all service data is the ability to hold date-banded selling prices and costing rates in a wide range of currencies.
How are bookings made?
The reservation system operates quickly and simply, omitting superfluous services (when a booking requires an additional service it will be brought in automatically). A key feature of the booking screens is that whether for a package, single service or complex itinerary booking, the screen design remains the same and shows the selling price, the cost and the resultant margin. The system can link directly to other reservations systems to view and book from their availability – for example from airline CSR’s such as Gallileo. TourCAT can handle every aspect of travel bookings:
- telephone bookings or those made through external services such as Viewdata
- bookings taken from account-based customers or directly from the public
- bookings which may start life as quotations generated by TourCAT which can be then be converted to either a provisional or confirmed status
- single service booking (e.g. one hotel) to complex tailored itineraries comprising flights, hotels, cars, cruise options and more
- amendments and cancellations easily be made
- extensive enquiry, reporting and search facilities are included
How is documentation handled?
The operations module prints all standard documentation such as invoices, confirmations, itineraries, quotations and vouchers. These can be tailored for each product area. Automatic faxing/telexing is a key feature allowing confirmations and vouchers to be faxed, driven by the booking system but managed and controlled in the operations module.
What accounting functions are featured?
The accounting system includes integrated sales, purchase and nominal ledgers. Accounting data is posted directly from the operations module for each company/product on a batch-controlled basis. At the same time, the ledgers are automatically updated. Both the sales and purchase ledgers are designed to allow of viewing of individual accounts ‘from the top down’. This means, for example, that the total aged analysis of a large multiple can be viewed, then the different branches of that multiple, the individual bookings at a branch and, finally, the separate transactions behind each booking.
Key features of the accounting system include:
- Sales ledger - extensive, predominately screen-based credit control facilities allow cash posting to individual bookings or to a multiples/agents followed by allocation to bookings at a later time. Sales reporting facilities include a wide range of transaction listings, aged debt analysis and statement production.
- Purchase ledger - accounts are viewable either in their contracted currency or in sterling. A sophisticated built-in payment routine ensures that all transactions go through an authorisation and payment selection process before remittances and cheques are produced.
- Nominal ledger - the integrated ledger package conforms to those used by over 200 other companies. It includes extensive enquiry and reporting facilities and the ability to consolidate across companies. The reporting facilities include trial balances, profit and loss statements and balance sheets.
How is management information reported?
The management information/statistics module is integrated with the reservations and operations module. All quotations and provisional, confirmed and invoiced booking data are collected and passed automatically to statistics files on a batch-controlled basis. All reports can be viewed or printed and all allow the comparison of current data with the previous year’s performance or costs in order to compare margins. Each report is established as a ‘report generator’ which means that an operator selects the criteria required and the system then generates a report on that basis.
What other features are included?
The systems management module incorporates a number of ‘housekeeping’ facilities. These include password control, archiving routines, file optimisation and job and print management facilities. These facilities support the whole system and enable its efficient management and control.