Marabou Travel’s b-there travel app is a revolutionary addition to the travel landscape, designed to connect travel suppliers with Samsung end users. Now travellers can book flights, accommodation, car rental and holiday and safari deals at exclusive discounted rates, which have been specially negotiated for Samsung smart device users.
b-there is an online travel agency that enables customers to search, book and pay for flights, hotels and car hire around the globe at preferential rates and fares. Further to that, it has an exclusive specials section that promotes attractive travel deals and flash specials to b-there end users.
“The travel industry must react quickly to changes in pricing and availability by providing new offerings and alerting our customers to new travel policies and regulations,” says Mike Gray stakeholder and COO of b-there. “We needed to be on a mobile handheld device to do this, so that we could quickly update information and react on the fly, to ensure our customers received the most up-to-date information, regardless of the channel of communication.”
Partnering with Samsung
In early 2013, Andre Visagie, Managing Director of b-there and CEO of Marabou Travel was invited to share its vision with the Vice-President of Samsung Africa. The subsequent discussions resulted in a unique partnership, with b-there as the first-to-market pan African travel app and the first travel app exclusively available on Samsung smart devices, including the new generation smartphones and tablets, and soon to include Samsung smart televisions.
“We realised that Samsung was arguably the best technology partner in the world, and that we could also assist them in differentiating their smart devices by bringing an exclusive app to Samsung end users,” says Visagie.
The b-there travel app, a native application designed specifically for Samsung devices, was developed, with input from Marabou’s development teams on three continents. It’s sneak preview in April 2014 had 10,000 downloads in its first 6 weeks of of operation.
b-there’s unique selling point lies in the ability of suppliers to generate additional revenue from the African marketplace without disrupting existing distribution channels or retail pricing structures.
The app uses mobile communication and information abilities to turn customary retailing upside down. It opens up to the individual consumer a form of transaction which has previously only been open to corporate entities. Niche travel deals that allow travel providers such as airlines and hotels to offer unique one-off deals to sell just a few units at a moment’s notice can now be pushed to customers’ smart devices on an ad hoc basis. Without the immediacy of mobile services it would be almost impossible for service providers to promote these niche deals without impacting their normal retail offering.
b- there provides a travel management system whereby travellers can take control of their reservations and bookings for more than 700 airlines, over 50,000 hotels, and in excess of 50 car rental companies, as well as conduct research about potential destinations. It also offers special vacation packages at well below market rates. And to ensure that customers never struggle to find answers to travel-related questions, the app provides expert travel advice around the clock.
Utilising world class/ best technology b-there is the most powerful mobile site available on mobile devices in Africa, catering specifically for the African market.
“By providing secure mobile reservation capabilities, plus access to a vast database of destination and other travel information, we have moved beyond the alternatives out there,” says Gray.
Payment for a booking is effected through a secure third party payment gateway, with protocols in place to protect customers’ credit card information. Cards can be stored in this protected facility for future efficient purchases.
A dedicated b-there commercial team negotiates special deals with international suppliers of travel services on behalf of the entire Samsung Africa smart device user base. b-there offers these users a complete list of hotels worldwide, as well as for the first time direct access to resorts and hotels in Mauritius, the Seychelles, Reunion, Zanzibar and the Maldives.
Africangamelodges.com, the appointed game lodge aggregator, will soon provide b-there customers with unprecedented safari offers in South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Tanzania and Kenya.
Business Road Warrior
Looking to extend a helping hand to a select group of users, b-there will soon offer a service to small business owners, consultants and entrepreneurs. Road Warrior will provide these customers with the means to manage their bookings more effectively, get concierge services, and gain access to financial reports that will enable them to keep track their savings while providing all the information SARS and their auditors need at year end.
Another new service under development is a premium paid-for service known as b-there VIP. It will be available in 2015 and requires a once-off fee to download the b- there VIP app. b-there VIP members will have access to premium 5-star products such as private and charter flights, suite upgrades with key hotels, and pre-negotiated Business and First Class fares from participating airlines, at preferred rates.
Next year b-there will also launch b-there FUN, the b-there rewards programme where every booking made offers access to b-there cashback rewards and/or FUN points, which can be redeemed for anything from airtime and fuel to paying for doctor’s bills or buying more special travel deals.
Aside from being a great mobile booking tool, b-there will soon provide 3D street maps of destinations and quality images of hotel interiors, to give customers a good idea of what to expect from a booking.
“b-there will soon be available on other handheld devices, but because of our unique relationship with Samsung, which has partnered with us to pioneer this first-to-market travel app in Africa, Samsung smart device users will always enjoy a substantial price benefit when using the b-there app,” says Visagie.
b-there is a trademark registered company.
Win a three-night stay for two people at the 5-star Conrad Pezula. Download the b-there app from the Play Store or Galaxy Apps, view the on-going deals and vote for your favourite deal. SMS Travel Deals, your vote, name and email to 45377 to enter the draw. Exclusively to Samsung smart device users. Ts and Cs apply.
*This article was paid for by client