Since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic last year, technology has played a crucial role in helping businesses optimise their increasingly limited resources.

But investment in technology is expensive. Which was why Tourvest Destination Management (TDM) launched its e.DMC booking platform for South African-based DMCs whose businesses had been brought almost to a standstill due to the pandemic.

Chief Operating Officer: Inbound Leisure Franchising at TDM, Martijn Mellaart, describes how the platform has assisted smaller to medium-sized DMCs.

Q: Why was e.DMC launched?

A: To assist smaller to medium-sized South African-based businesses who experienced unwanted retrenchments and staff reductions.

By offering the e.DMC bookings platform we provide the full role of procurement, contracting, and reservations system, providing the DMC with sufficient tools and competitive rates to operate without heavy overheads, allowing more time to concentrate on sales.

Q: Can you tell us how it works?

A: The e.DMC booking platform uses the database of Tourvest, which has over 30 years of trading experience and is adapted to cater for the Southern African-based DMC operations. The system provides competitive rates, full supplier info, COVID-19 updates, quotes, confirmations and invoice facilities as well as a detailed digital set of travel documents for the passengers travelling in the destination.

e.DMC is a full self-service booking platform to book accommodations, activities, guided tours, rental cars, and many other tourism-related services for South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Lesotho, Swaziland, Kenya and Tanzania. Once bookings are generated on the e.DMC platform, an e.DMC reservations consultant will confirm and invoice for all the services in one single invoice. For multiple bookings per month, the DMC will receive a monthly statement.

Working with e.DMC simplifies and reduces the financial admin of the bookings to one single payment portal, avoiding unnecessary banking costs and extra staff.

Q: What are the benefits to the tourism industry, and DMCs in particular?

A: This helping hand to the DMC network in Southern Africa has allowed many DMCs to keep doors open, reduce their monthly overheads to minimal costs and are still able to supply their clients/agents with a high standard of service.

It’s like having a free populated and fully maintained reservation system at hand, 24/7.

Q: Since launching, have you any examples of how the platform has helped users in practical ways?

A: Yes, the e.DMC bookings platform currently has over 50 active clients, and has been chosen as the bookings partner for the National Tourism Tour Operator Incubator, a government-funded incubation initiative for small SMMEs in South Africa.

Q: How can industry make use of the platform and what are the costs involved?

A: The e.DMC booking platform is free to all Southern African-registered DMC operations. After signing up and joining the online training session, each DMC will be provided with unique log in details and then they are ready to go. No contractual obligations.

Q: Any other comments?

A: The e.DMC booking platform also has an extra facility for affiliate accounts, where overseas clients working with a Southern African e.DMC client can make use of the same systems, and payments will be processed by their respective DMC locally.