TapTrip set to make waves with Vessul
As award-winning TapTrip prepares for the ceremonial Champagne christening of its new tech solution, Vessul, we spoke with co-founder and CEO Thomas Young
What is Vessul?
Vessul is a new service dedicated to, and built for, marine and energy travel. It’s essentially a crew rotation platform for energy, shipping and other types of maritime companies, and it means travel bookers have access to easy-to-use, hands-on, real-time travel management technology blended with human support to easily book, cancel, rearrange and report on travel globally. The platform has been Beta-tested by 20 companies over the last three months and will ‘set sail’ in October.
Who is Vessul for?
At this stage, it’s primarily for TMCs with clients in the marine and energy sectors and we have a raft of major TMCs in the pipeline desperate to get started, which shows not only how needed Vessul is, but that we’ve got it bang on. Once we have access to more data and a greater understanding of the nuances of how it’s being used, a longer-term goal is to create a second version of Vessul for smaller companies with unmanaged travel.
Why does the marine and energy sector need Vessul?
There are two reasons. Currently, booking travel in this sector is a fragmented process. They’re mostly doing it themselves using loads of disparate spreadsheets, emails, documents and data, so it takes ages and is expensive.
Where they are using a TMC, current booking tools are simply adaptions of core business travel tools, but that really is like trying to make a square peg fit a round hole. They are over developed, over complicated and expensive in a sector where margins are already tight. Vessul can be integrated into a TMC’s existing tech stack.
Because of the complications in this industry, we knew Vessul needed to be a blend of technology and human touch. Using Vessul, bookers can limit errors and cost, and there’s massive savings for TMCs too.
Any particular USPs?
For sure. The multi-city departures function lets companies book up to 50 flights (the GDS only allows up to nine) for multiple travellers in a single booking to arrive at the same destination at the same time, no matter where they depart from in the world.
So, let’s say a ship is sailing from Beijing to the UK stopping in Dubai. When they get to Dubai, they may need to do a change of the crew, which could be 20 people coming off the ship and another 20 people boarding. With Vessul they can manage all of that. A crew manager or a travel manager can do one search and one booking.
We’ve also built a light touch mobile app as support, which runs on low bandwidth because connectivity is traditionally poor at sea. There is currently no mobile solution like this for the marine energy sector.
And it’s also really simple, clean and inexpensive to use as it leverages all the lovely UX and UI features of TapTrip.
What are the benefits of taking travel online for this sector?
Duty of care is a huge factor in this sector and centralising travel information – from visas to ship passes to security protocols – in one app makes it more streamlined, easier to access, manage, analyse and understand.
Talking about safety, Vessul also has an API that gives users live up-to-date information on FCO advice, Covid travel restrictions, and testing needed on arrival and departure wherever they are in the world.
Why marine and energy?
Because it’s a complex sector that needed help, and we knew we could provide them with a global solution that works and is affordable for them. But it’s also a huge business opportunity for us – it’s a £17 billion market.
Tell us a bit about TapTrip – the team behind Vessul?
We’re the award-winning team behind TapTrip, the booking platform and app used and loved by TMCs to target the SME community. We raised another £1.7m during Covid, increased headcount from 7 to 21 and are about to close another significant investment for our Series A to fuel even greater growth and global reach.
Where can TMCs find out more?
At vessul.com, where you can register to receive information about the launch and how to book a demo. We’re also hosting a series of super exclusive, invite-only launch events in the north and south of England. The invite list is nearly at capacity, but if you register at vessul.com we will be eyeballing the list if slots become available.