New luxury-focused Odyssey Travel app is positive pandemic story: Travel Weekly

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Jamie Biesiada

In the eyes of Stephen Scott, founder and CEO of Travel Hub 365 in Chicago, travel advisors face two fundamental challenges: distribution and scalability.

First, how can advisors ensure that all the properties they have access to are also available to consumers?

And second, if the distribution part of the equation is solved, how can this solution be scalable to reach hundreds, thousands, or millions of people around the world, and not just the advisor’s usual network of travelers?

Enter the Odyssey Travel app, a luxury-focused OTA where consumers who have booked a hotel have the option to connect with a Travel Hub 365 advisor, who can then help them book other elements of their trip.

“I think it’s not just online customers and only travel agency customers,” Scott said. “I think we need to introduce more consumers online only to using an advisor, and I think once they start using that advisor, they’ll improve their travels even more.”

There’s no denying that the pandemic has caused pain, both personal and professional, for travel counselors. But it also had a lot of upsides, including finding smart ways to grow businesses, which came from having free time to book trips.

For Scott, Odyssey is that silver lining. In March 2020, like all agency owners, he wondered if a client would ever return to his agency.

He remembers thinking, “I need to find a way to make it easier for people to use us, to make it easier to find luxury travel, and to get support that they might not get if they book on one of the other online platforms.”

Odyssey focuses on luxury by eliminating one and two star hotels, making three star hotels its benchmark. Its mobile app launched on December 16 and its website launched this month.

Already, the platform has more than 3,000 users, of which more than 300 have registered with Odyssey. The platform is growing every day, Scott said. It is available in 177 countries.

Odyssey is part of Amadeus Launchpad, an Amadeus program designed to support travel startups. OTA uses Amadeus Application Programming Interfaces, or APIs, to deliver a global hotel offering. Additionally, Scott said, Odyssey is part of the Amadeus Value Hotels program, with 150,000 hotels offered at market-leading rates identified as Odyssey rates within the OTA.

Odyssey also offers Booking.com’s offering, which is particularly useful for listing properties such as villas and bed and breakfasts.

Odyssey is currently limited to hotels, but plane and car rentals are coming soon, Scott said.

Although Odyssey is a separate company from Travel Hub 365, the two are somewhat related, as Travel Hub 365 agents will serve Odyssey customers who wish to work with an advisor.

Travel Hub 365 focuses on luxury leisure and corporate entertainment travel. Odyssey reservations are assigned to an advisor specialized in the type of trip requested or in the final destination.

“We also have advisers who are jack-of-all-trades or jack-of-all-trades,” Scott said.

What’s particularly exciting for him is that Odyssey was built in 2021 and 2022 and benefits from newer technology, not systems built a decade or more ago.

He said the UI was particularly smooth, adding that users were already praising it, as well as its overall look.

As Scott said, “We’re as beautiful as HotelTonight and easy to use, but we’re as powerful as Booking.com.”


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