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    Little Known Gems: Gemstone Logistics’ Small but Mighty Travel Agency

    Little Known Gems: Gemstone Logistics’ Small but Mighty Travel Agency

    Little Known Gems: Gemstone Logistics’ Small but Mighty Travel Agency

    In a recent article, we talked about how Gemstone Logistics’ strategic acquisitions over the past decade have improved our service offerings for clients. We’ve created full-scale workforce and project management solutions for remote camp operators by rounding out our software options.

    Several years ago, we decided to take this one step further by creating an additional service our clients rely on for smooth workforce management: travel bookings. Our in-house travel agency, Gemstone Travel, is one of the busiest agencies in Canada. This complementary division of our team has allowed us to become the premier all-in-one solution for workforce travel.

    Meet Our High-Achieving Travel Team

    Gemstone Travel is a full-service IATA accredited agency that started in 2014. It’s a small but mighty team of three led by Mike Pomponio-Hensler, who has been here almost since the beginning. He’s joined by Carter and Kaylee, both of whom have extensive experience in the travel industry. Kaylee is a recent addition to the team, and although she jumped on board just before the team transitioned to working from home during COVID-19, she’s been a quick learner and an excellent team member.

    Gemstone Travel almost exclusively handles corporate travel. We can book full door-to-door travel that includes cars, trains, busses, boats, and hotels. However, our primary focus is on airlines and charters that take workers from their homes to remote camps. We deal with all Canadian airlines, as well as international airlines, and we can also book private fares that aren’t available to the general public.

    Despite our small team, we’ve been recognized as a top agency by the IATA – the International Air Transport Association. Gemstone Travel is currently ranked in the top five agencies in Western Canada by sales – ahead of nearly two hundred other agencies registered with IATA.

    The CIRYS/Sabre Integration

    The travel team at Gemstone works alongside the developers, and that’s not a happy accident. The travel agency may be a separate arm of the company, but as Mike puts it, “No one is an island at Gemstone. All information is shared. You may not understand it all individually, but it all becomes clear as teams work through it.”

    One of the most valuable benefits Gemstone Travel offers to clients is accessible end-to-end booking services from virtually anywhere. This is thanks to the integration between CIRYS, our proprietary travel booking software, and Sabre, the reservation software used by travel agents and airlines worldwide. As a Sabre Authorized Developer, Gemstone has been able to enhance the services offered to our clients.

    Here’s how the two software systems work together:

    Using the web-based CIRYS software, users can search flight bookings in real time to and from virtually anywhere for their workers. CIRYS does this by translating complex flight information from Sabre into a user-friendly interface (Sabre is not user-friendly unless you’re a trained travel agent or airline booking agent). End-users on CIRYS can easily search for flights based on parameters like date and time, preferred airlines, and flight costs. Once the preferred flights have been selected, with the simple click of a button the requests are sent to the Gemstone Travel team for ticketing. All of this is done online, and everyone gets what they need right away. The employee who booked the tickets receives flight booking confirmations, and passengers are directly sent their e-tickets.

    Without this integration, booking commercial flights for workers would be far more complex and require constant direct contact with booking agents or travel agents. This way, it’s simple and easy for operators and project owners.

    However, this integration isn’t easy to maintain. First, CIRYS has to decode all the high-level information from Sabre to make it easily viewable for users. Second, every time something changes on Sabre, our CIRYS developers have to make updates. That’s why our development and travel teams work so closely together; the travel team helps the CIRYS team understand which changes have been made in Sabre and what the end result will be, and vice versa.

    A Day in the Life at Gemstone Travel

    All of the team members come from travel backgrounds, but this type of agency is different from that of many others because it’s high-volume, yet small in stature. Despite the difference, Mike says his move from the worldwide conglomerates of the travel industry to the small but mighty Gemstone Travel is the best move he could have made.
    Mike is also proud of his team. Despite all the unexpected changes that have come with COVID-19, they’ve kept up with the rapid pace of bookings with no issues or inconveniences to clients, which is a significant feat.

    Mike, Carter, and Kaylee also help the rest of the Gemstone Logistics team get around, whether they’re heading to a remote camp for on-site software training with a client, or headed off to a sunny destination for a bit of fun with family and friends.

    Learn More About Remote Workforce Management & Travel with Gemstone Logistics

    Gemstone Travel is just one essential component of our integrated workforce solutions. We’ve worked hard over the years to put together award-winning teams and fully integrated solutions that work better for remote camp operators and their employees.

    To learn more about our software and solutions, visit our website or get in touch with our team.

    CampWare Workforce Accommodation Software Transitions to Web-Hosted Application

    CampWare Workforce Accommodation Software Transitions to Web-Hosted Application

    CampWare Workforce Accommodation Software Transitions to Web-Hosted Application

    CampWare 3.0  has just emerged from the beta-testing stage. It’s taken three years to transform Orissa’s popular desktop camp management system into a fully web-hosted application. The Gemstone team is excited about the upcoming commercial launch, which is expected in early 2020. 

    Our clients need scalable, state of the art accommodation solutions that fit within the framework of their businesses and offer full services in remote locations. CampWare 3.0 will provide these solutions to provide greater savings and convenience.

    The History of CampWare

    CampWare is a configurable and scalable software designed to manage remote workforce housing facilities. The software manages the registering of guests and camp room assignments, in addition to a host of other camp management activities such as housekeeping, keycard access, night shift and day shift overlap, site security, and invoicing. It’s also fully integrated with our travel and room management software, CIRYS. This allows clients to have end-to-end booking services for comprehensive remote workforce management.

    Gemstone Logistics acquired the software from Orissa in February of 2015. At that time, CampWare was solely a desktop application. Just a year later, we saw an opportunity to improve the convenience and efficiency of the program by transferring it into an online, app-based format. Since then, our development team has been working hard to bring the new app into testing stages.

    Why Now? 

    Several of Gemstone’s clients in the resources sector in Western Canada are already testing CampWare 3.0. We’ve been asked why we’ve chosen to bring the desktop system online, and there are a few reasons behind the advancements:

    • Our remote clients have greater access to internet and Wi-Fi connections than ever before, allowing for convenient mobile application use
    • Clients need dynamic solutions with flexible options for service and features to manage changing a remote workforce accommodation environment
    • Clients want more easily accessible systems, without the need for on-site hardware, to decrease administration, setup, and capital costs

    Remote Workforce Management

    In the past, travel and accommodation software was traditionally built as a desktop application so it could be used in remote locations with little to no internet access. However, many clients (especially in the oil and gas industry) have moved toward better networks in the past 5-10 years. As high-speed internet connections become more reliable in these areas, there’s an opportunity to make the program more easily accessible and configurable by moving it to a ‘software as a service’ model. This is a more affordable and convenient solution that allows for more geographically diverse access and less system management. 

    Dynamic Solutions

    If there’s one thing we know, software solutions must be dynamic. Keeping up with changes in technology, business, and camp management is one of the main reasons we’ve chosen to design CampWare as a web-based application with mobile functionality. Although CampWare will have all the features our clients already use and appreciate, we’ve added new benefits and configuration settings such as the ability to define billing entities, control billing entities, control and oversight over all camp operations from a single access point, and even creating cleaning schedules that suit each of our clients needs.

    Since CampWare was first developed by Orissa 15 years ago, there have been plenty of requests for updates. We’ve had time to see what works best and what can be added to cover more of our clients’ pressing needs.

    When we’re talking about features, it’s important to remember that CampWare is a configurable accommodation management software, which differs from a customizable software. Configurable software solutions allow for flexibility in the use of features, without requiring major expenditures on custom add-ons, management, and updates. 

    Accessible Workforce Accommodation Systems

    Saving clients time and money has been the driving force behind all of Gemstone’s software and application developments. Every time we approach a new change, feature, or program, we’re looking at how we can connect it with the changing needs of clients in diverse industries and locations.

    When we chose to begin developing CampWare as a fully web-based application, it was because we saw great benefits for our clients. In addition to the convenience and added features, clients would spend less time and money on setup. There are no setup costs or hardware costs (such as configuring a server). We still provide all the support and training you need, but without the onerous client setup and associated cost. 

    By moving to web-hosting, CampWare becomes an easy-access system that can be set up in even less time than it took as a desktop application.

    How to Learn More

    CampWare 3.0 is expected to launch in early 2020. If you’re interested in learning more about the app, the system, or our clients, get in touch with the Gemstone team and we’ll be happy to help.