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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.

Bryan is the Business Development Manager with Gemstone Logistics. his interest has always been meeting new people and talking with them. He should be your first call if your looking for a software solution to make your job easier!