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Phil Nuttall, managing director, The Travel Village Group

“We have been trading for more than 60 years, and The Travel Village Group is the umbrella for The Cruise Village, The Travel Village, the Southampton Cruise Centre and River businesses. We’ve been with Vertical since 1989 when I first met Peter Healey, and we’ve been friends ever since. We use Vertical’s TARSC, CRM and VoIP systems. TARSC is robust, and does what it says on the tin, while CRM is an evolving addition to the products offered and we couldn’t work without it. Their VoIP platform is extremely reliable and services our head office and homeworkers efficiently. I have a long-standing and personal relationship with Vertical, and there is always open dialog. I think the new V-TARSC is a great new addition, as this will bring other browser platforms into the mix, and it means you¹re not reliant on Microsoft and its products.”

Jackie Steadman, founder and director, Traveltime World

“I started the business in 1994, and have been working with Vertical Systems since 1998. I came from Avis, which was all online. We had our own email before the web really existed; we could see where any vehicle was at any time around the world, its mileage, its revenue. So when I came to the travel industry, I said “Wow!” You couldn’t see revenue, for example; you just had all these diaries everywhere! My business partner proposed using spreadsheets, but I went out there and had a look around. I met Peter Healey, and we met again at World Travel Market. It’s fair to say that we got on well on a personal basis; you were in touch with the management of the company. At the time I needed to link the four agencies, and we’ve been with them ever since. There’s never an issue, and on a day-to-basis we work with Rob Barker and his team of programmers. If there’s ever a problem, they just jump straight in. They are very open to listening to what people say. For example, when we set up Athena Holidays, two of their guys came down and helped us. They thrashed it out ­ that’s the sort of company they are. Vertical hosts our website, among other things. We’re a member of the Advantage Travel Partnership, so there’s an overbranded site. Vertical provides the feed for the internet, email and TARSC. Front and back-end, we take it to full profit and loss. We need a clean system. Vertical’s V-CRM is quite new for us, and we’re just testing it at the moment. It’s web-based, and we’re in the early stages of experimenting with it, as we’ve just signed up. Vertical fully understands because of its other businesses. They’re travel and sales people, they’re not just techies. They have five or six different travel companies, they’re in touch ­ you can ask them as travel people; they’re not just software suppliers.”

Alistair Rowland, group general manager, Midcounties Co-operative

“We are one of the largest independent retailers in travel, among the likes of Hays Travel and Barrhead Travel. We have a long relationship with Vertical as technology systems provider, going back 15 years. [Vertical Group chief executive] Peter Healey was at the forefront of homeworking, and we did a joint venture with him in homeworking, where our systems sat on Vertical’s technology. There’s a long relationship of Vertical and Co-operative working together we’ve been like their research and development house! It’s an embedded relationship. With Vertical’s systems ­ it’s still the only back-office system that manages the numbers completely: the TARSC product handles the financials for a large business, and I know that the numbers are real, there¹s no black holes… we built the business up from £70 million turnover to £400 million turnover, and I know Vertical’s there for when I go for turnover of £500 million. We trusted Vertical to be the partner of our tour operating programme with Rooms and Holidays ­ and it is a joint venture, so the relationship is very joined up, and we use the full Vertical engine. I personally work closely with Rob Barker and Nyki [Dilworth]. Nyki is hands-on and she’ll make sure the job gets done! Vertical’s new search tool is the most significant thing they’ve done in a number of years. If you’re a travel agent, you just want that single sign-in. We’re working with them on the Holy Grail of one system [with the V-Suite], and that will be a first in the market.”

Anthony Blackmore, Cruise365

“Your guys did a sterling job with the problems and the fact I could divert the phones through enswitch was a god send (something I couldn’t do on my old system).”