Document automation as a game changer for time saving


Less room for error and less manual intervention. Steph Hamel works for The Travel Corporation and shares her story on how SmartDocuments is a major time saver when compiling documents.

The Travel Corporation Limited (TTC) is a global travel company selling and operating trips under forty travel and hospitality brands. These brands offer escorted tours, independent travel, hotel groups, a river cruise line and more across the globe. Those forty brands and regions are the reason why a tool such as SmartDocuments is so welcome to Steph and her colleagues.

Booking conditions and compliance

Part of Steph’s role at TTC is to look after booking conditions. “These are the terms to which a customer agrees to travel with the brand,” she says. “This includes the key terms such as payment and cancellation terms, what to expect when travelling with us etc. - everything goes into the booking conditions and it is an essential document to our communication with our customers. The booking conditions are based on a single template tailored for each brand and each sales region while maintaining a consistent level of global compliance.” Steph continues: “We are truly a global organisation. There are certain laws and consumer protections that we need to follow, wherever we are selling and wherever we are operating. We have to make sure that we are compliant with those, along with our obligations and such. It means that every document always needs to be up to date and fully correct.”

One change times forty

Compiling the documents was a time-consuming task before SmartDocuments was introduced, Steph tells us. “It was horrible. Truly, truly horrible,” she says. “We have five escorted touring brands that effectively have the same booking conditions. Each of those brands sell in eight to nine regions, meaning there will be differences in the language and terminology we use for the brand. Next, you have to think about the local legislation that we are selling under, and then finally, although it is all English, it can be British English, American English, Canadian English, etc. Is it tips or gratuities, cancelling or canceling, s’s or z’s? So we have eight to nine versions of the same document, times five for every brand. And it’s all the same document. Meaning that if there is one change that needs to be made, you change it forty times, in each separate Word document.”

“The time saving has been immense. Especially now that we have more things to do with less resources, less people, less time.”

View from Steph's office

Getting started

Looking for a way to make the process more efficient, TTC first searched for internal solutions, but the project did not succeed, the customisation required was too complex. “Then I did a simple Google search on document automation and I found SmartDocuments,” Steph says. “It felt like their software would be a good fit for what we were looking to solve. The demo that was provided by SmartDocuments was great, it was nice and easy.” The software was installed without any issues. “It went well and was pretty straightforward,” according to Steph. “Then we had the training which again was really good. The trainer was really approachable, really knowledgeable. I then had some help with setting up the templates, for which I want to give a massive shoutout to the organisation for all the support. I am now able to manage the system and change things if need be. So, it’s been a surprisingly painless experience.”

Automation and time saving

“Since we are up and running, it has been fantastic,” Steph says. “The time saving has been immense. Especially now that we have more things to do with less resources, less people, less time. As the Covid-19 situation and the requirements in each location have changed, we have needed to be really prompt at updating those booking conditions and getting them on our website as quickly as possible. Our booking conditions had to change frequently and you can imagine the frustration of having to change just a couple of words but having to do it forty times, versus the joy of changing it in the template, click and go. It automatically exports all the documents, I can send them out and it’s done.”

“I love this product! It is definitely easier than how we used to work.”

Flexibility and less room for error

“SmartDocuments is allowing us to be more flexible than we had been,” Steph emphasises. “We had a process of only allowing changes on an annual basis, because of the time investment required. Now, because it’s so much quicker, we are more flexible in being able make a quick change and reissue them. What used to take me couple of hours to update, now takes me only ten minutes. That is one change in forty different documents. Another thing is that, because you are not making the changes manually, there is less room for error. Less manual intervention, the less opportunity I have to make an error. You make the change once, you export it out and you know it’s right. The time saving when we are really stretched as a team because of staff loss, has been immense.”

A game changer

Steph will be recommending SmartDocuments throughout her organisation. “Automation has been the game changer for us. I have come up with a few other areas of the business we could use this solution and I will be promoting it to our efficiency committee as well. We are a quite a big organisation, there might be other opportunities for instant time saving with SmartDocuments. It’s really a no-brainer for us.”

“I love this product!” Steph concludes. “It is definitely easier than how we used to work. There is less room for error and less manual intervention. You can trust it’s right.”


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