Fareportal Joins Forces with ScriptEd and iD Tech to Bring Technology Education to New York City Students

Fareportal recently announced its new partnership with ScriptEd, a non-profit working to equip students in under-resources schools with the fundamental coding skills and professional experiences necessary to pursue careers in technology. According to a study conducted in 2014 by the Nation’s Report Card, only 25% students that qualified for the National School Lunch Program were […]

Fareportal Joins Forces with ScriptEd and iD Tech to Bring Technology Education to New York City Students

Online Travel Agency provides scholarship and internship opportunities to STEM-focused students at under-resourced high schools

Fareportal, the travel technology company powering CheapOair and OneTravel, has announced its new partnership with ScriptEd, a non-profit working to equip students in under-resourced schools with the fundamental coding skills and professional experiences necessary to pursue careers in technology.

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Fareportal employees including Sam S. Jain, Founder and CEO, and Werner G. Kunz-Cho, Co-CEO, gather with ScriptEd students for a round table discussion on careers in technology.

According to a study conducted in 2014 by the Nation’s Report Card, only 25% students that qualified for the National School Lunch Program were considered “At or Above Proficient” in Technology and Engineering compared to 59% of students who didn’t qualify for the National School Lunch Program[1].

To help combat this imbalance, Fareportal has dedicated a scholarship fund to send 10 of ScriptEd’s high school students to a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) intensive summer camp hosted by iD Tech Camps. The students will take courses that range from coding and app development to video game design and robotics engineering. Fareportal has also committed to employing one ScriptEd student intern this summer to work in their fast-growing Data Science department.

“As a technology company, we understand the importance of offering advanced science and math education to all students. We are excited to partner with ScriptEd to help the under-served students of New York City gain access to these progressive programs,” said Sam. S Jain, founder and CEO of Fareportal.  “We are dedicated to helping the next generation of coders and engineers achieve their education goals and hopefully find a career path in the technology field down the road.”

Technology is a high-demand industry and is expected to continue growing rapidly.  According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in computer occupations is expected to increase 12.5% from 2014-2024 which is nearly double the average projected growth rate for all occupations nationwide[2]. However, despite this anticipated growth, many students, especially those in under-resourced schools, have limited access to technology and engineering activities in and out of school.

“Many New York City high school students have no idea that websites and apps they use every day are made right here in the city,” said Maurya Couvares, cofounder and Executive Director of ScriptEd. “We are excited to partner with Fareportal to connect ScriptEd students to opportunities in our thriving local tech community, and increase access to high-quality coding education programs and authentic work-based learning experiences.”

Fareportal has a longstanding commitment to helping communities in need through charitable donations and involvement with non-profit organizations. The company is always seeking out new opportunities to get involved both at home and abroad.

 

About Fareportal

Fareportal is a travel technology company powering a next generation travel concierge service. Utilizing its innovative technology and company owned and operated global contact centers, Fareportal has built strong industry partnerships providing customers access to over 450 airlines, 1 million hotels, and hundreds of car rental companies around the globe. With a portfolio of consumer travel brands including CheapOair and OneTravel, Fareportal enables consumers to book online, on mobile apps for iOS and Android, by phone, or live chat. Fareportal provides its airline partners with access to a broad customer base that books high-yielding international travel and add-on ancillaries.

About ScriptEd

ScriptEd is a non-profit organization that equips students in under-resourced schools with the fundamental coding skills and professional experiences that together create access to careers in technology. We bring our tuition-free program directly to schools, where classes are taught by software developers on a volunteer basis. Students apply their coding skills in paid summer internships where they work with role models in the field. Founded in 2012, we currently serve 900 students in 35 high schools in New York City. In 2017, ScriptEd expanded to 3 high schools in the San Francisco Bay Area.

[1] https://www.nationsreportcard.gov/tel_2014/#results/overall

[2] https://www.bls.gov/spotlight/2017/science-technology-engineering-and-mathematics-stem-occupations-past-present-and-future/pdf/science-technology-engineering-and-mathematics-stem-occupations-past-present-and-future.pdf

 

Trend Emerges with Online Retailers Returning to Traditional Brick & Mortar Operations

Travel Agent Industry Paves the Way with Fareportal on Leading Edge

by Richard S. Kahn

NEW YORK, NY (May 24, 2017) — A trend is emerging in both the travel arena and other retail avenues in which the online community is returning to the brick and mortar operations of the past to serve the needs of a growing consumer network that wants the validation of human touch. In the travel industry, one company — Fareportal — has been on the leading edge of this trend since its inception.

Fareportal, with its CheapOair.com and OneTravel.com online travel agencies has been, from the start, a unique combination of clicks and bricks. This fact, combined with reports in the travel trade publications about an increase in use of travel agents by consumers in the past few years, is a clear indication that Fareportal is at the forefront of an important trend for the online retail industry.

“Despite the continued rise in virtual sales, many people still want to touch and see the product before buying it,” according to an article in Direct Marketing News, (March 2017) entitled Clicks going back to Bricks — Why online retailers are opening physical stores.

While online shopping has been growing in both the travel industry and elsewhere for the past 20 years, it has not eliminated the need for the traditional travel agent industry nor the brick and mortar retail stores of any retail industry.

The Direct Marketing News article declared: “In recent years, traditional online retailer companies have opened more physical stores than ever across the country. Most recently, Amazon told the Wall Street Journal it has plans to open two New York City bookstores by the end of the summer to add to their five already-operating brick and mortar locations across the U.S.”

According to reports by many of the travel trade news publications, there has been a resurgence of consumer use of traditional travel agents. While Fareportal has been offering consumers access to live agents since its beginning, other large travel companies are now setting up a limited number of call centers with live travel counselors to service the needs of their customers.

Privately-held Fareportal Inc. and its multichannel travel brands, CheapOair.com and OneTravel.com, have been achieving high customer satisfaction levels with an innovative approach utilizing websites, call centers, mobile apps, tablet optimization, email and live chat.

The company’s 24/7/365 telephone operation features call centers answered by trained Fareportal travel agents, providing callers with travel solutions and telephone bookings any time of day. “Our call center agents are what differentiate Fareportal from the competition; they take the extra step to not only book over the phone, but to find solutions to any customer’s problem,” said Sam S. Jain, CEO of Fareportal.

Fareportal’s unique high-touch, high-tech capabilities in the travel industry and their impressive company-owned contact centers are vital to their success. Fareportal’s contact centers receive over 30,000 daily calls, manage over 450 emails and handle over 800 instant messages per day.

“All of Fareportal’s agents undergo the same training program regardless of where they are located,” said Jain, adding: “This ensures direct control over customer experience enabling our travel company to exceed customers’ expectations on a regular basis.”

Since its inception, Fareportal has emerged as a travel technology leader, opening new doors in the travel industry. The company is headquartered in New York City with more than 3,000 employees spread across operations in Las Vegas, Toronto, Mexico City, London, Kiev and two locations in India.

In 2006, the company launched CheapOair to focus on booking affordable air tickets to both domestic and international destinations and rapidly became a force in the online travel agency arena.  It has quickly and quietly become the second largest OTA in flight bookings, according to a company spokesperson.

In 2008, Fareportal launched another subsidiary, OneTravel.com, to expand its services to include a more comprehensive vacation experience including hotels, car rentals, attractions, transfers and insurance, appealing to a wider audience looking for more than just air tickets.

Beginning in 2011, the flagship brand made its way into new international and technological markets when it launched CheapOair.ca in Canada, CheapOair.co.uk in the United Kingdom, and the CheapOair mobile app which received the number one rating from Top Ten Reviews. More recent international expansions include the launch of CheapOair.mx in Mexico and CheapOair.au in Australia.

Together, these websites garner more than 16 million unique visitors and over 40 million searches per month, and the CheapOair mobile app has reached over 5 million downloads to date. The app receives thousands of bookings per week, ranking highest in user satisfaction among its competitors with its user-friendly interface and readily available customer care.

Whether it’s booking travel online or buying CDs, books or other traditional retail products, the computers, tablets and now smartphones have provided access to information and promotions that have enabled consumers to more readily purchase products and services without going to a traditional brick and mortar store.

The industry has changed and technology forced that change. Many travel agencies didn’t survive, while, at the same time, a new breed of online agencies began to flourish. A growing number of consumers were drawn to the ease of researching and booking online from the comfort of their home as they sat up late at night, often in their PJs, making their own self-educated decisions on what they wanted to do and where they wanted to stay.

The main difference was the convenience of not having to go into a storefront to talk with a travel counselor, especially when the consumer had done all the research and only needed the agent to make the bookings. Technology made it easier to both get information and to communicate with suppliers and make bookings.

As use of computers, tablets and smartphones grew and online agencies and the online review sites proliferated with advice, the role of the traditional human travel counselor became more and more obsolete. However, reports that began to surface more than 20 years ago about the demise of the travel agent have always been greatly exaggerated. While the travel agent industry did shrink, as it probably should have, it was the serious travel counselors that survived.

These survivors were knowledgeable travel agents who asked the right questions before making recommendations to their clients. They built a business out of providing advice and counsel and began charging fees for the work they did rather than relying on commissions from the airlines and hotels that they recommended.

The lack of satisfaction, and the lack of recourse in the event of a problem, has continually kept consumers running back to the traditional sales operations to find a human being to talk with and solve their issues. The absence of the human factor kept cropping up in stories that magnified the problems inherent in the new online industries. All too often, when a problem arose, there was no one to fix it. The computer screens could have been blank for all the help they provided.

During this time of transition, Fareportal came along with a vision of combining the traditional brick and mortar travel agency with the online technology to make it easier for consumers to get the information and, at the same time, communicate with live, human travel agents to get validation for their choices, make bookings and solve problems that may arise. It was a winning solution to a growing issue of trust in technology. And it worked as Fareportal, with CheapOair, rose to become the second largest online agency for flights in the world.

Part of Fareportal’s success is, of course, in combining the traditional travel agency model with the technology that enables consumers to own their research and dictate when and where they will research and book. But a large part of the success is based on enabling consumers to communicate how, when and where they want their information via all the alternative means now available such as tablets, smartphones, texts and apps.

Agents make arranging complex travel itineraries simple for travelers, whether over the phone or via live chat, to create the most affordable and hassle-free travel experience possible.

Fareportal has agreements with over 450 of the industry’s top airline carriers, as well as more than 150,000 hotel partners, major travel insurance providers, and hundreds of car rental agencies. Suppliers are enamored with Fareportal’s websites because of the software which enable disciplined search engine marketing resulting in significant consumer traffic.

While Fareportal’s online channel continues to be its most utilized channel for bookings, the company has seen tremendous growth in the mobile app and also has begun to increase focus on driving telephone bookings. Call centers around the world are owned and operated by the company to maintain quality control which has resulted in outstanding service awards.

Fareportal’s websites and mobile app have been the recipient of nearly twenty awards within both the travel industry and technology world for their fast search times, outstanding service and overall excellence. The Magellan Travel Industry Awards, Stevie Awards for Customer Service and Technology, Horizon Interactive Awards, and AVA Digital Awards are just some of the honors they have received in recent years.

 

About Fareportal

Fareportal is a travel technology company powering a next generation travel concierge service. Utilizing its innovative technology and company owned and operated global contact centers, Fareportal has built strong industry partnerships providing customers access to over 450 airlines, 1 million hotels, and hundreds of car rental companies around the globe. With a portfolio of consumer travel brands including CheapOair and OneTravel, Fareportal enables consumers to book online, on mobile apps for iOS and Android, by phone, or live chat. Fareportal provides its airline partners with access to a broad customer base that books high-yielding international travel and add-on ancillaries.

To learn more, visit www.Fareportal.com

 

About the Author

Richard S. Kahn is an award-winning travel writer and editor, former Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of The Travel Agent Magazine, Transport Editor of Aviation Week & Space Technology and recipient of the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International Lifetime Achievement Award. He is also founder of New York-based Kahn Travel Communications.

 

 

 

Product Development and Customer Service Teams Bring Home More Stevie Awards for Fareportal

Next generation travel company receives recognition at the American Business Awards for Outstanding Customer Service and Product Development

Fareportal, the travel technology company powering CheapOair and OneTravel, recently received two Bronze Stevies from the American Business Awards recognizing exceptional effort by their Product Development Team and Customer Service Team in 2016. Fareportal announced just last week that their CheapOair app was honored with a Gold Stevie for excellence in mobile app development.

The American Business Awards were created in 2002 to honor the achievements of organizations and professionals in the United States. It is one of the premier business awards organizations in the U.S. and features a variety of categories to recognize all areas of the workplace. The entries are judged by a panel of respected executives, entrepreneurs, innovators, and business educators. More than 3,600 nominations from organizations in all industries were submitted for consideration in the 2017 competition.

“As we strive to be a leader in the travel industry, we rely on the innovations of our Product Development and Customer Service teams to get us there,” said Sam S. Jain, CEO and Founder of Fareportal. “Our mission is to create the world’s best customer experience in travel, and these accolades are another testament to our organization’s ability to achieve this goal.”

Innovations from Fareportal’s Product Development Team in 2016 include:

  • Integration of Apple Pay and Android Pay within the app to offer secure payment options for customers booking from their mobile device
  • Launch of a co-branded credit card program in partnership with Synchrony Financial
  • First online travel agency to offer Amtrak rail search alongside flights in partnership with SilverRail
  • Launch of the CheapOair Explore App for AppleTV allowing customers to discover new and unique travel options from the comfort of their couch
  • Development of the Fare Calendar allowing customers with flexibility to see the cheapest dates to travel
  • Development of an industry-leading ancillary attachment allowing Fareportal to sell any ancillary products an airline offers as long as it is listed in the Global Distribution System

Milestones for our Customer Service Team in 2016 include:

  • Fareportal has a Better Business Bureau A+ rating as of November 2016
  • Achievement of the high customer satisfaction rate of approximately 90% according to post-contact customer surveys as of November 2016
  • Fareportal has a 75% Net Promoter Score as of November 2016

“Each year the judges find the quality and variety of the nominations to be greater than the year before. The 2017 competition was intense and every organization that has won should be proud,” said Michael Gallagher, President and Founder of the Stevie Awards.

 About Fareportal

Fareportal is a travel technology company powering a next generation travel concierge service. Utilizing its innovative technology and company owned and operated global contact centers, Fareportal has built strong industry partnerships providing customers access to over 450 airlines, 1 million hotels, and hundreds of car rental companies around the globe. With a portfolio of consumer travel brands including CheapOair and OneTravel, Fareportal enables consumers to book online, on mobile apps for iOS and Android, by phone, or live chat. Fareportal provides its airline partners with access to a broad customer base that books high-yielding international travel and add-on ancillaries.

About the Stevie Awards
Stevie Awards are conferred in seven programs: the Asia-Pacific Stevie Awards, the German Stevie Awards, The American Business Awards, The International Business Awards, the Stevie Awards for Women in Business, the Stevie Awards for Great Employers, and the Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service. Stevie Awards competitions receive more than 10,000 entries each year from organizations in more than 60 nations. Honoring organizations of all types and sizes and the people behind them, the Stevies recognize outstanding performances in the workplace worldwide. Learn more about the Stevie Awards at http://www.StevieAwards.com.

 

 

CheapOair Partners with Damien Escobar for Trip and VIP Concert Giveaway

Online Travel Agency Launches Sweepstakes for Trip to Los Angeles to see Award-Winning Violinist in Concert at The Wiltern

 CheapOair, a leading flight-focused hybrid travel agency, has partnered with Damien Escobar, a two-time Emmy Award-winning violinist, to give one lucky fan and a guest the chance to see Escobar perform live at the iconic, art-deco Wiltern Theatre on June 17, 2017.

The winner of the sweepstakes will be awarded complimentary round-trip flights on Virgin America, two hotel nights at the Best Western Sunset Plaza, VIP backstage access to the concert and the sound check, the chance to meet Escobar after the show, plus signed memorabilia from the tour.

For the chance to win, entrants must register on the sweepstakes landing page by May 31, 2017. The winner will be chosen by random drawing and announced on June 2, 2017.

CheapOair’s partnership with Escobar began when the brand’s blog published an exclusive profile of the musician in honor of Black History Month. Escobar is a native of Queens, New York and was the youngest student to be accepted into The Juilliard School at the age of 10. Following numerous hardships, Escobar found himself hitting rock bottom and living on the New York City subway in 2012. He has since worked his way out of his personal struggles and has used the power of his music to become one of the most recognized violinists in the world.

The CheapOair Miles Away blog is dedicated to creating an inclusive community and is proud to celebrate the diversity, culture, and history of people around the world. For more information, please visit www.cheapoair.com or our social media pages, www.facebook.com/cheapoair and www.twitter.com/cheapoair.

 About CheapOair

CheapOair is a flight-focused hybrid travel agency that enables consumers to book online, on mobile apps for iOS and Android, by phone or live chat. CheapOair (https://www.cheapoair.com, 1-800-566-2345) bridges the gap between an online and traditional travel agency with certified travel agents available 24/7 to help find deals and offers to destinations worldwide on over 450 airlines, 150,000 hotels, and 100s of car rentals. Partner airlines benefit from access to CheapOair’s broad customer base that books high yield international travel and add-on ancillaries at above the industry average. Follow CheapOair on Facebook and Twitter to learn how to travel the world for less.

 

 

Fareportal Raises Over $10,000 for New York Cares at Annual Charity Event

Leading Online Travel Agency Hosts 4th Annual Fundraiser to Support High-Impact Volunteer Organization in New York City

Fareportal, the travel technology company powering CheapOair and OneTravel, recently hosted a fundraiser to support the New York City-based non-profit, New York Cares.

The company raised over $10,000 as the capstone for their National Volunteer Month campaign. A few weeks earlier, Fareportal joined New York Cares for a park cleanup project on Earth Day. Fareportal employees gathered at Morningside Park in Harlem for a day of removing invasive species, clearing the park of trash and debris, and planting new trees.

“Giving back to the community has been a pillar of our company’s mission from the very beginning,” said Sam S. Jain, CEO and Founder of Fareportal. “We are proud to help support the impactful work New York Cares is doing, both as volunteers and as a donor.”

New York Cares is the largest non-profit organization in New York City with over 1,600 volunteer projects taking place each month. The program involves around 64,000 volunteers and serves over 400,000 New Yorkers in need each year. New York Cares specializes running in high-impact projects focused around education, immediate needs, and public spaces.

“As a global company, we are involved with charity organizations all over the world, but it feels good to work with charities doing amazing work right here in our hometown,” said Corissa Leong, Senior Vice President of People and Culture at Fareportal. “We are thrilled to support the New York Cares mission of meeting critical needs in the community.”

Fareportal has a longstanding commitment to helping communities in need through charitable donations and volunteer work. The company is always seeking out new opportunities to get involved with charity organizations both at home and abroad.

About Fareportal

Fareportal is a travel technology company powering a next generation travel concierge service. Utilizing its innovative technology and company owned and operated global contact centers, Fareportal has built strong industry partnerships providing customers access to over 450 airlines, 1 million hotels, and hundreds of car rental companies around the globe. With a portfolio of consumer travel brands including CheapOair and OneTravel, Fareportal enables consumers to book online, on mobile apps for iOS and Android, by phone, or live chat. Fareportal provides its airline partners with access to a broad customer base that books high-yielding international travel and add-on ancillaries.