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The problems we want to solve in 2024: A sneak peek at Tern's 2024 roadmap

I thought I’d take this opportunity to look ahead and share what you can expect from Tern over the next year. In startup land, six months is basically an eternity. After all, depending on how you count it, Tern is only 14 months old. 
Written by
David Shull
Published on
March 22, 2024

This week Katie, Brian, and I are heading to a tech x venture capital conference called the Upfront Summit in Los Angeles. It was at this conference, exactly one year ago, that we formalized our partnership with Upfront to help realize our vision of building the modern operating system for travel advisors. 

Tern was incorporated in 2022 and four of us have been working on it full time since January of 2023. Still, I tend to think about this milestone as Tern’s real birthday. It’s what let us grow Tern to what it is today. We’ve hired some of the best people we’ve ever worked with and are incredibly proud of what we’ve built for the travel advisor community over the past year. 

The 2024 Upfront Summit was held at the Academy of Motion Pictures in LA

I thought I’d take this opportunity to look ahead and share what you can expect from Tern over the next year. In startup land, six months is basically an eternity. After all, depending on how you count it, Tern is only 14 months old. 

So, that brings me to a necessary disclaimer. A core tenet we hold at Tern is to remain flexible and let user feedback guide us. As we learn, we may change course or rearrange timelines based on your feedback. Some things may take longer than we expect and others less. Therefore, this post focuses less on dates and features and more on the problems we want to solve over the next year.  

Tern will truly realize our vision of enabling system consolidation

From the first conversations we had with travel advisors we were struck by how many systems went into managing a travel business. CRMs, itinerary builders, spreadsheets, commission tracking, marketing tools, etc. It was overwhelming. 

Our vision with Tern is to create the operating system that powers all aspects of the modern travel advisor's business.

While we’re incredibly proud of the progress we’ve made, we know there are a few core areas that we need to build in order to enable advisors to truly consolidate their business onto Tern. 

  • Automation: On March 21st, we’ll host our next product webinar where we show how automation and AI, integrated directly into Tern, can help travel advisors scale their business. 
  • Groups: Later this spring, Tern will reimagine how technology can support the complexities of planning group travel. We’re still sorting out the details but think landing pages, group specific automation, financial management, and more. 
  • Reporting: This summer, we’ll add new dashboards that give advisors insight into their business without pulling manual reports. 
  • Tour Operator Support: This summer, Tern will add support for tour operators who need a way to charge for travel directly in Tern and track markup instead of commission. 

There are dozens of other smaller features that will go into realizing this vision. Things like flight tracking, PDF itinerary export, and many others are on our list! 

Tern will unlock a new era of collaboration

Planning the perfect trip is a team effort. For proof, look no further than the acronym soup of job and organizational titles that a travel advisor may work with during the planning process (DMC, VA, BDM, Copilot, etc). We believe that efficient collaboration has been held back by existing technologies. 

By making collaboration easier we believe we can reduce duplicate work, save everyone time, and enable advisors to focus on the things that really matter. 

This year, Tern will reimagine what collaboration looks like in travel in a few key ways: 

  • Agency offerings: Tern will allow agencies to manage subscriptions for their advisors/sub-agents. We’ll explore lightweight reporting. If you’re an agency owner/exec and want to join the waitlist, let us know here! 
  • Shared discoverable content: Tern will introduce shared libraries. Advisors and agencies will be able to seamlessly share and collaborate on library content. We’ll explore ways to enable advisors to share and discover content. 
  • Supplier accounts & collaboration: We’ll create a new supplier experience in Tern. We’re still working out the details, but expect suppliers will be able to create profiles, upload media for use in itineraries, list key points of contact for advisors, and more. Advisors will be able to invite suppliers (e.g. DMCs) to collaborate on itineraries directly in Tern. Permissions will let advisors decide what suppliers can access down to the day. No more exchanging PDFs. If you’re a supplier and are interested in early access In exchange for giving feedback, let us know here!  PS: If you're an advisor/agency and you know a partner that would be great for us to work with, please forward this to them! 
  • Team collaboration: Tern’s team products will make it easy to work with colleagues and assistants directly within Tern. Assign tasks, see progress, work on trips together, and more.

Travel is all about people. Our aim with these features is to build tools that make it easier to work with all the people that go into making your client’s trips special. 

Tern will build tools to help advisors grow their business

I recently posted on Facebook asking what part of their job advisors wish they didn’t have to do. One of the areas that came up most frequently was marketing. We’ve heard this a lot, specifically, advisors wanting an integrated solution to manage email marketing. 

We don’t have a lot of details here, yet. We’re excited about how we could build an email marketing solution that directly integrates with Tern’s travel CRM. We see a huge opportunity to help advisors send engaging, highly personalized, and authentic emails to clients that ultimately drive sales. 

Tern will invest in support and community engagement

We think one of the things that makes Tern special is that we have deep experience in building technology companies. Our hiring recipe is to recruit the best people we’ve ever worked with. The people who are incredibly smart, have deep experience in their area, and have the humility to know what they don’t know and find the answers from people who do. 

Being new to travel, that last part is really important. Our formula for Tern is to listen to experts in travel, understand their pain points, and then build solutions to those pain points.

Still, building a great product by itself is not enough. We want to build the best product and complement it with the best support, training, and education in the industry. 

The Tern team at the ASTA Global Conference in Puerto Rico

A big part of that is investing in support, training, and community engagement. We’re growing our support team and will be attending nearly a dozen conferences this year. We want to meet advisors where they are and are even toying with the idea of a Tern roadshow to host live trainings and meetups in hubs around the country 🙂.  If you’d be interested in that, let us know! 

🚀 It’s going to be a great year

The past year has been incredible and I have a feeling the next 12 months will be even more exciting for Tern. Above all, we’re grateful to this community for welcoming us and supporting us. We couldn’t be more excited to continue building! 

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