Fathom Travel


Background Fathom Travel, a subsidiary of Carnival Corporation, charters cruises aboard its 704-passenger ship, Adonia, from Miami to both Cuba and the Dominican Republic. It is the first cruise line to open up travel to Cuba since the travel embargo was lifted in 2016. Because of this, Fathom is faced with a unique challenge to provide travel affidavits for all of their customers traveling to Cuba. These affidavits serve as a source of documented proof of Cultural Exchange Travel for the Office of Foreign Assets Control in the Department of the Treasury. Challenge Prior to traveling with Fathom, all customers are required to fill out a travel affidavit. This affidavit serves as a written record of the dates traveled, the locations customers plan to visit and the customer’s stated reasons for traveling between the U.S. and Cuba. All travel affidavit information is submitted to Fathom as an Adobe PDF. These PDF files, generated by a third party service, are then stored in folders which are organized by date submitted. Storing the information in this format is useless for the crew members, who need to be able to quickly identify which travelers still need to complete an affidavit before boarding the ship. As a result, Fathom decided that organizing the data from the affidavits would be most useful in an Excel spreadsheet. Josh Cogar, Director of Systems and Technology, was tasked with manually extracting this data from the PDF reports and re-keying the information into Excel for the crew members. On average, Cogar receives roughly 500 affidavits on a bi-weekly basis. In order to complete the data conversion process, he was opening each individual file and then copying and pasting all the information into Excel. In addition, he had to ensure that the information being loaded into the spreadsheet correlated with the correct cruise. This process took him between 10-12 hours and required him to double his work days to stay on top of it. This is when he decided to look around for tools to help streamline this process. Solution Cogar started using Monarch Complete to help automate the vast majority of his travel affidavit processes. With the help of Datawatch, Cogar developed two Monarch models designed for two different versions of the affidavit. These models automatically extract the important traveler information that Fathom needs to capture from the affidavits. Once the information is extracted, Cogar uses the Monarch join capabilities to merge all affidavits into one spreadsheet and then leverages the de-dupe feature to quickly identify and remove any duplicate entries. Benefits Monarch has significantly improved the operational processes required for Fathom to successfully address their customers’ travel needs. Cogar explains, “By using pre-built Monarch Models, report extraction that used to take 10-12 hours can now be completed in just 3. The time I save using Monarch allows me to shift focus to other priorities which were previously impossible for me to devote time to.”