The internet has had a tremendous impact on travel agencies. Now, local players of an already competitive industry need to compete with direct vendors and third parties having more access to travelers worldwide. Nonetheless, 73% of all travel package bookings are made via travel agencies. Thus, travel agents make technology their ally and invest in high performing tour search and booking tools with excellent usability. One of such is available in a web application Agiliway has developed for our client from Ukraine.
A Ukrainian startup travel agency referred to Agiliway as one of the leaders of custom software development services in the country. The startup had an ambitious plan of winning a share in the already competitive market of travel and tourism related services. The company expected the majority of clients and leads to come from a fast and user-friendly web application with an advanced intellectual search of tours. Thus, developing a stable and well-performing solution was a key priority for reaching business goals.
Since the hot tourist season for all tour agencies was nearing, the schedules were tight. Agiliway understood that starting a business before the hot season would have a tremendous impact on the company’s bottom line and its ability to stay on the market, so we took every effort to finish the project as soon as possible.
We have defined the following project goals:
Comprehensible Advanced Search
The agency offers hundreds of package tours in dozens of countries. Looking through tours you are not interested in is frustrating and make users abandon the website soon. Thus, it was necessary to make an accent on a tool that immediately invites a user to narrow the search. In addition to cutting non-preferred offers, the system eliminates offers that are not available for the preferred dates or from the preferred departure point.
Intellectual Listing of Search Results
Even narrowed by the advanced search, the list of results is still very long. This often makes tourists get lost and leave without finishing an online reservation. AI algorithms had to help analyze previous choices of tourists and list the offers accordingly. For example, if a user has chosen all offers with 3 to 5 stars hotels, but he was previously shortlisting only five-star hotels, these will be displayed at the beginning of the list.
Integration with Databases of Service Providers
Since only a direct service provider has up-to-date information on the availability and pricing of offers, it was necessary to integrate the web application with third-party databases. This way, the system has to be able to quickly pull up relevant information upon specific request of a user.
Fast performance of the application was one of the key requirements, as the speed of search and listing of offers eventually defined whether the user will stay, browse and order, or just leave. For great user experience, the processing of submitted information and pulling up relevant data from third parties had to take not more than a few seconds.
Reliability and Load Tolerance
During the high season, hundreds of thousands of sessions were expected daily. Thus, the platform had to assure stable work even during the sharp increase in the number of users.
Easy customization and supportability
The solution had to be customizable to implement the available ideas, as well as leave room for improvement. Since a travel agency is not a large company and does not have a dev person on its staff, it was necessary to make the solution easily manageable by lay people with little support needed.
Agiliway chose Symfony PHP framework for the development of the web application. We have great experience in many technologies and frameworks. Symfony has been chosen for the project due to the following features:
- Customization: Symfony offers full-stack, brick by brick and micro framework customization allowing to implement any custom features or functionality;
- Expandability: Any functionality may be modified and features may be expanded without the need to reconfigure the complete framework;
- Faster time-to-market: Faster application development due to the in-built features and tools for functional, behavioral and unit testing;
- Fast performance: Symfony has proved to be the fastest of all PHP frameworks;
- Free and sustainable: Symfony is open source and is supported by a big and vibrant community.
Due to the efforts of our Symfony engineers and excellent project management, we have managed to meet all of the project goals.
The advanced search tool is compact and user-friendly but manages to collect a wealth of parameters needed to
- select suitable offers: preferred destination and hotels’ categories, ratings, price ranges, additional services, and
- determine costs: a departure point, duration and timing of the tour, the number of adult and underage tourists.
Analysis of the input data and pulling suitable offers from dozens of providers takes just a few seconds. Then, a list of the best offers corresponding to the stated requirements is pulled up. Each tour is presented in a concise user-friendly form, which nevertheless is so informative that users may shortlist the offers without even accessing additional details. The system calculates the final price for the stated dates and number of tourists and automatically deducts the sum of the discount (if applicable).
Due to superior Symfony development and project management skills of our company, Agiliway has managed to ensure
- fast time to market of the web application, which let our clients return their investments during the very first tourist season;
- high performance of the application, which is critical to leads’ retention and conversion;
- advanced features of AI that will help achieve personalization in the lists of offers, which will positively affect future conversion rates.
Agiliway is excited to work with various technologies and get to know peculiarities of different industries. This makes us confident that whatever the industry – travel, automotive, financial or healthcare – internet technologies have something to offer to improve the process and the performance. Don’t hesitate to contact us for cases relevant to your industry.