Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Case Study: Bespoke Travel Company

This is a typical example of a company using a range of software applications to conduct the day to day running of their business.  The applications didn't 'talk' to each other making rekeying of data an unnecessary burden and so causing the system to be inefficient.

A Nottingham based company approached BlueStar to build a new bespoke software system as they were struggling with their current software. They were having to copy and paste Word documents to create itineraries for their clients.  They were using an on-line CRM to store customer contact details.  It was not ideal and they were having to pay a monthly service charge on a per user basis making expansion expensive. They were using Excel and a custom Access database to build up a costings and to track supplier costs for flights, hotels etc.  This was far from ideal and it also meant that staff had to be in the office in order to use the system.

BlueStar looked at their requirements and their working practices. Initial ideas were discussed and early mock ups produced so they could get a feel for how the new software system would work. These were developed into a working system.

The sections of their new system are shown below:

A comprehensive CRM would form the core of the system.  This would allow all contact details to be stored as well as the type of holiday the customer is looking for.  The CRM would be linked to website so enquiries would be added directly in to the CRM.

Itinerary Manager
The new system had an Itinerary Manager with text and images stored for all locations.  This made compiling itineraries a breeze.  Users could simply selection the locations to be visited and they would compile into a complete customised itinerary. This could be emailed directly to the customer as a PDF.  Different versions of itineraries could be stored on the system do give clients plenty of choice.

Cost Centre
Costs would be stored on the system for flights, transfers, hotels etc. The details of other passengers in the party can be stored too.

Booking Manager
Once the enquiry has been accepted and converted into a booking it then goes into the Booking Manager.  From here confirmation invoices can be produced and emailed to the client.  Additional documentation such as booking forms and ATOL receipts can be produced too.

Web Based Software
The new system has transformed their business.  It is entirely web-based which meant that staff could work from anywhere in the world with an internet connection.  This was fully exploited later when the company set up an additional office in South Africa.  They only had to take laptops and have internet access in order to use the system.