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Progress of our web and booking engines.

18 January, 2010

Lots of hard work as well as input from our colleagues around the globe have gone into the development of the standardized global web approach. At the same time we also have been setting up our new consumer and travel trade booking engines. Polar Global has given us new access to booking online for our trade partners and direct consumers.

Our first priority has been to give our port to port customer access to the online tools. The travel agents who have been used to previous Hubro or other agent links, have been our second priority.

We are now concentrating on assuring travel agent booking access in the Nordic sales area, the UK and the .Com areas, where sales support is limited e.g. Russia, India, South America etc. Our Continental Europe colleagues are busy testing the agent booking engine and we hope to have this area in full swing within the month.

Not flawless
Well you are right, this is not flawless yet, but the experiences and feedback we are receiving are invaluable in making this engine better. The speed is a concern that is being addressed, as well as some other handicaps in reviewing the bookings or making changes. We need to spend some time on making our definition easier understandable for the “layman”, what is Port to Port, what really is roundtrip or northbound, southbound and what is explorer??
If it was without pain….we would be bored….

We’ve set the direction
All in all, we are making good progress and  next on the list is assuring that the bookings can be easily made from the consumer or agent web sites, that the language is understandable and that mostly our biggest partners in business are happy with our approach.
During the next couple of weeks, we expect to launch the following booking engines:

  • UK Agent booking
  • Germany Agent booking
  • Rest of the world consumer booking engine

The exact dates depend on our ability to load correct products, give agents access(and verify billing terms) and present the booking engines on the regional websites.

Tell us what you think
We certainly want your feedback and this blog will be a good forum to come up with your constructive thoughts and ideas. This new approach is requiring lots of new efforts in pricing, loading, marketing and sales.

Let’s all start promoting our new tools and make this new ways of making reservations, a part of our daily business efforts.
Next we will also give you updates regarding the web marketing, social media and linking-up with our trade partners.
Lots of new and exciting efforts being planned.
Stay tuned

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. Knotilla permalink
    1 February, 2010 15:58

    Here’s a free idea you could steal from another web-booking-for-hurtigruten-project (now there’s a recurring project idea if I ever saw one). I’ve seen 6 so far in about as many years.

    Why bother with port-to-port and roundtrip. Some aren’t even rounding anything, as BGO-KKN ?? Now if a user enters BGO-KKN show them both the PP and RT products, and indicate quite clearly that the more expensive one includes (not-free) meals and cabin – a package deal. That might even work just dandy with icons. Who cares what you call it? To me it’s either the passage or the passage with meals and cabin. So what if I only get package deals on select distances? Why do you feel you need to explain that to customers? How on earth do you even begin to explain that? Few people that work there understand it. I’ve never gotten why the customers needs to wrap their heads around these concepts. And they’re badly named too.

    The real reason is of course some strange ancient truths in your fast little booking system all the way at the bottom. You could of course change that – takes a bit of work. You could also hide it in a web client – also takes some work, and would probably even be politically edible. Or you could just ignore it and accept that you have to make two bookings to go TOS-KKN-TOS if that’s how you set up Hubro.

    Now, a good port-to-port tool would assist me in figuring out the cost nice, fast and easy. It is very, very possible to do. Almost easy. I would let me edit and recalculate stuff quickly so I stay off my phone. It will also allow me to book a passage without forcing me to answer all sorts of irrelevant questions about hotesl, flights, excursion, meals and such if I don’t want it. I’d accept it trying to sell it to me, but NOT having mandatory wizard-screens I’d have to go to if I only wanted to go 2-3 ports. Make all the extra stuff optional and easy to access, but not necessary. For longer trips you could consider adding them as mandatory steps. Your average weekender first worries about the trip, cabin food cost. They’re gonna compare that to the pain of driving or a plane ticket to Oslo.

    • hans rood permalink
      2 February, 2010 07:12

      your questions and responses are very valid and are indeed the basis for a number of changes we are making to our approach. The port to port concept is so inbedded in our company that it is difficult to have our team think new and fresh.
      The “new and improved” pricing approach will have most of your commnents included. Now all we need is to change some of our thinking and wording on this.
      The new pricing approach will take a few more weeks as this impacts the pricing table and the IT team is addressing this at this moment
      regards
      Hans

      • Knotilla aka Ketil permalink
        2 February, 2010 17:17

        Well, it’s nice the ship is finally turning 🙂

        But I’m here to tell you you could have done it for years. It’s all about choosing other abstractions and terms from the customer. You probably couldn’t hide the PP TOS-KKN-TOS completely as you need two booking refs, and the customer might even have to switch cabins, BUT the booking app could hide those strange holy cows.

        Or it could ignore it which is pefectly valid. Just have the customer make two bookings. Instead of having all of them trying to wrap their head around a roundtrip from BGO to KKN.

        Trying to explain it in reasonable terms is impossible, because it is unreasonable. To most people anyway. Hurtigruten old-timers don’t give it a second’s thought. Not the word “pax” either. But you don’t see that creeping up in end-user bookings solutions. You don’t make them enter creepy 3-letter reduction codes either. Same stuff correct approach. “But RT/PP, now what if we tried to reason about THAT with our customers”, said the employee. “Good idea”, said the others. “Everybody knows RT/PP”. Bzzzzt, WRONG!

  2. Knotilla permalink
    1 February, 2010 16:02

    And for touristy-types you should have an interactive googlish-map to select ports to begin a search for products. pictures and textboxes. (Some of) your customers thinks that Sortland is too small to even be on a map (it’s the truth; I saw it on TV). What help to they get from alphabetical dropdowns of portnames? Not much.

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Trackbacks

  1. Booking engine update January 2010 « Hurtigruten Web team Blog
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