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Booking engine update January 2010

22 January, 2010

As Hans Rood mentioned in a previous blog post, we have launched our new web booking engines; Consumer versions(Norwegian and UK) and Agent solution(all markets). Full launch of the agent solutions requires products to be loaded and agents to be set up and invited to use the systems. The booking engines will always be “work in progress” and moving forward we will make improvements and introduce new functionality every 3-4 weeks. I will try to keep you updated on what has been improved and what is coming up. We are thankful for reviews(see example) and improvement suggestions. We might even reward the best suggestions!

For internal people, you can find all the technical details about the most recent update here (requires user name and password). Here’s a summary of the most important changes:

IT systems have a tendancy to produce strange error messages that most people don’t understand. The system could say: “Hubro error HUB-10140”. For normal people this means nothing. A more meaningful message would be: “It is too close to departure. Please contact the M/S VESTERÅLEN at+47 48018000 to make a reservation on this date”. Several error messages have been improved. Learn more about error messages in web solutions here and here (in Norwegian).

Speed is always an issue in booking solutions and during the last few weeks, we’ve made several modifications that will speed up the system. We will continue to push for performance improvements both in terms of hardware, caching and programming improvements.

Other improvements:

  • The system now prevents more than one payment per booking.
  • The B2B booking now has a market-specific section where agents can access product information and marketing materials(needs to be updated by local Hurtigruten representatives).
  • The car field is stripped for special characters because some characters caused problems in the back-end system.
  • Minor adjustments/corrections have been made throughout the solution. One example is that the Agent solution now says “standard rates” instead of “Full price”. Another obvious improvement is that a passenger that does not order a cabin is not presented with a cabin picture in the confirmation stages.
  • The ports Bergen, Trondheim, Tromsø and Kirkenes appear in bold in the dropdown menus. The confirmation e-mail that includes items that need to be handled manually now includes information that eases back-office handling.
  • Minor adjustments have been made to simplify back-office handling of certain tasks, i.e. market code and country code have been added to confirmation e-mails.
  • The system now handles AMEX payments and the CVC box changes from 3 to 4 digits when Amex is selected.
  • Since the system has some limitations in terms of what is handled automatically, there has been some confusion to what is included in the total price. We have made improvements to text and calculation to reduce the confusion.

If you have any questions/comments/wishes, please comment below. If you have feature requests or improvements suggestions, please use screentoaster and walk us through problem areas while you comment. This will help us understand the issue and it will most like speed up the process.

Here’s how you do it(it simple and quick!):

  1. Go to Screentoaster
  2. Click record (remember to activate your microphone)
  3. Go to the booking solution and walk us through your suggestions
  4. Upload the video to Screentoaster(you might have to register..) and send post the link below. Here’s an example.

The entire process takes only a few minutes. It’s easier for you and it will increase the likelihood that the suggestions will be implemented!

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Sarah permalink
    22 January, 2010 17:43

    Following alot of successful bookings for B2C in the UK, we are very keen to add to the tours being available to be booked online. Other then the winter product ( where flights are included) other products will follow the same booking process as the Classic Voyages. Once we have more products on there and are happy with the testing, it would really be something to shout about in our online marketing efforts!

    Also it would be a good idea now the Rest of the World have had websites being developed it would be benefical to offer online booking to these consumers, as it is UK product priced in euros.

    I think it is truly fantastic how quickly B2X is being developed for all markets.

  2. 23 January, 2010 10:26

    I agree that we should roll out the booking engine in all countries. How would you like to handle the currency issue(EUR, USD, GPB?) and which products would you like to sell in “the rest of the world”? We also need to think about how we should handle languages.

  3. 26 January, 2010 18:57

    Last I heard, Oyvind was taking a look at having the booking engine in EUR. How is that going, and when can we expect it to go live?

  4. 27 January, 2010 07:01

    Hopefully we’ll have the B2B ready in EURO this week. I’ve asked for B2C in USD and EURO as well. That will probably take a bit longer.

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