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Booking engine update March 2010

5 March, 2010
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Next week, you will see several updates to the Hurtigruten booking engines.

Our goal is to build the best cruise booking engines in the world. We have a long way to go, but we’re moving in the right direction.

Here is a brief overview of what you can expect:

  • Improvements in performance – we have made several small changes that should improve the speed or the perceived speed of the engines.
  • Unspecified cabins – this will give us the ability to run campaigns without locking up specific cabin numbers
  • Improvements to confirmation e-mails – the e-mails look nicer and we communicate more accurately to our customers
  • Other payment options – we want to make the payment process as convenient to our customers. Now passengers have more payment options
  • You can pay for other peoples voyage – alot of people buy voyages for family members and/or friends without travelling themselves. Now our booking engine will support this.
  • More detailed pricing specification – since a cruise is a rather complex product to sell, not all prices are possible to calculate automatically. This improvement makes it easier for customers to understand the breakdown of the total price and deposits.
  • Ability to enter travel agent sales rep – in our Agent solution, alot of agents have requested the option to add a travel rep reference to a booking to make it easier to assist end-customers. This will now be possible.
  • Consistent button behavior – On our final page in the booking process, the customer had to check off the “I accept the travel conditions” before seeing the “Continue to payment” button. This caused some confusion. This has now been fixed.

In addition to these improvements, we have fixed several errors and made some general incremental improvements to both our Agent booking engines and our consumer booking engines.

The next update will be in about one month. If you have suggestions, complaints or questions, feel free to comment on this blogpost or contact us.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. judith permalink
    22 March, 2010 18:07

    You wrote:
    “since a cruise is a rather complex product to sell, not all prices are possible to calculate automatically”

    Can you please elaborate this?
    When I book a distance trip with return, the price that I get in the end is calculated automatically, isn’t it?
    So the booking system is perfectly able to calculate all prices, right?

    So why is it difficult to show me this calculation split up together with the total price?

    As far as my experience goes (distance trips) the only thing that’s difficult, and what I’m not given any information about, is how I’m suddenly beeing charged twice or more for the cabin. And this has to do with the time of the day when the ship leaves port, and that the travel exceeds one “hotel day”.

    Can you explain what else is difficult, and why it’s hard to give this information to me, the customer?

    I have one more “complaint”:
    I want to see what the cabins cost. Not what my “new total” will be if I select this cabin. I know how to do math, but I think that this “total price” thing makes the order and the prices difficult to follow.

    Keep up the good work 🙂

  2. 23 March, 2010 13:47

    Some very good questions.

    I will try to be specific, but please note that my knowledge of backend systems is limited.

    Here goes:

    The Hurtigruten product has several components; the voyage itself, cabins, meals, extras, excursions and flights.

    Currently, due to system limitations, some of the components are handled manually and the final prices are not available until an agent has handled the booking. We present all the components in the booking process and the customer obviously expects to see a final price before she pays. Since some of the components are handled manually, it’s impossible for us to display a full price. Our challenge is give the customer correct price details, while at the same time make it 100% clear that the total price does not include some components!

    Another challenge is that the backend system does not automatically provide us with a detailed price breakdown for all the components in one booking. This is similar to the way tour operators offer a package price that includes airfare, hotel and excursions. If a customer would like to book only the airfare, that may not be possible to purchase. In our case, the system will not provide us with the price breakdown for some product combinations in some instances. For that reason it’s currently difficult to present a price breakdown to the end-user.

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