Innovative Booking Engine for an Ambitious Saudi Travel Startup

case screenshot

Project Background

Our Client is an ambitious startup based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The company’s aim is to establish online distribution of traditional hotel, flight bookings and competitive booking deals to individual and corporate users via their own proprietary platform built around a unique marketing idea.

The Client aims to enter the travel market both locally in Saudi Arabia and potentially on a global scale.

Challenge

The Client approached GP Solutions with a well-defined and elaborate business concept. The main challenge consisted in finding the right technology to build a booking engine based on the custom auction approach developed by the company. In addition, the upcoming system needed to be easily scalable in order to incorporate larger amounts of individual, corporate customers and partner suppliers as the business grows in volume.

The end product had to incorporate critical functionality offered by the main competitors and also stand out among them thanks to the custom business approach put to reality using modern technologies.

Goal

Goal

The main goal set forth for the development team was to deliver a platform ‘from scratch’, fully in line with the requirements provided by the product owner on the Client’s side.

The end product was to be a system allowing end users to buy and resell travel services. The system implicated B2C, B2B and C2C sales cases. In particular:

  • For individual travellers the system was to provide options to buy and resell hotel and flight bookings;
  • For corporate clients the platform needed the options to buy and resell blocks of hotel rooms on auction.

Thus, the general concept of the project was defined as a fully-featured platform with capabilities to:

  • Search, compare and book hotel rooms and flights;
  • Buy resold hotel and flight reservations (i.e., booking deals);
  • Resell hotel and flight reservations as a booking deal;
  • Auction reservations as a corporate bedding deal.

Solution

Based on the business analysis performed in detail by GP Solutions the project scope was shaped as the following set of development phases:

  • Search & book functionality
  • Individual & corporate deal management
  • Integration of B2B supplier APIs
  • Online payment gateway integration
  • Customer-facing website (B2C)
  • The principal platform model is presented on the graph below:
startup-shema

Phase # 1: Search & book functionality

The project started with implementation of hotel and flight search&book functionality based on the custom set of search parameters and filters. The tech scope essentially involved Java programming and Angular framework of JavaScript.

The search flow divides the results in two sections: regular offers and special deals. The regular offers are pulled into the platform using API integrations with external B2B suppliers. The special (limited-time) deals were developed to be formed by the Client. These are resell bookings that are likely to have more favorable prices compared to the regular offers.

The prices of both types are compared and later the booking flow transfers the user to booking hotel rooms or flight seats.

b2c website

Phase #2: Individual & corporate deal management

During this next development step the project team implemented custom functionality allowing corporate and individual users to get an aggregated view of all sales and customer-related data, view analytics, reports and perform tourist activities. It provides creation of detailed product descriptions and adding of high-resolution pictures, including pricing changes, discounts and inventory allocation.

corporate system

Phase #3: Integration of B2B supplier APIs.

This project step involved development of flight and hotel supplier integrations using XML/JSON APIs they provide. The integration developer assigned with the task implemented connections to Hotelbeds, GTA, Tourico and Mystifly suppliers. The project roadmap for the nearest future also includes further plans to integrate more hotel bedbanks and enrich the flight content and ancillary platform access for suppliers.

Phase # 4: Online payment gateway integration.

The platform required connection to a reliable payment gateway in order to enable instant online payments for the booked services. PAYFORT online payment gateway was integrated for the purpose as one of the most widely used online payment solution in the target region. It also enforces strict user data protection guidelines.

Phase # 5: Customer-facing website (B2C).

This project stage involved development of a user-friendly customer-facing website that would clearly convey the key project idea to platform users. Our UI/UX specialists and front-end developers came up with a minimalistic, easy-to-navigate layout with convenient navigation, including flight ticket search box, dropdown calendar and more. The website also incorporates a text-based chatbot with search&book capabilities.

b2c website
Travel Software Systems

Results

This project stage involved development of a user-friendly customer-facing website that would clearly convey the key project idea to platform users. Our UI/UX specialists and front-end developers came up with a minimalistic, easy-to-navigate layout with convenient navigation, including flight ticket search box, dropdown calendar and more. The website also incorporates a text-based chatbot with search&book capabilities.

Industry:

Travel and Leisure

Vertical:

Travel Startup, Travel Agency

Technology:

Java 11, Spring 5, MySQL, MongoDB, Hibernate 5, Angular 9, TypeScript, HTML5, SCSS, Webpack

Scope:

7300+ man-hours

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