Australian e-commerce solutions provider, World.Net, has won a multi-million dollar international contract to implement a sophisticated online reservations system for Wales via the country`s Tourist Board, which is based in Cardiff in the United Kingdom.
The A$2.7 million contract, awarded in the face of intense competition from 26 overseas travel suppliers, will give the tourism industry in Wales access to the same award-winning e-commerce solution World.Net developed for the Australian Tourism Commission.
World.Net`s Commercial Director, Jamie Norriss, said the sale is one of the company`s largest to date and firmly positions the Travel.World.Net system as a global leader in the distribution of travel and tourism related products.
“Travel.World.Net is a proven Internet-based reservations system that will revolutionise the way the tourism industry in Wales handles communications between suppliers, intermediaries and end users of travel and tourism products,” he said.
“The final solution will combine World.Net`s best of breed destination software initially developed for the Australian Tourist Commission with all the functionality of the Travel.World.Net online booking system and Tourism Exchange software to create the first complete National Destination Web application linking the National Tourist Office, regional tourist authorities, visitor and tourist information centres and product suppliers.
“With a Destination Management System encompassing a dynamic website promoting Wales, a comprehensive product database with real-time online booking capabilities for all Welsh accommodation and attractions, a call centre and integration with GDS systems and automated product suppliers, secure payment processing and advanced reporting and analysis tools, the system for Wales will set new standards for online destination marketing,” he said.
“We`ll also be providing our own expert consultants to manage the implementation project and configure the Travel.World.Net solution for the Wales Tourist Board`s specific requirements and build in additional functionality as required.”
Mr Norriss said World.Net`s selection over the other tenderers for the project, all of which are based in the Northern Hemisphere, is testament to the company`s technology and its experience in the travel and tourism market.
“This project will also provide a perfect base for the launch of our London office, enabling us to leapfrog into the rest of the United Kingdom and Europe where we have already identified significant other business opportunities,” he said. In awarding the contract to World.Net, the Wales Tourist Board`s Chief Executive, Jonathan Jones, praised the high standard of the Australian offering.
“The World.Net submission was of an excellent calibre and clearly demonstrated both the robustness of the product itself as well as the company`s committed approach in delivering it,” he said.
“We are very confident this solution will deliver the e-commerce capabilities the Wales Tourist Board needs to provide the level of service necessary to ensure we match visitors` needs with the tourism industry`s resources. We`re looking forward to working closely with World.Net on its implementation.”
Since its launch in 1999, the Travel.World.Net solution has enjoyed considerable success overseas from Northern Europe through to Southern Africa and Asia. Just prior to winning the Welsh contract, World.Net appointed a London-based General Manager to oversee its fast-growing UK and European operation. The sale to the Wales Tourist Board comes just quickly on the heels of World.Net receiving a $2 million AusIndustry Grant to develop the next generation release of the Travel.World.Net system.
Mr Ernst van Oeveren CEO of World.Net said the government funding, to be matched dollar for dollar by World.Net, will allow the reservation system to be completely re-architected to enhance its global scalability and interoperability capabilities. Additional functionality will also be added to enable more complex transactions that better support real world supplier industry relationships.
“This level of support from the Australian Government gives customers like Welsh Tourist Board greater reassurance that Travel.World.Net will continue to be enhanced and supported over time, reinforcing their commitment to the solution,” he said.
Mr van Oeveren also pointed to Travel.World.Net`s operational experience during the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games when it provided the core technology for the Australian Tourism Commission`s Olympic Web site.
“The ATC site involved tens of thousands of pages of information located across multiple servers in Australia and the US and a sophisticated array of regional customisations, including 11 language translations. Not only did the system pass every performance benchmark by handling over 6,000,000 hits per day, but it effectively demonstrated our expertise in managing and deploying large-scale, international, mission-critical Web sites, which certainly contributed to this latest success,” he said.