Lunn Poly, the largest UK travel retailer and part of the Thomson Travel Group, has announced a significant investment in designing and building a fully integrated and transactional travel portal offering rich content and online bookings.
This project is a key part of realising Lunn Poly`s future business strategy.
The first phase, the consumer web site, is now live, providing a comprehensive consumer web site at www.lunn-poly.com. A new web-based selling system for its high street stores, and the company`s 1000-seat call centre in Glasgow will be introduced in future phases of the project. The project is being developed by Plato, an eCommerce integration specialist for the travel industry.
By linking the consumer web site, the call centre and the high street stores, Lunn Poly aims to create a relationship with its customers. This single view of the customer will span all distribution channels. For example some customers may wish to go to the web site to browse for holidays, use the call centre for more information, and finally visit a Lunn Poly shop to confirm the booking.
The site offers an intelligent searching capability with dynamic links to a content database. Steve Jones, Plato Technical Director said, “We designed and built a dynamic java-based search engine to power the Lunn Poly website. This had to provide links to Thomson, Lunn Poly`s Tour Operator partner, for availability searching. To allow feature searching against the customer`s preferences we had to integrate the search engine with a content management system. Business rules are embedded in Java beans to automate cross selling and expand the search to ensure the nearest match”.
In future, the customer will also be able to book ancillaries such as car hire, airport parking, etc. To deliver this, Plato built a single booking engine for all distribution channels with payment processing facilities, along with security and control features. This will provide seamless interfaces to third party supplier systems for the booking and payment of ancillaries. “We developed a single booking engine in order to integrate all the distribution channels and allow Lunn Poly to exploit other digital channels in the future.” said Steve Jones, Plato`s Technical Director.
Plato integrated the new web site with Lunn Poly`s back end office systems and also with their business partners” and suppliers` systems. This has streamlined Lunn Poly`s business processes and enabled Lunn Poly to improve their on-line service and ability to convert enquiries to bookings via their web site. In addition, customer profile information will allow them to develop their customer relationship management capabilities and offer a more personalised service.