“In October 2000, Bourne Leisure was faced with the challenge of integrating and streamlining its IT systems after the acquisition of the Rank Holidays Division. The company also needed to build an online presence for British Holidays and Haven UK, two of its biggest brands. Bourne Leisure chose XKO Group Plc., the IT services and applications provider, to design the websites and integrate them with the existing back-end systems.
Information technology plays an increasingly important part in the success of the tourism industry, particularly as so many players have consolidated their operations over the past five years. To compete, tourism companies need to integrate IT systems, provide new electronic channels to market and improve visibility of business information internally - all of which enable them to provide better customer service. In the case of Bourne Leisure, this has involved a series of IT projects with XKO, which are now successfully delivering value to both customers and employees alike.
British Holidays already had a call centre to field customer enquiries and make bookings. However, this was a time-intensive process and Bourne Leisure wanted to create a second channel to market, replicating the call centre process online. The decision rested on the fact that XKO had web design expertise and traditional integration capabilities, as well as the rapport Bourne Leisure established with the sales and management team.
The website was scheduled to go live in December 2000 but shortly before the scheduled launch date, after further research and discussion, it was decided to improve the functionality provided by the website to ensure the best possible customer experience. As a result, the final scope of the project was redefined to incorporate the necessary changes and the website went live in April 2001. The project wouldn’t have been delivered within the timescales without the close working relationship achieved between XKO and Bourne Leisure.
Simon Crawshaw, IS director of Bourne Leisure, comments: “From that initial set up investment of £420,000 in XKO, we expect to generate a total of over £6 million in online sales in 2002 from the British Holidays and Haven UK websites. To date, in June 2002, the online channel already accounts for £3.1 million of our total sales. There is no question that XKO has provided us with considerable return on our investment.”“