Design, Services, Web Application

Summary

Travelreel produces high quality video content tailored to the Australian accommodation industry. Videos are typically 30 seconds to 1 minute long and showcase the features and facilities of a hotel to allow potential customers to make informed decisions before booking their stay.

Travelreel had grown into a successful business but had reached a point where the entirely manual booking, billing, and production processes could no longer keep up with further growth. Coupled with managing data flow between customer management, billing, and accounting systems, coordinating production requirements for existing customers had become a full time commitment.

It was decided to implement an automated booking system and provide automatic data flow between all third party systems and a central data repository to allow for a simple on boarding procedure. Customers would also be provided with an online self-service portal to allow the most common requests, renaming videos, tracking statistics, and ordering more video, to be conducted by the customer at their own pace. An online administration portal would also be provided to Travelreel to provide centralised customer and video management capabilities.

Overview

Travelreel produces high quality video content tailored to the Australian accommodation industry. Videos are typically 30 seconds to 1 minute long and showcase the features and facilities of a hotel to allow potential customers to make informed decisions before booking their stay.

Travelreel had grown into a successful business but had reached a point where the entirely manual booking, billing, and production processes could no longer keep up with further growth. Coupled with managing data flow between customer management, billing, and accounting systems, coordinating production requirements for existing customers had become a full time commitment.

It was decided to implement an automated booking system and provide automatic data flow between all third party systems and a central data repository to allow for a simple on boarding procedure. Customers would also be provided with an online self-service portal to allow the most common requests, renaming videos, tracking statistics, and ordering more video, to be conducted by the customer at their own pace. An online administration portal would also be provided to Travelreel to provide centralised customer and video management capabilities.

Systems Integration

At the beginning of the project, data was held in a variety of systems:

  • Capsule CRM for customer contact data
  • Xero for customer account and billing data
  • EziDebit for direct debiting
  • Wistia for video hosting and embedding
  • Excel spreadsheets for historical customer data

Often there would be disparity between systems, especially between Capsule CRM and Xero as customer details would be updated in one but not the other. This would often result in missed or incorrect invoices due to customer address or bank account changes that were not updated between systems. This was resolved by bringing data from each system into a central data hub and integrating similar data together resulting in a single view of a customer that can then be exported back into each system to ensure consistency of data.

Having a central data hub also allows for centralised reports to be created drawing on data from different sources. A series of jobs was created using the Next Data Engine component and scheduling system that run on a variety of schedules to automatically move data between each system when a change occurs.

Application Development

Once all third party data had been imported into the central data hub, the online booking and customer self-service portal were developed. The booking system was designed to be simple to use and to take new customers logically through a series of steps to collect all required information to produce video content. Care was taken to only expose fields necessary at this stage of the booking process and a live price always displayed to ensure the customer was kept aware of the total price at each step.

Multiple payments options were presented including an online direct debit using the EziDebit API, or post-payment invoicing via Xero. Regardless of the choice, invoicing is conducted automatically with the only manual process being a reconciliation between account receivable and bank receipts to ensure invoices are paid in full.

At the end of the order process, a series of jobs are run to create initial purchase order and subscription data, and to create an account for new customers. To ensure security, a password reset email is sent to the provided email address to allow the customer to set their own password to the online portal.

In total three web applications where created using the Next Data Engine Kit API and run on the Next Data Engine Web Server service. This allowed for very quick implementation of specific business rules and other features such as identity management and database access.

Video Embedding

In order to track and report on video viewing statistics such as view counts, play rates, and engagement rates, a JavaScript embedding script was created. This allows for different video hosting platforms to be used, as well as providing a Call to Action system for customers to direct viewers directly to their own online booking system.

The embed JavaScript file is loaded via the Amazon CloudFront CDN using Amazon S3 storage to allow for quick and efficient access even in the even of downtime of the Travelreel servers.

The Call to Action system is a configurable button that appears with 10% of the video remaining, a time selected as it was the time at which most viewers were still actively engaged with the video content.

To find out more about Travelreel, head over to the website, or, order directly from the Dashboard application.

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