Web Platform for Searching Travel Activities and Accommodation

An online platform for tourists and travel providers that allows users to find the activity or property fitting their needs precisely

Our customer, a Singapore company, set out to connect travelers looking for accommodation and experiences with activity and hospitality providers. This required a platform allowing users to find such services. Our customer needed a technical partner to develop it, implementing searching algorithms.

COUNTRY

Singapore

PRODUCT STATE:

2022

INDUSTRY

Travel

TEAM

10 members

About a Project

Goals set to Cleveroad

Create a solution that allows travelers to search for activities and properties considering user profiling parameters and provider offers placed online.

Implement sophisticated proprietary algorithms of searching and ranking to calculate the Personal Value (PV) score and improve user choice

Create tech solution so that the customer can attract investors for business development, using the product's Unique Selling Proposition (USP) and added value

Solutions we've delivered

Development of the web-based platform that allows users to find appropriate results, create and view unique reviews, and manage offers and bookings

Optimization of booking and purchasing decisions through the implementation of innovative ranking algorithms based on reliable data and user profiling

Development of the MVP with perfected User Experience (UX) and functionality for customer's USP: creation and viewing of unique reviews on providers and their services

Results for the Customer

The full-fledged platform is created and launched within the stipulated time. Now users of all categories (tourists, activity and hospitality providers, and system admins) can freely work with it.

Three algorithms were successfully implemented into the platform's functionality. They helped simplify activities/property search and travel itinerary building.

The customer used the MVP to present the platform to investors. Due to USP features and value added by perfected UX, the company has already attracted new business partners and funds

Business Challenges

Our customer, a Singapore startup, had an idea of a digital environment for consumers and providers of tourism services. Its company researched and valued properties and activities via proprietary algorithms to rank each option, allowing users to make the best choice based on their personal criteria. The customer wanted to bring simplicity, fairness, and value into consumers' choices and needed a technical partner to:

Build a travel web platform from scratch. The solution should include the original Minimum Viable Product (MVP) to present to investors and raise funds. In addition, a full-fledged system based on MVP should have advanced UX, allowing to gain a competitive advantage and make the platform attractive for hospitality and activity providers.

Implement ranking algorithms based on the customer's idea. These algorithms are unique, proprietary, and are the hallmark of the solution. They allow travelers to calculate the Personal Value (PV) score. Due to the PV, users can receive the most relevant results for property and activities booking according to the parameters of their profiling.

Create the functionality for all categories of users. Their diversity was a challenge as the solution should cover the needs of users (travelers), company key partners (providers of tourism and hospitality services), and system admins. An additional complication was the need to emphasize customer USP: reviews written by admins personally.

Project in Details

We have developed a web platform from scratch and implemented original algorithms based on the customer's idea

Business Architecture

  • We've created a system based on three core components: the User side, the Seller side, and the Platform Admin side. It allowed us to cover the main flows of the business logic (the preparation flow and the main user's flow) and design enhanced UX for core processes. The ease of working with functionality for a user from any category has become a powerful platform's competitive advantage.
  • The proprietary search algorithms are the core of the solution. The customer provided their ideas and details, and we took over the technical side: the development and implementation. We've created three search algorithms that consider many parameters, optimize online booking purchasing decisions, and provide a ranked individual list of results based on PV score.
  • Original reviews on providers' services and accommodations are the customer's Unique Selling Proposition (USP). Admins create them and help evaluate the property or activity via the original methodology proposed by the customer. We have developed the functionality so that Platform Administration can quickly publish content and users can check comprehensive reviews to make a better decision.

Product Essentials

The system modules developed are integrated with each other to ensure smooth and logical flow of users' onboarding and trading in the investment bank

Search and ranking

Search for activities, properties, or itineraries is based on numerous parameters: user's preferences, interests, travel priorities, budget, etc. Given all the data, the ranking algorithms process sellers' offers posted on the platform. The combination of several algorithms helps to achieve the best accuracy in booking and itinerary building.

A ranked list of results users receive is based on their Profiling: the most relevant results are at the top. The platform uses data given by rating service providers that meet the customer's strict quality benchmark and process. Today, this is done by a business division of the company, and other companies are expected to be included in the panel to precise the ratings.

User profiles

Creating a user account, in fact, is the very first step in the search and selection of offers since the user specifies the profiling, choosing parameters, and selecting the importance level of each category/feature. The more accurate profile filling out is, the more relevant the results will be.

After signing up, the user can set, save, and use several profiles and apply the appropriate one to booking or purchase, depending on the context, travel purpose, and other factors. Travelers can also create family accounts.

Reviews

Complex and detailed reviews about activities and properties are unique. The platform Admins write them personally, bringing an added value and USP with the original and trustworthy content. These reviews include information such as location & access, food, level of comfort, key positive and negative aspects, transport time, work schedule, pricing, etc.

The publication of the reviews is also carried out by the system admins. Thanks to our solution, content can be quickly posted on the platform and presented to users (travelers) in a visual and easy-to-read way.

Booking and payment

Booking of accommodation and/or traveling activities is performed based on terms and conditions offered by the seller. Signed-up users can edit, cancel, or dispute bookings directly via the link in email confirmation or from the platform's dashboard (after logging in).

The booked accommodation is assigned to the user (tenant) and removed from the available listings on all booking platforms such as Booking.com and AirBnB, where the property is presented. All changes take effect instantly thanks to 3rd-party integration (with "channel managers" service).

When canceling or editing the reservation, the refund amount (or additional funds) is calculated according to the seller's terms and conditions. Thanks to the improved platform UX, the booking management process is intuitive and makes it easier to make the right travel decision.

To process payments securely and efficiently, Stripe was integrated into the platform. This solution allowed travelers to use Visa, Mastercard or American Express Credit Card, Google Pay and Apple Pay, as well as Alipay, WeChat Pay, and other payment methods.

For sellers and admins

Sellers (suppliers) can create profiles by making a request to the Platform Administration. Admins consider it and decide on acceptance or rejection. After the approval seller can create, place, and edit traveler accommodation offers, as well as manage bookings and property (hotels, rooms, etc.).

The platform admins can create reviews on property and activities and manage all the business flows on the platform. Among them are Sellers, Customers, Bookings, Payments, Activities, and Destinations covered by the system. In addition, the Platform Administrators also create the activities offered to travelers.

Development in Detail

  • Introducing a flexible database structure was one of the biggest challenges in developing the system's early version. It was necessary to prevent obstacles to adding new features in the later stages and potential problems with data inconsistencies. To cope with this challenge, we've decided to start with a relational database as the master database. To make the initial version as lean as possible, we've introduced only an algorithm for property search according to calculated PV, and itinerary and activity algorithms were added later.

The system provides administrators with a rich and flexible interface where they can manage all the necessary algorithm parameters

  • A system of Personal Value scoring was made complex and innovative, so users can easily find the most suitable offer. After the offer is accepted, the update is sent to the 3rd party channel manager. It sends changes to the other booking platforms, so they update property status accordingly.
  • Complex search queries are executed with the Elasticsearch service, which provides broad property search functionality and improves performance. The Database is regularly replicated to minimize the risk of data loss.
  • Building infrastructure architecture so that it allows minimizing network latency for the users worldwide was also challenging. Highly personalized recommendations make it problematic to cache static pages in the regional cache edge locations. Instead, by leveraging the AWS Global Accelerator service, the architecture directs network requests to the closest data center.

Technology stack

Tech stack was chosen and used considering customer needs, solution's business logic, and the US healthcare requirements

Web Architecture

Backend

Node JS

Express

MSSQL

Swagger

Frontend

React

Gatsby

AWS Architecture

Amazon S3

AWS ses

AWS RDS

AWS EC2

3d party services

Stripe

Elasticsearch

OXR

Results Obtained
Web platform with unique searching algorithms

Web platform with unique searching algorithms

We have developed a solution for finding accommodation and activities based on the customer’s idea. In it, we’ve combined and implemented 3 proprietary ranking algorithms. They allow users to get the most relevant search results that increase the platform’s customer satisfaction rate.

Functionality that reveals the customer's USP

We have created a tool allowing the Platform Administration to add unique reviews that admins write themselves. Thanks to it, the platform reveals the company's unique selling proposition, increasing its competitiveness. At present, 900 reviews are already made, covering 30 destinations.

A solution to attract investors to the platform

We've created an MVP with the necessary functionality for travelers, sellers, and system admins. The well-thought-out User Experience and business architecture clearly demonstrate the advantages of our client's offer. Thanks to MVP, the company has already attracted investors and partners to grow the business.

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