Xebidy developed a marketing leading travel planner as part of the Oz Experience overall website development. In this post guest author Bruce Thurlow from Oz Experience explains how the travel planner actually works.
I know that I promised this post over a week ago but things have been so busy. I read an interesting post by Michael Gall on how busy he was and therefore unable to post and whether posting about not posting really counted.
Nonetheless, the solution in this case was to ask Bruce Thurlow to help us out. Given that Bruce has been involved in the planning of the Oz Experience system from the outset I asked him to show you how the MyOzEx travel planner works, why it is powerful tool for a traveller and agent, and the plans for its development in the future. The remainder are Bruce’s words:
As Dan noted in his last post:
“The backbone of the whole (Oz Experience) website is the travel planning software, known as MyOzEx. I will walk through the functionality tomorrow but the main jist of it is that while a user traverses the website, they add destinations, things to do, accommodation etc to an itinerary builder. From the bundle of products they select as wanting to do, a recommendation engine then suggests the best pass to buy that suits the customer’s itinerary.”
Let’s have a look at the core features.
Throughout the site the destination, activity and pass pages have an button on them, which bookmarks these individual features to a users travel planner. These items subsequently appear as pat of a “shopping list” within the travel planner. Each item can be scheduled onto a calendar by simply dragging them on to the date or dates on a calendar view.
The user builds up a clear visual travel plan dragging their activity, destination, accommodation and travel arrangements to the calendar. There is also the facility to add a free format personal note to a calendar date to remind yourself or keep information or a phone number, catching up for a beer with a friend, special day trip etc.
Displaying plans in this calendar format mimics the way many travel agents plan a clients travel with a paper desk calendar to work out dates of travel and schedules. in this way the power is in the travelers hands and is stored online for editing at any time. Direct booking links for pass or accommodation supplement the travel planning. Considering that most Oz Experience travellers book up to 3 months in advance there are obvious advantages to the system.
Throughout the site all passes/destinations/activities are presented on Google Maps using a unique data model. In the travel planner the users basket of items are also displayed on a Google map.
Finally the travel planer has some basic profile functionality. Within the MyOzEx area a user can build up profile information about themselves, import their own travel blog and also their photo albums from sites such as Flickr and PhotoBucket. Travel plans can also be made private or public.
If you are keen to have a play with the system please feel free to create your own log in today, you don’t have to be an Oz Experience consumer to utilise the system. Is it successful? – in the first week of the site going live there are on average 35 travel plans being created each day which is something very positive for something so new.
The obvious implications are the travel planner will enhance the social nature of travelling on Oz Experience – something that is already a core reason why people choose this dedicated travelers network – creating a platform for an Oz Experience travellers social network.