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Startup Shop travel packages online: pitfalls

The story of the team of the online travel store Gate-32, which uses our qTrack service to manage the project.

The idea of ​​creating an online travel store Gate-32.ru was quite trivial: “It would be great not to suffer from the selection of the tour, and, sitting at work, choose everything on the site, pay with a card and rush off to the sea. Without interrupting the Internet in search of a better price, without queuing up at a travel agency, without any cancellations of armor and other dubious joys. ” So we began to make Gate-32. And getting involved in the wonderful world of tourism, we, as former employees of IT companies, could not assume that the tourism business is so elemental, fragmented and heterogeneous in its approach to the automation of key processes.

In the first months, sales automation seemed rather trivial to us, because E-commerce is not news all over the world, even in Bangladesh or the online store, beloved by everyone, very few people will surprise. But our country has a special way ...
The first months of the project can be compared with stories about a finger in the sky, blind kittens, and, of course, a panic attack in the subway at rush hour. Sometimes it seemed that we did not succeed. However, now, when the first tour operator has already been launched, and the second one is about to be served with the heat of the heat, the picture of the project looks much more optimistic.


The topic of sales of tours, hotels and tickets online is now quite hot, many young teams are creating new services. However, there is no single automation scheme at the moment. Below I will talk about the pitfalls that we had to face in automating sales of tours.

We noted ready solutions immediately, since Much of their functionality does not suit us, namely, there is no mechanism for directly purchasing the tour.

Frankly, we hoped to simply convert the XML received from tour operators and form headings. But it was not there! Not all tour operators were able to give us data in a sane way, for others it is necessary to order from above, for example, from the marketing department and then, maybe, XML will stop archiving and do other terrible things with it. This time ...

Also, we thought that unloading from one tour operator would weigh several MB, but even here we were mistaken in the calculations. It turned out 10 GB and this is not the limit, but only the proposals of the two countries for 2-3 months! At the moment, there are about 60 million offers in our database and this is only 1 tour operator. Such an abundance of vouchers due to the fact that tour operators produce open source software (price offers), which contain lists of options for tours, besides, the logic and frequency of release of these open source software (price offers) is governed by the mysterious internal principles of operators and sales strategy.

No queues and waiting. In order for our customers to buy tours online quickly and immediately receive all the necessary documents for the trip in electronic form, we decided to import from tour operators only those tours that are instant, i.e. wait for confirmation of the reservation from the hotel by mail is not necessary. But even here everything turned out not to thank God: many operators do not mark the “instant” offers when exporting. After several weeks of torment, we came to a rather simple conclusion: it is necessary to rewrite the ID of the hotels of the category of instant and compare them in the system manually :).


Time and money. It takes 2-3 days to completely update the database in order to remove irrelevant sentences of the order of 10 days (10,000 minutes), if it’s done as a template or as per a textbook. But we have implemented these mechanisms with a system of 3 mechanisms: first we download large imports, then two small ones start running through it: one compares and deletes the sentences, the second compares and downloads. A lot happens every few days, and the little ones run around the bases every day. The fact is that tour operators release open source software without any system, starting from many factors - from weather to politics. Therefore, it is impossible to predict when the next STR (price offer) will be. As a result, if you do not take action and do not run the sliders, it turns out that we have a proposal on the site, and the operator does not already have it. And this is not one, and not two sentences, but several thousand.

Great help while working on the online store service qTrack . Some company employees are not in Moscow, but content managers and not in Russia. It is very important to monitor performance correctly, quickly set tasks and track their implementation, with our pace of work from the first months. There are many hotels in our catalogs and we need to constantly update the relevance of information, write news and texts, edit pictures, etc. In general, a separate thank you to qTrack, it turned out to be quite simple and at the same time functional. We quickly gathered everyone in one place and at the same time did not have to train anyone, because for employees, using the system is no different from communicating via e-mail. Some do not even know that they are in the system :)

We have already compared the work on the project Gate-32.ru with the Rubik's Cube. We know for sure that it is taking shape; we just need to guess how. I think that many teams on startups will encounter similar difficulties and what seems simple, understandable and obvious should be multiplied by 3 as a result.

Anna Minina, Gate-32 Project Manager

Source: https://habr.com/ru/post/103781/

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