Ticket Leisure Travel is a giant in the Scandinavian travel industry. It is the largest private travel agency in Sweden and the second largest in Norway, with sales of $700m. Offering its customers a combination of great value and unparalleled choice, Ticket Leisure Travel is a multi-channel operation, with 72 retail stores, telephone sales and the ability for customers to research and book travel services and holidays via its online travel service.
With Magnolia, Ticket Leisure Travel was able to upgrade its website to become more dynamic and engaging, offering its users the tools they need to plan and purchase their vacations online. It has helped the organization to reduce the time to market for new travel products and services, differentiate itself effectively from its competitors and offer innovative new services at a lower cost. For the public too, the sites are a success: since 2007, ticket.se, ticket.no, and ticket.dk have been receiving 350,000 daily holiday searches.
With Magnolia, we have the foundation we need to deliver innovative solutions to our leisure travel clients. Magnolia’s ease of use has enabled our staff to quickly bring new promotions and products to market, while its ease of integration has allowed us to take our online competitors on and match them, feature for feature, while beating them on price and variety due to our industry network.
By providing real-time pricing information across a wide range of airlines, hotel suppliers and rental car suppliers, price-comparison sites give customers an unprecedented degree of visibility into a previously opaque system.
As one of the leading players in the travel industry, Ticket Leisure Travel was already seeing high and increasing levels of usage on its web properties across its key markets of Norway, Denmark and Sweden. The entry of new price comparison sites and their “100% online” purchase process was creating a trend of more and more users performing purchases online without ever visiting a retail store.
Surprisingly, the websites were also proving to be critical to the seemingly traditional retail channel: of those customers booking in-store, 80% had already visited the website to research prices and availability.
Despite being one of the biggest players in the Scandinavian market, Ticket Leisure Travel was facing stiff competition from price comparison sites. These sites were emerging as a viable alternative to “traditional” travel operators, by allowing customers to view and book a wide range of travel options entirely online without the need to visit a retail store.
Although customers still valued the retail stores for the chance to gain personal service and expert advice, the easy availability of pricing and availability information on the web was gradually shifting the purchase process online.
As a result, Ticket Leisure Travel was facing a dual challenge. On the one hand, it needed to maintain its existing store presence and high customer service levels to serve as a unique marketplace differentiator. On the other hand, it had to raise the bar for its web properties, ensuring that they matched and surpassed those of its competitors in the online arena.
Ticket had to simultaneously keep its brick-and-mortar presence up, while catching up with the competition online
Ticket’s main requirements were ease of use for editors, collaboration tools, integration with third-party data and payment services, as well as scalability
As ticket prices and promotions in the travel industry change frequently, it was important for authors to have an intuitive and easy-to-use system that enabled them to update their different web properties with new information in a timely manner. When creating special travel packages (for example, all-inclusive packages containing airline tickets, hotel accommodation, tours and rentals), it was also necessary for teams of authors to work together to define the various package attributes and pricing options.
Built-in collaboration tools and workflows were also important, as these would save valuable hours when working in close cooperation with other teams within the organization.
To avoid losing customers, it was critical for Ticket’s web properties to be able to offer real-time pricing and availability information, and to offer customers the ability to pay for their purchases online via bank account or credit card. However, Ticket’s development team was not able to easily integrate the existing CMS with third-party data and payment services.
A vital attribute of Ticket's sites' functionality is their ability to deliver dynamic content through numerous integrations with third party services and partner organizations. This integration is mainly performed with Blossom, Magnolia’s Spring Framework integration module, and it is used to enable price and availability search, payment processing, exchange rate conversion and many other dynamic features. Magnolia’s support for standard XML formats, such as Atom and RSS, has also enabled integration with services such as Google Maps for hotel listings.
Magnolia’s support for multiple instances is of critical importance to Ticket, as it allows them to ensure optimum availability for customers. The Ticket Leisure Travel Web properties currently run two public instances, behind which there are multiple backends performing searches in response to user queries. This infrastructure currently supports more than 350,000 searches every day and is “future proof”: it can be easily scaled up to meet future needs.
Today, Ticket Leisure Travel’s web properties are one of the most popular choices for customers looking to travel into or out of Scandinavia on leisure. The web properties are highly dynamic, allowing travellers to search for flights, hotels, cruises, charters and last-minute deals, obtain real-time pricing and availability information and purchase tickets online. The sites also host special hotel and destination guides, FAQs, traveller tips and press releases.
With Magnolia’s well thought out authoring interface, content authors are able to easily update the different web properties with new information daily. Authors now only need a few hours of training to understand the basics of content publishing with Magnolia, and are able to create and publish content independently, without assistance from the specialized technical team.
This enables Ticket to stay ahead of its competitors by providing up-to-date, timely information and local promotions for cheap tickets or last-minute fares, with its authors often updating each website multiple times in the same day with new information.
By offering customers a feature-rich suite of tools to research, plan and purchase their travel online, Ticket Leisure Travel is able to reduce the time per customer spent by its agents at its physical stores. Because customers are now able to find all the information they want online, they only need to visit the physical stores if they have specific questions, or for exceptional situations (for example, last minute cancellations) that cannot be handled through the standard online process. This reduces training cost and time for agents, and speeds up customer handling at the stores.
Magnolia has earned deservedly high marks for extensibility and integration potential. Few systems can claim to be as open or as amenable to custom app development.