Development of a flight, accommodation and transfers bookings B2B platform.

ClientFirmus Baltic
IndustryTravel
RegionEastern Europe and Middle East
Work implementedProduct Development, Business Consulting, Data Anlysis
Established by a group of experts in tourism in 2009, the tour operator Firmus Baltic aims to provide high-quality services throughout Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Russia, and Belarus. Over time, given the international nature of its business, the company became aware of the rising demand for a B2B booking platform. They visualized a web platform, which allowed travel agencies to book flights, hotels, transfers, cars, SPA visits, and appointments for medical treatment – a one-top shop for all travel services. Without much hesitation, the company decided to make its idea – dubbed Go24.Travel – a reality.
Challenges
Bringing this kind of a platform to market is no easy task – you get one shot to get it right, and if your users don't like it, it's going to be a long time before they come back for round two. With this in mind, we identified the following challenges:
  • No user testing and feedback before the platform is released with lots of functionality already in place
  • Invoicing system must be compatible with all target countries
  • Integration with multiple flight and hotel providers must be implemented, and duplicates must be prevented in search results
Goals
The main goal of the project was to create a primary version of the Go24.Travel platform that would be ready to scale. In addition, we set a number of secondary objectives coordinated with the client in advance:
  • All financial calculations must be performed by taking in account different currencies and national laws
  • Performance and a good user experience is a priority
  • Scalability must be taken into account for the future as the number of active users is likely to grow over time
Created Value
As the project required a high-quality solution, we devoted extra attention to technical decisions. In the end, the solution was carefully constructed around the following tom optimise performance:

  • Application runtime was based on robust, widely used technologies
  • Different databases ensured data flexibility and performance
  • System architecture enabled easy scaling for the application
  • Static code analysis tools helped to ensure that the code was simple to maintain


Finished product - go24.travel
AgileAgile principles were used to maintain progress in a flexible and iterative manner. Each development phase was conducted using different methods:
  • Scrum was used for the active development phase. A team of 5 developers was assigned to implement most of the features within a period of 4 months. As the priorities were quite stable, we were able to successfully maintain 2-week sprints along the way. With the help of Scrum, we were able to deliver the desired features while keeping the client in the loop, as well as adapt to changing requirements, manage the budget & deadlines, and continually improve our development process.
  • Kanban was used for the passive development phase. Given the need to significantly reduce the pace of development following the active phase, no dedicated team was assigned to the passive phase. This is why all the remaining features were implemented using our main Kanban board dedicated for miscellaneous small tasks. With the help of Kanban, we were able to keep the Go24.Travel development costs low while maintaining different scopes at the same time.
ChallengesSome of the obstacles we encountered along the way were extremely challenging to overcome. The first was related to the difficulty of ensuring the smooth operation of the accommodation booking functionality, made complicated by the different laws and currencies involved. One of the questions raised by our developers even necessitated communication with the Finance Ministry. Even though it took a while to get a clear answer, our payment handlers are now able to perform flawless calculations as a result.

The second obstacle was related to the core engine, which communicates with multiple booking service providers and offers only the best price to the end customer. More specifically, we faced a number of challenges in merging search results, owing to the near impossibility of achieving a perfect match between hotels listed across different provider databases.
SupportWhat helped us out in this case was an experience shared by the company's co-founder about his interactions with a representative of an accommodation service provider during an exhibition. Our client was positively surprised by the support he was getting from representatives. It turned out that accommodation providers were suffering from a monopoly in the market, and Firmus Baltic was poised to make things better for everyone. We also received a lot of positive feedback with regards to our developers from representatives who had the chance of working together on integration.
OutcomeThe first release of the Go24.Travel project was delivered in less than a year, having only 4 months of active development. Despite some delay, mostly related to issues on the business side, we were able to successfully manage changing demand in a flexible manner, and we are happy to say that the system is now up and running without interruption. Satisfied with the results, we are looking forward to future cooperation. The best is yet to come!
Technologies
Given the complex and demanding nature of the project, technologies had to be selected with the utmost precision. The application was implemented using Node.js, which provides excellent scalability. More than that, Node.js was perfect for the project because its I/O model is perfectly suitable for data-intensive real-time applications. In addition, we also used a number of Google APIs to overcome some of the more challenging tasks.

Multiple storages were used to acquire the best performance. The lightning-fast Redis database was used for cache & geolocation calculations, and all other data was conveniently stored in a relational MySQL database.

The client-side was implemented using the same technology Google uses for their largest applications, namely – AngularJS. This technology has a massive community and public components gallery, which allowed us to implement various features quickly and at low cost.

Thanks to these technologies, the solution is scalable, high-performance, and easy to maintain.
Skills
  • MySQL
  • Node.js
  • Angular
  • Agile
  • Redis
  • Data Analysis
  • Requirements Analysis
  • Product Development
  • Integrations
  • Enterprise Software
  • Project Management
  • Custom Software Development
  • Web Development
  • Business Consulting
“We work with Toughlex on miscellaneous projects for more than a year already. Right from the beginning we realized that Toughlex team was different. Instinctually, they seemed to truly understand the most important things that all the others before them had missed. Toughlex team has really trustworthy attitude – they constantly surprise with relevant insights and solutions, that align with our long-term business goals. Promptitude, candor, efficiency – that is Toughlex from our perspective. We are happy with current results and we are looking forward to achieving bigger goals together.”Edvardas GandrimasAccount Manager at Go24.Travel
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