Subject: Reliability, Scalability and Security
Industry Sector: Software Vendor - Travel
Traveltek capitalises on phenomenal market growth with NTT Europe's hosting solutions
Established for over thirteen years, Traveltek’s goal has been to champion the use of technology in the travel industry. To this end, it offers a wide range of services, including online booking systems and portals for flights, hotels, car hire, car parking, transfers, cruises and skiing. Today, it is responsible for the online customer experience delivered by dozens of operators and travel agents, including Airtours, Thomas Cook, First Choice, Teletext Holidays, Air Miles and lastminute.com.
One of the biggest trends fuelling Traveltek’s success in the travel market is the explosive growth in dynamic packaging, where users book their own flights, hotel, car and other options for up to a 40% saving over a pre-packaged holiday. Kenny Picken, Managing Director of Traveltek, has seen some astonishing growth figures. “Our actual booking statistics show a 600% year-on-year increase in the dynamic packaging market. That’s not just because it’s a popular new trend – it’s because we anticipated it and have been working hard to capture our share of that market.”
For a business like Traveltek’s, which deals in data, such growth places incredible demands on the underlying IT infrastructure. Consumers interact with its data and online portals directly, with 40 million holiday records and 20 million searches conducted each week in its database. Any downtime or delay would be disastrous for customer service, which is why Traveltek needs a hosting platform that is reliable, scalable, and secure.
To deliver this reliability and performance, Traveltek has worked with NTT Europe as a strategic ICT solution partner for over seven years, forging a close and trusted relationship. “Our server and bandwidth infrastructure has grown organically from a relatively small start,” says Picken. “Our account managers at NTT Europe have always been very responsive: they understand our business and the travel market, so they can help us address the changing challenges we face.”
Today, Traveltek runs more than two-dozen dedicated and virtual servers across the UK and USA, and every new client tests the infrastructure with greater traffic volumes. “It’s a challenging environment for us with the growth in searches, and scalability and resilience are key.” Picken has complete faith in NTT Europe. “The technical guys are very responsive,” says Picken. “We enjoy 99.7% guaranteed uptime and real 24x7 support, which a lot of companies promise but few deliver. The business we’re in presents challenges, but we always find that NTT Europe responds proactively to help us overcome them. We wouldn’t risk going anywhere else.”
NTT Europe's brand is important to Traveltek’s customers, too. “As part of NTT Group, one of the largest telecommunications companies in the world, NTT Europe’s reliability and global coverage has always been a differentiator,” says Picken. “We can assure our customers that they don’t have to worry about resilience. Having seen what NTT Europe offers, it’s an easy promise for us to make.”
As Traveltek grows in reputation and larger clients continue to employ its services, Picken is seeing a definite trend that customers are interested in where its systems, such as booking engines, are hosted. “They want to be there too,” says Picken “So we’re starting to work in tandem with NTT Europe to host customer web servers in the same data centre as their booking engine. It’s a trend that’s going to continue and we’re happy to recommend NTT Europe to our customers.”
Picken sees his company’s growth continuing. Bigger travel customers, such as Thomsons, Thomas Cook and First Choice, are starting to get into the dynamic packaging market by breaking up their packages using products from Traveltek. And with the support of the NTT Europe infrastructure, Traveltek has confidently expanded into the close-knit cruise market, too.
“Cruise is an incredibly difficult market to master,” says Picken, “because the operators are held back by legacy technology. But as they modernise their systems, we’re perfectly placed to help them.” Traveltek has become the first company in the world to wrap dynamic packaging around cruises. For example consumers can add a hotel stay with car hire, theme park tickets and long-haul flights onto the end of their cruise, all within the same transaction.
Traveltek has ambitious plans for the future– not least to expand in America, taking advantage of the global presence the NTT Group has. Miami is the cruise capital, where Carnival, the largest cruise company in the world and the owner of Cunard and P&O, is based. Traveltek plans to establish a direct data connection between Miami and its London data centre as the relationship with the cruise operators flourishes. “We also plan to open an office in Miami ourselves,” reveals Picken. “The US market is ready for dynamic packaging. But we’re also looking to target Europe and Australasia.”
“We’re enjoying fantastic growth,” concludes Picken. “But this growth is only sustainable thanks to the reliable and scalable platform we have with NTT Europe. Travel is an insular industry: good news travels fast and bad news travels faster. So we know what it means for our reputation to have a solid hosting partner like NTT Europe.”
Traveltek has ten years of experience in the travel industry and are now recognised as one of the leading travel technology companies in the UK. Its clients include many well known names, such as Thomas Cook, Cosmos Holidays, Airmiles, lastminute.com, Advantage Travel Centres, Midlands Co-op, Leeds Co-op, Stewart Travel, King World Travel, Holiday Hypermarket, Orchid Travel, Holiday City Superstore and many, many more.
It creates booking systems for flights, hotels, car hire, car parking, transfers and cruises, deals with XML interfaces from development companies all over the world, provides cruise and holiday data to industry leading partners, parses through legacy information systems, processes millions of rows of package holiday data per day and continues to hold the hands of new agencies entering the web market for the first time. Organisations large and small find that Traveltek satisfies their needs, from its technology expertise to its friendly and helpful staff.