Tourplan recognizes that its success – over 250 370 companies using Tourplan across 40 70 countries globally – is a unique recommendation for the system, but also places constraints on product development. Small changes can have dramatic effects when multiplied across the user base, what is right in one part of the world can be wrong in another, different groups of users have different priorities and needs to others, and ultimately this constrains our flexibility and our ability to meet individual company needs.
As another measure of success of the core system, our user base has broadened from our traditional Inbound Tour Operators to a mixture of inbound, outbound wholesalers and retailers, domestic call centre base operations and a rapidly growing group of predominantly online wholesale and retail travel and reservation businesses. While the broader range of business models we support provides flexibility within the product, we must be careful in ensuring our focus and specialization in specific business areas of the industry is preserved.
Tourplan will remain a specialized, elite product, with the largest worldwide user base of any comparable company. Meeting the challenges of flexibility to address individual company needs, while preserving broad industry contextual relevance is a key design factor behind all our forward direction.
Web, web services, all Internet and online interfaces are already highly customisable and ever expanding to be able to integrate with more and more core Tourplan business logic. In 2008/09 this will expand across reservations interfaces, meaning retail, call centre, wholesale, retail, inbound, outbound, online, mobile … will all be thin, adaptable, customizable skins to the core system. All the back end benefits, but no constraints at the distribution interface.
Core product development and cycles will be split into two user groups – the more traditional inbound focus, where efficiency gains and supplier system connectivity are primary drivers, and the outbound focus where dynamic packaging, CRM and online retailing dominate the forward strategies.
Development and release cycles will be tailored to better meet each groups needs, with some geographic tuning occurring in this area for both groups.
So, broad brush strokes: