Integration and Bookings

Danwest - Getting away from it all

Danwest  - Getting away from it all

DanWest Vacation Rental started in 1995 with rental of holiday homes in Jutland and has since grown to its present size of in the region of 350 good, newly renovated and well-situated properties in Ringkøbing Fjord and the North Sea. These range from comfortable cottages to luxury properties with swimming pools that can accommodate up to 18 people. DanWest employ eight full-time and 50 part-time employees who all live in the rental areas.

The first website was created in 1999, based on the original SEEEMS software and showed all of the properties , with the opportunity to make booking enquiries and order a brochure.  As the company grew, they realised the importance of developing the website too. Today’s website is very modern, with a wealth of information about the area, local attractions and facilities, for example. It also offers a complete online booking service, along with secure login areas for both homeowner and holidaymaker.

The challenge and specification:

1. Integrating their offline accounting and booking system BookVision which is a customised version of the Navision Accounting System.

2. A user friendly and intuitive website for their customers

3. Search engine optimisation

The process:

1. The key to a successful project between a number of partners is communication. In this case meetings took place between DanWest, SEEEMS and Navision.

2. Then integration documentation was written so that the process could be monitored and managed.

3. Webservices were needed so that methods could be used in order to send parameters (filter parameters for example) and return values.  SEEEMS used certain data would be stored on the webservices server and then called upon when needed.  Both existing webservices and new ones were used.

4. An important consideration was performance.  A website with so much data had to be carefully planned, particularly thinking about caching logic. Webservices can be slow, connections can be broken; all this was taken into account.

5. Additional methods were planned  so that all of the 300 houses along with all of the related information, images and a two year booking calendar could be shown, searched for and the holiday booked by the customer.

The outcome:

1. An attractive and informative website, with the ability to search for the ideal holiday home over a two year period.

2. The search facility uses AJAX, (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) which means that as the user refines their search, data is exchanged with the server and the this part of the page is always updated, but without reloading the whole page. This means that the user can change their search data according to the results as they go along and not have to wait until the end, which saves them time.

3. A simple solution was found to the challenge of so many search criteria with the use of a 365 character long string.

4. The site is fully integrated with Navision, making the company’s booking and accounting system easy and automatic. The holiday homes are shown to their best advantage with the use of galleries, floor plans and also come with useful information about them and interactive Google maps.

5. Search Engine Optimisation was considered and integrated, with every page having SEO friendly URLs.

6. Changes to properties are noted from season to season, so that if a property is upgraded the customer can quickly and easily see what these are and when they will happen.

7. Customers can select properties that interest them and then keep the details to compare.

Finally:

DanWest and SEEEMS have worked in partnership for over a decade.  With SEEEMS flexibility and ability to communicate and get to the heart of what a business needs from its website the two businesses expect to work together for many years to come.