IT entrepreneur Graeme Frost has developed an online tour planning system, which enables tourists to research, plan and book their New Zealand itineraries on a single website.
Frost launched the website, called Cadabra, this month. It deals with multiple destinations, multiple travel modes, and activity options in each location, he says.
Frost got the idea for the website five years ago when he met an American couple who were travelling around New Zealand. They had planned and booked their nine-day tour on 13 different websites, and when they had to change their itinerary a few days before the trip, they faced a logistical nightmare, says Frost.
Frost and his team of four developers have spent over two years developing the .Net software platform. The company received a research and development grant from the Foundation for Research Science and Technology to develop the software, he says. The software is developed as a package, so that the company will be able to enter other touring or multi-destination markets as well, says Frost. Users of the website enter information, such as the kind of accommodation they are looking for, destinations they want to go to and what activities they want to experience, and the system will then dynamically build itineraries based on that information, he says.
Users can then choose between the itineraries, as well as add or change things. The website also deals with split itineraries, for example, if one travel partner wants to go fishing and the other wants to do something else, says Frost.
The service is free to users. The website’s business model is that of a travel agency, he says.
The itinerary wizard brings together Cadabra’s technology with the knowledge about New Zealand destinations, accommodation and activities from Cadabra’s partner ANZCRO (Australia New Zealand Central Reservations Office), which has specialised in New Zealand travel for 15 years, says Frost. The site also provides Qualmark ratings, the official New Zealand tourism ratings system. The site gives users access to over 1000 accommodation options and 3000 tourism services, he says.
Frost has a background in both travel and IT, having designed and developed software systems for the travel market for more than 10 years, he says. Prior to starting Cadabra, he founded and managed Keystone Solutions, a legal software company that expanded into Australia, the US and the UK, where it was listed on the London Stock Exchange, before being sold in 2002.