Australian travel groups are knocking on the door of Auckland-based Gullivers Pacific following the local company's success in doing its own travel industry software integration.
The project brought together a variety of packages after a fruitless worldwide search for an integrated system. Its success with the combined suite of products has brought visits to New Zealand from travel groups in Australia who want to buy the integrated solution.
The project was handled by a division set up by Gullivers on a temporary basis, called Access 2000.
Project manager Kathy O'Connor says Access 2000 made the separate products smarter together than they were on their own. However, the company isn't sure how it will respond to the demand from Australia. "That's not something we really
expected and at the moment we're think-ing about how to handle that. Sometimes we joke that we're now systems integrators."
Included in the products Access 2000 integrated were the Consolidated Airfares Database from the UK, and BCS Focus, a wholesaling system from Australia, which Access 2000 customised.
O'Connor says Gullivers was amazed that after searching for a system in the US, the UK, Australia and Germany, it found no integrated package that suited the New Zealand travel market. "We thought we'd buy something shrink-wrapped off the shelf. We didn't necessarily think there was going to be a lot of choice, but we did think there would be some."
She says one reason for the lack of suitability is that New Zealand travel agents need to work out complicated airfares because we're so far from most destinations. "If you're in the UK, you're very much in the package market."
O'Connor says the project has involved replacing all of its retail systems (front-office selling systems and back-office accounting), its wholesale system (booking for tour operations) and its ticketing system. For the first time all parts of the system will be integrated, and the system will be Web-enabled, meaning clients can access the system from outside the country.
Access 2000 involves about 10 people. Stage one of its project was replacing the front and back office systems. Dumb terminals have been replaced with Pentium II
450 machines. Stage two will involve implementing the new wholesale and ticketing systems. Stage three will be integrating those two systems together. O'Connor says that should happen by the first quarter of next year.
The system runs on a combination of NT and Unix (Sun). Gullivers has about 130 sites nationwide.