AI-Powered Travel Portal Development

  • Custom web portal for online travel planning
  • Built-in travel recommendation system for personalized travel deals
  • Social networking features for a collaborative travel experience
Expertise
Web & Enterprise Portals
Social Networking
Verticals
Travel & Hospitality

Iflexion delivered an intelligent solution for end-to-end booking of vacations and business trips and ongoing communication within travel communities.

  • .NET
  • C#
  • Apache Spark
  • JavaScript
  • My SQL
Calendar
4
Months
Gears
50
Person-months

Context

Our customer had an idea of an online solution that would help end users book their vacation and business trips, find the best available deals, as well as participate in travel communities.

At the same time, to answer the needs of modern travelers, the customer planned to deliver not just a typical travel portal but an intelligent travel platform that would learn travelers’ preferences and provide them with personalized information and offerings.  

In the first place, the customer was looking for a web development company capable to translate the raw idea into a well-structured project specification and build a fully-featured travel portal based on the drawn-up requirements.

It was also necessary that the future technology partner be strong enough in AI consulting and development to enrich the solution with smart features. The customer chose Iflexion owing to our expertise in both technological domains and our understanding of the traveling industry, proved in Iflexion’s projects with such traveling giants as Expedia.

Solution

Since the customer had only a vague idea of the solution in mind, business analysis was critical to ensure the success of the travel portal app development. Iflexion’s business analysts prepared a detailed project specification with the full scope of web and AI development work to be done.

Taking into consideration the project’s size, the customer decided to split the development process into two phases. The first phase was to cover the must-have functionality of the travel web portal, while the second phase was dedicated to AI features.

Core features of the travel portal

Iflexion delivered a feature-rich portal that allows users to perform a variety of travel-related activities:

  • book accommodation
  • search for and buy tickets
  • book and rent cars
  • build travel routes
  • discover key information about locations
  • find travel discounts, and more

To enable in-app payments, the portal was integrated with commonly used payment systems, including Stripe, PayPal, Braintree, and Authorize.Net.

The portal also provides users with different ways of interacting with content. Users can:

  • bookmark their favorite travel offers
  • share an attractive offer with their social connections
  • inspect a chosen location via integrated Google Maps
  • set up automatic notifications to get firsthand information about available discounts and new offers from their favorite travel providers.

Travel communities

Apart from planning their journeys on their own, users can join travel communities right on the portal. Travel communities have a set of social features that help users connect with each other based on their physical location or common travel destinations, discuss their trips, share text and media files.

To make it easier to create a user profile in this social hub, the solution was integrated with the most popular social networking apps (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Snapchat), which allows users to sign in using their personal information from the existing profiles.

AI-based recommendation system

Deciding on AI-powered features for the travel portal, the customer was hesitating between a custom conversational chatbot and a recommendation system for personalizing offers based on user behavior. While the chatbot could be faster to develop and implement, the customer decided to focus on the recommendation system that would ensure deep personalization of travel services and products.

Relying on their experience with the Apache Spark framework, Iflexion’s team developed a custom recommendation system for the travel portal. The system puts together registered users’ historical data and activities to provide the most optimal deals.

Apart from attractive travel options, the solution also recommends potential connections for travelers to communicate with. The system takes into consideration a user’s previous travel experience and current travel goals to offer connections with similar characteristics.

Development Process

Iflexion’s travel portal software development team chose the ASP.NET framework to build an easily scalable solution. This framework became the portal core as it is compatible with the majority of browsers and web services as well as boast broad customization and integration capabilities.

NHibernate made the portal fast and stable. The database layer used NHibernate for object relations mapping, with no need to pay attention to specific database restrictions.

Additionally, Iflexion used Microsoft AJAX.NET library to ease the development of the portal’s new components and future modification of the existing features. AJAX.NET also helped increase the portal’s performance and ensure a great user experience.

The team used Mobius to integrate the Spark-based recommendation system with the .NET-based portal.

Results

Thanks to our travel portal development efforts, the customer got a brand-new solution built according to modern travelers’ requirements. The portal includes all the must-have features for users to arrange their trips. Owing to the integrated social features, users can organize and join travel communities to get advice from other users during their travel planning or to share their travel experience. The implemented recommendation system automates travel personalization and provides each portal user with offers tailored to their preferences and budget.

Satisfied with our travel portal development services and particularly with the positive results brought by AI technologies, the customer decided to continue improving their solution with advanced features.

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