News | Wednesday, 24 June 2009

An affordable solution for tourism operators is an innovative new product by local web development company ICON. Ian Castillo, a director of the firm, talks about the system, which allows tourism operators of any size to manage and sell various tourism products through their websites

Why was born out of a need felt by many travel and tourism operators locally to have one system that could manage all lines of their businesses. Hotel operators are spoiled for choice when it comes to software or online services to manage and sell their rooms. However, for your average DMC, finding a solution that handles hotels, rental cars, tours and excursions, cruises, and many other services - all in one package - is far more difficult. Plus, for any system to be successful, it must be cost-effective and easy to use. Those were key principles we followed when developing

What does a typical deployment consist of?
We first analyse the different components of the customer’s business and decide which modules to use (a module refers to an individual line of business, for example accommodation or cruises). Larger customers with a diverse operation require the full suite of modules, whereas smaller operations often only require two or three. We then proceed to develop the website as per the customer’s requirements. ICON has a very strong portfolio so our customers are guaranteed to have a site that is functional, visually appealing, and easy to use. We focus heavily on return on investment and look at your website not as a calling card for your company, but as a new sales channel. Finally, we integrate the modules and come up with a system for data input. Data input is often the most tedious part of any software deployment, but our team can custom-build data insertion tools that cater for most standard data formats.
Very often, customers also turn to ICON for online marketing and search engine optimisation following the site launch. This step is crucial in increasing your revenue from the site and ICON has a great track record here.

How can businesses expect to increase their revenue through
This is the (literally) million dollar question. Very rarely is a website worth doing if it’s not going to bring in revenue. can increase a company’s revenue through:
Increasing a company’s global reach: All of the company’s services can be offered in real-time through their website, giving them 24/7 visibility. This, combined with proper web marketing and search engine optimisation, will drive in new customers that were previously unattainable.
Streamlining and reducing costs: A business can lose a great deal of cash by having to maintain relationships with a number of different software and IT providers. With, you deal with one provider for all your lines of business.
Increasing B2B relationships: Through customisable exporting tools and XML feeds, businesses can feed their products and services to third party websites that can act as resellers. This exponentially increases your business.

You mentioned that is affordable – how can a product with so much functionality be affordable especially for Maltese businesses that have to deal with reduced economies of scale? is built using the latest technologies. Thanks to its web-based architecture, deploying an solution is still surprisingly quick and cost-effective. As is the trend with most modern software, is built on a centralised infrastructure which ICON manages. This presents a number of major advantages for our customers: No distribution or on-site installation and maintenance costs; A dedicated team of professionals handle IT issues such as security and uptime on a 24/7 basis, saving you these costs; The software is upgraded regularly and free of charge.

How has the current economic situation affected your clients?
Now more than ever, customers are looking for ways of streamlining their operations. Cost-control is a constant pre-occupation with most clients, but we find that the more innovative customers look for opportunities in these adverse times. presents just such an opportunity – not only will you reduce your current costs (reduce IT and support expenditure, consolidate your software licensing costs to one product), but you’ll be left with a package that can push your services on a global scale using proven technology.



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24 June 2009

Malta Today


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