Rocky Mountaineer is a Vancouver-based travel company that offers luxury rail journeys through the Canadian Rockies, and caters to customers from around the globe. The client wanted to develop an advanced search tool to improve the efficiency of the call centre and the accuracy of information provided to customers. At the time, the call centre operators didn’t have a set process for recommending trips while on a call with a customer. Operators often had to jump between several resources (including the website, the existing reservation desktop software, Excel spreadsheets and printed product catalogue) to locate package information and deliver quotes.

The application needed to provide quick access to pricing and inventory availability. To improve accuracy, operators needed to be able to efficiently locate comprehensive product information, including detailed itineraries, maps, trip highlights, and service levels.

Discover & Devise

Requirements: The project began with detailed discussions with the IT project manager to define and prioritize business, user and technical requirements. We conducted a competitive analysis of travel booking tools to gather ideas for helpful features. Next, in-person interviews and on-site observation with operators uncovered details about working style, needs and wants. Findings emphasized that:

  • The search interface would need to support flexible, non-linear data entry.
  • Search results summaries needed to be displayed with robust sorting options to quickly locate the most relevant options.
  • Information prioritization and layout would be key to allow users to quickly scan the packages returned and then drill down to compare pricing and itinerary details.

Design & Develop

A robust user interface was designed for speed based on the Twitter Bootstrap framework. Highlights include:

  • A compact, powerful search interface. Users can quickly locate and choose multiple specific packages or search on a package category. Search criteria dynamically filters remaining search options as the user types. Users can minimize the search interface to allocate more screen real estate to search results.
  • A flexible search results interface. A thoughtfully prioritized information hierarchy efficiently delivers a wealth of information to users. Users can scan through a summary view of results and then drill down to view price breakdowns and itineraries for individual results. Detailed information can be accessed via a series of contextual icons. Users can also navigate to view results for alternate available dates.

The application was built on the Rocky Mountaineer product API that was previously developed by Aalto Interactive, and efficiently provides access to up-to-date product inventory for over 120 vacation packages. Since the application is built via client-side technologies it provides a fast, rich user experience.

Features added since launch include:

  • Dynamic export of a package itinerary to PDF format
  • Promotions and blackout date filtering
  • A hotel search tool

Results delivered

When version 1.0 was launched in June 2014, the inaugural demonstration received an enthusiastic response from call centre staff. Today call centre staff can access vacation package details and pricing from a single source in seconds, compared to the past when it took up to 15 minutes to deliver a quote.

“We have worked with the Aalto Interactive team since day one. Through numerous projects they have consistently delivered high quality, innovative work that has directly impacted our bottom line. Their attention to detail and willingness to understand our business needs has made them an invaluable partner.”

- Adam Bekar, Project Manager, Rocky Mountaineer