Preview of the backend of the booking system for the website:

www.discoverytours.co.uk

August 30th 2020

Welcome to a short introduction into the functionality of the 'Indigo' booking system package built on Concrete5 CMS.

This is the latest version of a booking system specifically built for small to medium sized tour companies with some very unique features. It can do everything you would expect of a booking system such as online bookings, agent/admin bookings, invoicing, sms alerts, and API connectivity*, but it offers the most benefits to companies that wish to share their products with other companies in an efficient and secure way. Basically making a network of companies and their agents that all sell each other's tours.

Below are some screenshots of the backend's key features, it is from a company that has recently relaunched since the lockdown earlier this year. It is advised to visit their website and view the different front-side elements of the package, such as booking tours, looking for tours, as it will help in understanding the features mentioned.

Before Covid-19 we had 3 companies using it since it was first introduced in 2015, with large amounts of bookings being processed through it. Our company Indigo Travel, was one of the companies using it and we developed the system especially for our network - it has always worked very successfully, constantly adapting to an ever changing market. Our project during lockdown has been to update and enhance it - with the main focus being able to generate a website and bookable tours quickly. We plan to use this package to make a small business for ourselves, helping small tour companies to form self-supporting networks that aren't completely reliant on 3rd party resellers like Viator, GetYourGuide, etc.

I write code and my wife is a graphic designer, we are both self-taught, our main professions are operating tours in the UK and Europe for about 12 years. During this time we also helped many other tour companies with anything IT, lots of brochure and tour material designing and most of all tour guiding - which is a big passion for both of us.

 

Thank you for your time

 

Omar and Andrea

We love feedback - anything is appreciated! Also, if you would like to get involved in the improvement of this package, or need an affordable tour booking website -  please email us on omars786@gmail.com

Please note: There are a few more features in the system than what's labelled below - I have tried to show a broad range of different types of pages. I can arrange a video demo or a skype call showing all the features if needed.

Also: This system is in a constant state of production and the 'back-end' is needing a tidy - so apologies for the strange design and weird button positioning at times. This introduction is more about its key features and functionality.

 

(*Viator, GetYourGuide and TourRadar)

 

 

Admin Home

This is the user home for the administrator. Admin users have access to the dashboard and have full access to the package's options.
 

On this page, Admin can assign a guide to each tour listed, book a tour and generate passenger lists.


This page is currently being updated with more content coming soon such as: directory of users, contact information and notifications.


Other users, such as Agents and Staff have a similar backend display with some disabled options and no dashboard.

For example click here or here.

Bookings

This page displays all the bookings on the admin's tour products. Bookings can be sorted and searched and the resulting list displays a basic report showing various statistics.

Bookings are labelled by colours to inform the Users about current payment status.

They are presented as:
- Green: Payment has been received
- Blue: Booking has been invoiced
- Red: Payment pending

Agents and Staff have a similar page, but can only see the bookings done by themselves and are able to update the passenger’s details. Here is a screenshot.

 

Templates

A template is created for each tour offered by the company. It contains all the content for the front end and other information necessary to add dates and make bookable products.

The Admin can create or delete the pages on the front and also add/edit a template. Editing a template will automatically update the front pages displaying that particular tour on their website and any other websites sharing that tour.

Editing / Adding a Template

When editing or adding a template there is a large form which is subdivided into sections.

Templates provides the default settings for each of the products made in the 'Tours' section. It also also contains Website Content - which is shown below.

The system caters for day tours, short tours that occur multiple times a day and also multi-day tours that include accommodation. Tours can also have optional tours which can be bought along side the main product and all tours can have multiple departure points.

Template Front-end Content

Under the Website Content section of editing/adding a template, there is another form subdivided into several sections. In this particular one, the Itinerary builder is shown - this not only displays the content in the front but also constructs other information necessary for some of the API's that are connected to the system.

Almost all of the text content for each tour can be translated into several languages using an API from Yandex and the front end pages adjust when the multilingual features of Concrete5 are enabled.  

Tour Search

This page displays bookable products and each tour properties are by default provided by the corresponding Template. These are imported during the products creation and can be edited later on if a specific tour needs customisation.

The table displays along with the dates, prices and names - the number of seats available to sell and also the current capacity. There are also links to Edit the tour product's properties, make a passenger list or make a 'backend booking' - which is quicker method for booking groups or anything that needs overriding like pricing.

 

System Settings

This section contains all the settings needed for the system to work - it contains information about the company, booking number suffixes, bank details, and much more. This particular part is responsible for the sharing of your products with other companies.

If the system has been set up to allow sharing, it has access to a separate database on the server which will also allow it to see which other companies are using it.

Here they can choose to share their tours and/or accept the other company's products onto their system. If it is enabled from both parties, templates will be added automatically where they can be enabled and then tour products become available to book.
 
If sharing has not been set up, no other companies will be displayed and the system works as a stand-alone.

Reviews

This page is for managing reviews that are found on the web and storing them on the system to be published under a star system throughout the website which can be seen on:
- Tour lists displays
- Tour Page
- Tour booking page

Reviews can be added manually with their source (for eg TripAdvisor) included so webusers can verify it.

Alternatively the system can request a review and the user can input it directly into the website where it can be approved and responded to.

Requesting reviews is shown below

Requesting Reviews

This page displays all the travellers on your tours for the past two weeks. The admin can select the customers they want to send an sms message to requesting a review of their experience.

By default the system will link the user to the website to leave the review, but you can easily override this by inserting a different destination url into the textbox.

Send a Sms

This page allows the admin to send SMS messages to their customers - its very useful if a tour is running late for a pickup and we need to alert all the customers waiting for example. It connects via an API to a company called smsworks and each message costs about 5 pence each.

 

Basically, people are not checking their emails while on tour so the best way to communicate is by using their mobiles.

Invoicing

This page enables the admin to generate invoices. It is possible to import bookings and process commission for agents and other companies that have sold tours. Each product has a preset commissionable rate, but it can be overridden.

It is also possible to make a normal invoice without importing bookings, by adding miscellaneous entries.

Bookings that are invoiced are automatically updated in the "Bookings" section as they get processed from due(red) to invoiced(blue) to paid (green).

Once an invoice is generated, the corresponding Agent will have access to it from their user area's home.

If an invoice has not been updated as being paid and is overdue, a message is displayed in the admin's user home.

Sample Invoice

This is a screenshot of the invoice pdf that was generated by the system

- please note: the current admin user has not included their bank details in the system settings area, so it is currently showing the default values.

Website Media

Here there are various input elements that determine the colouring and styles of the front end. Its to enable each website to have more personalisation.  

Please note: The screenshot of this page is from a different website using the same system and its being worked on at the moment. Once finished will be included this website's system - hence the images are different.

 

Passenger List Sample

This feature is used for providing a clear list to the tour guides or drivers, to give them the details of the pick up points and the customers booking details including their contact information

It can be accessed from the admin's home or the tour section in the backend. If a member of staff has been assigned as the tour guide, then they will have access to this list in their 'Home' area when they log in.

Vouchers

On the frontend booking page there is an entry for a webuser to insert a voucher code to receive a discount. This section defines these codes.

Each code can be specific to a tour or to a category, such as 'Day Tours'. Vouchers can also be specific to an agent - so if the voucher is used then the bookings' commission can still be attributed to that agent. It is also useful for tracking the effectiveness marketing staff or to give them a bonus for the number of times their 'code' is used.
 
Discounts can be a set amount or a percentage

Optional Extras

Under the heading of 'Tour Options' in the navbar of the admin backend, there are several pages: Tour Categories, Departure Points, Accommodation Types, Accommodation Details and Optional Tours.

These all have their own properties and are used to make the templates and in turn the bookable products.

This is an example of an optional tour which is used in the Paris and Versailles template and bookable on those products.

Confirmation Page

This page is displayed after any product is booked on the website. Emails are automatically sent to the customer and agent where applicable and the admin is always sent a copy for their records.

Online (paypal) bookings will also get an sms with a link to this page that only they can access because there is a token in the URL.

This page is being viewed as an admin so the options of 'Send Sms' and 'Send Email' are shown - but for Agents and Webusers, they would only see 'Save' and 'Print' ticket.

Sample Ticket

This is the ticket which the system generates that the client can save as a PDF or print.

On the bottom right there is a small space if the company wishes to add a promotion, use it for advertising or promote reviewing. It can be updated easily in the Media area of the admin's backend.

The QR code can be used to validate the ticket against the data held on the system.

Sample Email Confirmation

This is the email which is automatically sent when a booking takes place to the relevant parties - it contains a link, departure information and an emergency contact number.