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RestBee

Multifunctional Travel Portal

Project Background

The client turned to Asapy in search for a company able to make high quality and competitive products, effectively organize the communication process, thoroughly gather project requirements and convert them into a successful IT solution.

The client’s business idea was to create a comprehensive portal for travel enthusiasts that would bring a number of useful services under a single umbrella. The resource would serve a wide audience of active travelers and allow them to get full details about every destination in an upcoming trip, discuss the itinerary with other travelers, draw information from a vast pool of user-generated content, view photos and watch videos, as well as to make the necessary reservations directly from the site, including flights, hotels, visa arrangements, transfers and more.

The key requirement for the new development partner was its ability to deliver across a wide gamut of technologies and platforms, including desktop and mobile, and offer a complete set of services, from business analysis and development to quality assurance, support and creation of comprehensive project documentation.

Solution

RestBee is a travel and hospitality solution that targets young to mid-aged, middle and upper-middle class tourists who prefer individual trip planning to purchasing ready packages from agencies. To make this task easier for them, the service acts as a “one stop shop” for everything related to planning and booking, and provides a plethora of corresponding tools.

RestBee allows its users to:

  • Book individual tours, hotel rooms, villas, airline tickets, cruises through leading global booking and reservation systems
  • View complete information about travel destinations, venues, national cuisines, upcoming events (festivals, sport events, national holidays) and more.
  • Get travel recommendations online from RestBee employees
  • Access useful content on the pages of the site: articles, reviews, ratings, maps, FAQ entries
  • Find and book tickets for cultural and sports events
  • RestBee offers a wide range of tickets for both national and international events and guarantees the lowest possible price on the web.
  • Rent cars via a network of global suppliers of car rental services
  • Take advantage of an on-site tourist library section with content available in several categories.
  • Securely pay online by major credit cards: Visa, MasterCard and American Express.

Development process

Asapy chose the LAMP stack and Symfony 2 for the project as the most efficient combination meeting the client’s functionality, budget and timeline requirements. Symfony is a PHP-based web application framework for MVC applications that allowed Asapy’s developers to get full control of the configuration, from folder structure to external libraries, and implement the necessary features in the most efficient manner.

Integration of several API’s to the website was one of the key aspects of the development process:

  • Asapy used AviaSales.ru API to enable RestBee users to find and book airplane tickets at the lowest price.
  • Event ticket reservations were implemented via the Ticket Bureau API.
  • Implementation of the HotelsCombined.com API enables users to search for accommodation among 5,000,000+ offers in 220 countries.

In the course of the development process, Asapy faced the problem of unsatisfactory performance of the webpage caching system. The issue was solved by means of deep optimization of the overall structure of website pages.

Webpage indexing issues were solved by removing duplicates used for testing and updating the source pages.

Technologies

  • PHP Framework: Symfony 2.0
  • Database: MongoDB 2.0, MySQL 5
  • Search Engine: ElasticSearch 0.9
  • Frontend UI: jQuery 1.9, Bootstrap 2
  • Code repository: Git

Result

Each stage of the project required coordinated efforts of the Asapy team and the client. Thanks to the use of appropriate agile methods and proper organization of project communications, this cooperation resulted in timely project delivery. The foundation of the project’s success was laid before the start of the development phase in the form of complete project documentation. This created a solid ground for smooth, fast and uninterrupted development and gave the client an opportunity to resort to the services of any vendor in the future with a complete functional specification at hand.

RestBee is currently live with over 400,000 unique visitors per month referred to the site through organic search services (95%), which illustrates the high relevance of the site content, SEO-friendly structure of its pages and overall high value of the portal for the target audience.

The client is thoroughly satisfied with the results achieved so far and is preparing a major update for the portal that will include the following components/features: reservation of railroad tickets; search and booking of yachts and boats; search for professional local guides; search for excursions in all major global locations; equipment rent; travel insurance services; visa assistance services.

Asapy is actively involved in the support and further development of the platform.