Today's post was written by Markus Schreiber and Tessa BaddakyWinTourS AG, founded in 2002, specializes in the development of software solutions for tour operators. Tour operators are responsible for operating and providing vacations by contracting, booking, and packaging together the various components of a tour, such as your hotel, transportation, meals, guides, optional tours, and flights.
Our clientele is very diverse, ranging from small, special-interest businesses, medium-size companies, and large brokers of flights with Germany's largest airline. With that said, the products they offer to their customers are varied - small-group cycling and hiking trips, polar expedition cruises on a nuclear-powered icebreaker, and everything in between.
It's critical for the WinTourS software solution to be modular and highly customizable to fit the wide variety of our clients' products and offerings. This is one of the main reasons we chose Microsoft Access as our application development tool.
Access - Rapid Application Development (RAD) Tool
Over the years we have developed more than 70 WinTourS modules in Access, so we can offer customers a package of modules, tailored to their specific needs and products. Access allows us to be competitive in this ever-changing market. After meeting with customers and understanding their unique business processes, we can rapidly build a prototype and present it to the customers as both a proof of concept and a starting point for future discussions. Using Access, we are quick to respond and the turnaround time to showcase potential customers what we can do for them has no competition.
For our existing customers, we provide first class service as we can quickly respond to changing market circumstances and customize their WinTourS modules.
As travel operators expand and grow their business, there is a need to support new travel packages of different types. By using Access as both a RAD and application development tool, we save time and money.
Integration with Office Apps
We love that Access is part of the Microsoft Office products family! It is easy to exchange data with Outlook, Word, and Excel. For example - a very common task for a tour operator is to generate emails and letters to tour members concerning their trip. Access allows them to generate personal emails and letters with a push of a button, which saves them time and errors.
But it's not just us - our customers love it that Access is part of Office. It's a brand they know and trust, and in most cases, already have at their disposal.
Integration with External Data Sources
In the travel industry, it is essential for tour operators to always be connected to third party information and data. Access makes it easy and straightforward for us to consume and integrate data from various external data sources. As part of our tailoring features of WinTourS for each client, we also leverage this capability to integrate our app with a client's line-of-business apps, such as their bookkeeping databases and content management systems.
Generating Rich Reports
WinTourS covers tour operators' business end to end - first contact, pricing, booking, invoicing, generating travel documents, automating dialog with suppliers and clients, archiving documents, and more.
Access allows us to create customized reports based on this data, and to serve customer care, marketing, and finance departments.
The Access reporting engine is powerful yet simple to work with, so some of our customers choose to edit or create their own reports on demand.
Microsoft SQL Server Backend
For each one of our clients, we create a separate WinTourS solution, consisting of three main components:
A core database engine - Microsoft SQL Server
Business logic, specific to each client - Microsoft SQL Server and Access
A unique, highly customized application - Access (integrated with Microsoft Office products such as Outlook, Word and Excel)
Many of our clients prefer to host and run WinTourS independently in their companies. Others ask us to host the system for them to guarantee world wide access. Once again, our architecture and extension of Access with SQL Server, makes it easy to fulfill these different needs.
The great success of WinTourS demonstrates how Access is a one-of-a-kind RAD tool. Over the years it has enabled us to follow our vision of developing tailor-made, cost-effective and customer-centric solutions, to the great satisfaction of our customers across Europe.
Markus Schreiber is incorporator and CEO of WinTourS AG in Munich, Germany. He is involved in IT since 1985 as an IT-consultant and CAD-design engineer. Started to develop software for tourism business in 1995.
Tessa Baddaky is CEO of WinTourS AG, a tourism expert and consultant in Munich, Germany. She functions as a link and interpreter between customers and developers.