Travelstart launches new mobile website
On-line travel company Travelstart has launched a brand new mobile site which will enable customers to compare thousands of flights in seconds.
The new site comes at a time when mobile device and smartphone user penetration is at its highest in South Africa.
The data economy has taken over as South Africa’s major networks have seen a decline in the demand for voice services for the first time in history. According to a November 2013 report by World Wide Worx, the 19-24 age group is abandoning voice services faster than any other segment.
Only 56 percent of this group’s mobile budget is now spent on voice, down from 66 percent in mid-2012. Data spend, on the other hand, has increased from 17 percent to 24 percent.
Michelle Kleu, Travelstart’s South Africa Country Manager, believes that mobile-compatible websites are essential for businesses looking to provide customers with a holistic user experience.
She said: “Mobile Internet access in South Africa has again turned a corner and the new mobi-site, built specifically for mobile screens, offers travellers everywhere a neatly stripped down version of the Travelstart.co.za website.
“This is where customers can search and compare airline tickets prices in real time, book and pay for domestic and international flights and receive instant confirmation via email.”
This information signals the dawn of a new era in the way South Africans are communicating and businesses like Travelstart stand to benefit from Africa’s upwardly mobile technophiles.
Kleu said: “Cellphone users do everything desktop users do, provided it’s presented in a usable way.
“At Travelstart we wanted to create a mobile travel booking website that enhances our customers’ shopping experience as they seek real-time information on the go, while providing the all-encompassing functionality of the personal computer experience.”
The online travel agency reported a 323 percent increase in mobile traffic between 2012 and 2013, while mobile devices overtook tablet devices in terms of traffic in 2013.
Linked to the existing Travelstart.co.za URL, the mobile website provides a seamless experience by detecting and automatically adjusting to different screen sizes.
The mobile-friendly version of the website will also be rolled out to the online travel agency’s international markets which include Tanzania, Kenya, Nigeria, Egypt and Turkey.
Mobile Internet usage has leapfrogged that of personal computers in these emerging economies, and the online travel agency has responded to this unprecedented growth with a mobi-site that serves the travel needs of Africa’s more isolated digital tribes.
The improved mobile booking site is one of several newly developed features at Travelstart including the ability to make multicity bookings, mix and match domestic flight booking functionality and neXt – an online travel booking tool for travel agents.
GfK and VMware: Innovating together on hybrid cloud
GfK has been the global leader in data and analytics for more than 85 years, supplying its clients with optimised decision inputs.
In its capacity as a strategic and technical partner, VMware has been walking GfK along its digital transformation path for over a decade.
“We are a demanding and singularly dynamic customer, which is why a close partnership with VMware is integral to the success of everyone involved,” said Joerg Hesselink, Global Head of Infrastructure, GfK IT Services.
Four years ago, the Nuremberg-based researcher expanded its on-premises infrastructure by introducing VMware vRealize Automation. In doing so, it laid a solid foundation, resulting in a self-service hybrid-cloud environment.
By expanding on the basis of VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management, GfK has given itself a secure infrastructure and reliable operations by efficiently operating processes, policies, people and tools in both private and public cloud environments.
One important step for GfK involved migrating from multiple cloud providers to just a single one. The team chose VMware.
“VMware is the market leader for on-premises virtualisation and hybrid-cloud solutions, so it was only logical to tackle the next project for the future together,” says Hesselink.
Migration to the VMware-based environment was integrated into existing hardware simply and smoothly in April 2020. Going forward, GfK’s new hybrid cloud model will establish a harmonised core system complete with VMware Cloud on AWS, VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management and a volume rising from an initial 500 VMs to a total of 4,000 VMs.
“We are modernising, protecting and scaling our applications with the world’s leading hybrid cloud solution: VMware Cloud on AWS, following VMware on Google Cloud Platform,” adds Hesselink.
The hybrid cloud-based infrastructure also empowers GfK to respond to new and future projects with astonishing agility: Resources can now be shifted quickly and easily from the private to the public cloud – without modifying the nature of interaction with the environment.
The gfknewron project is a good example – the company’s latest AI-powered product is based exclusively on public cloud technology. The consistency guaranteed by VMware Cloud on AWS eases the burden on both regular staff and the IT team. Better still, since the teams are already familiar with the VMware environment, the learning curve for upskilling is short.
One very important factor for the GfK was that VMware Cloud on AWS constituted an investment in future-proof technology that will stay relevant.
“The new cloud-based infrastructure comprising VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation forges a successful link between on-premises and cloud-based solutions,” says Hesselink. “That in turn enables GfK to efficiently develop its own modern applications and solutions.
“In market research, everything is data-driven. So, we need the best technological basis to efficiently process large volumes of data and consistently distill them into logical insights that genuinely benefit the client.
“We transform data and information into actionable knowledge that serves as a sustainable driver of business growth. VMware Cloud on AWS is an investment in a platform that helps us be well prepared for whatever the future may hold.”