VAIL, Colo. (press release) - Vail Resorts Inc. (NYSE:MTN - News) today announced new Internet booking services available at its www.snow.com site, providing visitors with enhanced capabilities for searching, selecting and purchasing accommodations, activities and other travel components.
The site's improvements were made possible by a new booking engine developed in partnership with Datalex (ISE:DLE; OTC:DLEXY) and Resort Technology Partners (RTP), representing a new generation of Internet distribution technologies for leisure travel enterprises.
At the www.snow.com site, visitors can perform complex searches for accommodations by product types, locations, amenities and individual preferences. Content-rich site information includes property photographs and descriptions, maps and other destination content. The booking system enables the purchase of accommodations, ski-lift tickets, airport shuttle services, car rental, and activities. Travel components can be purchased individually or as customized packages covering a wide variety of activities including skiing, golfing, fishing, mountain biking and more. The new system enables the resort operator to target promotional offers, such as seasonal rates and extended stay programs, and to respond quickly to market opportunities with special pricing and packages.
Leading mountain resort operator Vail Resorts Inc. (VRI), global travel industry technology provider Datalex, and resort and recreation technology specialist RTP developed the new booking engine over a two-year period, using Web Services technologies designed specifically for booking operations across the Internet. The build decision was based on VRI's requirement to better represent the breadth of facilities available at its destinations, to broaden the scope for customer online self-service travel booking at its portal Websites, and to realize increased efficiency in its sales, distribution and reservations management operations.
"Given the growth in online vacation bookings over the past several years, we realized that a comprehensive online reservations system was needed in order to continue meeting the needs of our guests and delivering high levels of service," said Martin White, senior vice president of marketing and sales for Vail Resorts. "By partnering with Datalex and RTP on our new online reservations system, we are able to offer our guests one-stop shopping for their vacation needs and capture important information for future marketing opportunities, all of which gives us an edge in a highly competitive industry."
The current implementation, targeted at existing site users, represents the initial phase of development of the Internet booking system, which has been deployed at www.snow.com for Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone and Heavenly. Direct connections have been developed for the principal property management system used by VRI's hotel groups, enabling guests to view real-time pricing and availability. The site will be complemented with additional components for booking airfares and storing customer profile information. VRI plans to attract new users to the site and will develop dedicated portal sites for property owners, travel trade distributors and group organizers. VRI also plans to implement a professional-level interface for its call-center personnel and to use the booking system for its other managed resort locations.
"The development represents a significant extension of Datalex's technologies," said Datalex CTO Jim Peters. "This solution enables us to meet the growing requirements among global hospitality, resort and destination management organizations for dynamic Internet packaging, content management, inventory system connectivity and distribution. It is exciting for Datalex to deliver these Web Services technologies also among our traditional clientele of transportation and tour providers, and Internet retailers."
Datalex will continue to develop, integrate and maarket the Internet booking engine technologies with its e-Commerce solution suite and will extend connectivity options for a wide range of hotel and resort property management systems. System components were developed using the latest technologies including J2EE standards and Enterprise Java Beans, based on a Web Services framework.
"We are very proud of the work we have done helping Vail Resorts and Datalex seamlessly integrate their new booking engine with the new Vail Resorts websites," said Charlie L'Esperance, president and CEO of RTP. "Since RTP has expertise in all three areas (resort transaction processing, website development, and user interface design), we were able to deliver a very effective e-Commerce capability for Vail Resorts, with real business value."