ITA Group provides engagement and travel solutions for large organizations, but its client base was demanding more and more personalization, which individual agents needed help to handle.
Together, ITA Group and DEPT®/Digital Products created The Online Booking Tool (OBT): A custom web app that books air travel for thousands of employees at once–for different events, companies, and locations.
Increasingly complex travel requirements
A company conference in Las Vegas or Cancun sounds like a great idea until hundreds of people start buying their flights and hotels, arrive late or on the wrong days, and decide they want to bring family members. What sounds like a fabulous experience can become a corporate travel nightmare.
Enter ITA Group, the corporate travel specialists.
When it comes to corporate conferences, they make sure everything runs smoothly. From event registration to flights, cars, hotels, and outing events, all the way down to the smallest detail, ITA Group facilitates seamless travel experiences.
However, when the ITA Group was formed 20 years ago, corporate travel typically meant booking the same airfare and hotel rooms for 200 to 1000 attendees. Everyone flew into one location, stayed the same number of nights, and flew out again.
But as corporate groups grew in size and requests required escalating levels of personalization, booking these large-scale events created a lot of time-consuming back-and-forth between ITA’s agents and a client’s employees.
Requests became increasingly more customized, companies would only pay a certain dollar amount per person, an executive wanted to take their family, or someone needed to leave a day early.
This level of personalization meant that ITA Group’s original business model, where a live person handled everything, couldn’t scale.
An app to help ITA Group scale
ITA didn’t have the resources to build an automated system on time, so they needed an acceleration partner who could fit quickly and easily into their lean development approach.
We stepped in as that strategic partner and led the development of ITA’s MVP.
The timing from prototype to final product was a mere six months, allowing ITA to sell to a major tech client early on and bring them along for the ride. This made the corporate client feel heard and invested in the product’s success. All in all, we delivered a comprehensive solution in the specified time period within budget.
The Online Booking Tool
Together, we created The Online Booking Tool (OBT): A custom online system that allows air travel to be booked for thousands of employees simultaneously.
Designed as a lightweight web application, the OBT can take input from any given user, find the event they’re registered for, and render a dynamic, white-labeled travel experience tailored not only to their company and event but even their participant type (think employee of the month vs VIP vs C-Suite executive). Based on their participant type, the user can search within the original parameters set by the company.
While the tool only handled air travel at launch, it was built with scalability in mind and will eventually be used for booking hotels and cars.
The team was easy to work with and dedicated to finding the best solution, even if that meant challenging what we were thinking to ensure the product was the best it could be for the end user. I found this to be one of the greatest values of working with the DEPT® team.
Drew Langhart, Product Owner at ITA
Managing Partner / Growth