RDP is developing a contemporary, state-of-the-art version of its online booking engine, IRM Next Generation (IRMng).
IRMng is a responsive application that detects the type of device (smart phone, tablet, desktop) accessing the site and automatically adjusts the size of pictures and text to match. Content is input and managed from a single source meaning that IRMng replaces the legacy IRM.net and Mobile IRM applications. IRMng is built on the latest software development technology with speed and responsiveness as its cornerstones.
The Next Generation Owner portal, Ownerng, is already installed at one customer site and will be available for wider release in 2018. IRMng, used for guest bookings, is on a similar release schedule and is also slated for general release in 2018.
The following sections describe the core technology behind IRM Next Generation.
RDPng’s cornerstone development principles are speed and responsiveness. In addition, the application detects the browser version being used to display the booking site and uses built-in logic for displaying properly formatted text and images on any device (smart phone, tablet or desktop). To accomplish these goals, the application is developed using Bootstrap.
Originally created by Twitter, Bootstrap is the most widely used open source HTML & CSS framework for developing responsive web applications. Bootstrap has standard components that are common to hospitality booking engines, including menus, headers, footers, drop down lists, buttons, and picture galleries. All of these standard components are compatible across devices on all modern browsers. In addition, Bootstrap themes, which are familiar to web developers, can be used to customize the look and feel of user interface.
For online booking engines, instantaneously displaying available rooms and rates translates into a heightened visitor experience and, ultimately, a completed booking. RDP researched a variety of technologies that specialize in displaying data across the web and settled on the market leader, Angular.
In order to display pictures, rates, availability and property information to potential guests, the website application needs to access the RDP Pervasive database. In order to promote effective communication, RDPCore was developed.
RDPCore is built on C# (C-Sharp) and is designed to deliver essential booking data in “JSon format” which is optimized for web-based applications. The development power behind RDPCore allows IRMNg to quickly and efficiently display rates, book reservations, process payments and generate guest confirmations. All of these tasks are completed in a timely, effective manner that ensures potential guests experience a five-star performance from the time the booking is initiated.
Content Management System (IRMCMS)
With previous RDP booking engines, content was stored in external files. For example, a picture of room #102 would be stored in a specific file, such as “Unit102.JPG”. User text, such as descriptions of rooms, were also stored in external files, such as “Unit102.txt.” In order to display these pictures and descriptions, the previous booking Engine (IRM) had to read the external files and assemble them into a page for the guest to view. This page assembly dramatically reduced system performance.
With IRM Next Generation (IRMng), all content (picture, descriptions, rates, etc.) is stored inside the RDP database which allows web pages to be dynamically displayed. The database (IRMCMS) stores, manages and categorizes every online asset and allows for increased system performance.
In addition, content (text and graphics) can be efficiently added to the database through a straight-forward user interface. And, when a graphic is uploaded, the IRMCMS automatically re-sizes it three times in order to optimize it for smart phones, tablets and desktops.
If RDP customers are currently using the IRMCMS for IRM.Net and Mobile IRM, IRMng will access that same data, meaning that there is no duplicate data entry during the upgrade. The content in IRMCMS can also be used with the RDP HomeAway interface to upload content to the HomeAway web site. In addition, RDP offers an API that makes it possible to access this information from the customer’s marketing web site.
Sample Screen – Available Room Types
After the potential guest enters dates and preferences, the screen below displays available room types. In addition, a similar screen can show available room numbers. Once the list displays, there are links to display a Calendar, details on Rates, a detailed Amenities list, a Map to the location (mostly used for individual condos) and a Custom section, which allows for any additional information on the room types.
The label, “Custom,” is updated to a property-specific description and then customized text and/or pictures are added. Each link (Calendar, Rates, Amenities, Map) displays pertinent information and remains active even if multiple links are selected. This multi-tasking functionality allows pictures and rates to be displayed for multiple room types, allowing guests to easily compare available accommodations. This functionality is also configurable, meaning that individual customers can turn on or off individual links.
Sample Screen – Multiple Property Availability
After the potential guest enters dates and preferences, the screen below displays available dates by property.
Sample Screen – Available Room Calendar
After the potential guest enters dates and preferences, the screen below shows availability and rates on our dynamic calendar. This allows for better conversion of guests with flexible dates.
Use a Tablet to Search for Available Rooms
IRMNg tablet display is similar to a desktop except for the fact that there may not be room for displaying as many available rooms or room types. Due to space limitations, IRMNg automatically organizes all content based on the tablet’s current mode, portrait or landscape.
Search for Rooms or Room Types on a Smart Phone
On a phone sized display, the Reserve button, text and pictures automatically re-orient themselves for the small screen. The menu options: “Group Login,” “My Reservations” and “Contact Us” are part of the menu icon (three horizontal lines, often called a hamburger) in the upper right-hand corner. The photos automatically adjusts in size based on the small display.
Notice the words for the calendar and photos are now icons and work in the same way as the links described above.
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