Thomas Cook has integrated its Web site with its back office systems to offer any of two million holidays online, writes Guy Campos.
The agency claims to have become the first in the UK to provide this volume of choice, after commissioning ICL to design an IT system, architecture and applications.
The online booking service, launched last week, is based on six Sun E450s - three page servers, two search servers and one index server. These work behind a Sun Ultra 10 firewall server, with standard secure socket layer and Verisign security features linked to the PCEST banking system.
Bill James, director of Thomas Cook's interactive businesses, says the Web site will allow customers to buy holiday packages, flights, hire cars, hotels, foreign currency, and travel insurance from the one site. It also includes content designed to provide inspiration plus concrete destination information such as maps and weather data.
James says ease of use, security and integration with the agency's call centre are the most important issues for Thomas Cook. The agency has invested millions since going online in October 1997, and is already receiving hundreds of bookings each week from people who have visited its information-only site.
"We expect to receive much more than that now we have online bookings," says James.