Business portal – a networking website for business tourism

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Business tourism hasn’t changed much since the Internet appeared on the scene: travelling business persons make plant without taking into account the routes where their friends, colleagues and employees travel, thus wasting precious time and missing the connection opportunities even when they are not on the road.

The portal we have developed gives the business tourists an opportunity to completely alter their business trips using the concept of a “turned-in trip” and, for the first time, allowing the business-oriented people to share their travelling plans easily and instantly search for potential business connections at the next stopping point of their route – among the companies and booking service providers.

The web-based interface of the application consists of two main components:

  • A web portal for the users of desktop computers that supports all the modern browsers: Internet Explorer 6 and higher; Firefox 1.5,2, 3 and higher; Opera 9 and higher and Safari.
  • A mobile web portal that supports browsers for Windows Mobile 5, 6 and BlackBerry.

This portal is a combination of an online booking service (as, for example, Expedia) and a social networking website.

The version for desktop computers has the following functionality:

  • The users are able to create/upload the routes of their trips;
  • The users can share their travel plans with the people they trust;
  • It’s possible to create/upload a social network;
  • The users can search for contacts at their destination point;
  • It’s possible to search for users who have the same travel route;
  • It’s possible to communication with other users and agree upon meeting each other while travelling;
  • The users can get notified when their friends or colleagues arrive at their place of residence.

The mobile version of the portal has the following functionality:

  • User identification;
  • Search for contacts;
  • Search for routes created by the users of the desktop version;
  • The search can be done by starting point, destination point and the date;
  • The users can send an e-mail to the found users directly from the search result pages using the e-mail client built into the operation system.

The portal is a social networking website for business-oriented people who travel by air. Therefore, it has to look professionally (not like MySpace, Friendster or other simila sites). For this reason, for example, the user profiles don’t have photographs.

 

One of the unique solutions implemented within this project is developing an ActiveX component to export data from MS Outlook 2003 at the background. Commonly used tools of exporting data require continuously requesting access to the stored data (like, for example, e-mail addresses), which is extremely inconvenient for the user. The component we have created for this application allows working without requests or notifications