WG Travel: how to make friends gamedev and travel industry?

    The idea of ​​creating near-game services for our players has been in the air for a very long time. We have been thinking for a long time about creating a kind of “concierge service”, which will allow our audience to receive services not directly related to the game process, but at the same time it will make it possible to earn pleasant gaming bonuses.
    Of the many areas of services, we have chosen tourism. The logic is simple: every person at least once in a life goes on a trip, whether it be a vacation or a business trip. In addition, there is a fairly wide range of suppliers on the market, and we wanted to help our players choose the best tour operator quickly and without extra costs.

    Operator Selection
    The primary pool of applicants for the affiliate program was prepared by colleagues from the logistics department who organize the business trips of our employees. Since the level of service provided by Wargaming to its users in any project or game should be at the highest level, we carefully examined all the proposed tour operators and conducted a strict selection of suppliers based on the following criteria:
    • Tour Operator Reliability
    • Price range
    • Coverage of countries and tours
    • Manufacturability, etc.

    The best option was the holding of UTS Group. The name WGTravel was not long in coming. After all, what could be simpler and more understandable for our audience?).
    One of the important reasons why we chose the UTS Group was that they have experience with White Label . When deciding in favor of White Label, we were guided by the ratio of development time and cost. The technological base of the partner company suited us both in terms of functionality and terms of custom improvements. Thus, during development, the main time was spent on creating a convenient project design and setting up protocol interconnection between companies.
    Moreover, given that Wargaming has never been involved in tourism professionally (and will not do it), the decision to give the main work on the technical side to partners who have the necessary experience and professionalism was obvious.
    Moreover, UTS already has successful experience integrating its products into the websites of other companies. For example, their White label can be found on the Aeroflot website.

    Pitfalls: Gold calculation and the formation of technical support.
    The project development period from idea to launch took a little less than a year. It took us 6 months to work out and draw up agreements with partners and suppliers, about 3.5 for the technical part (creating and setting up the site), and another 2 for testing and launching the first version of WGTravel.
    During this time, we encountered a number of difficulties. Among them is the search for the answer to the main question: “How much gold should I charge?”. The calculation of the amount of game gold accrued for trips is carried out using complex mathematical formulas that take into account a variety of factors, such as the provider’s conditions, categories of the selected service, tariffs, destination, number of days, star rating of the hotel, type of transport and dozens of other factors . Certain difficulties arose in calculating the amount of gold at the stage of issuing an airline ticket. It turned out to be impossible to accurately calculate and show the amount of gold with the price: the conditions of the airline, on the basis of which the necessary amount is calculated, come only after making a reservation and getting the data into the GDS. So, the function of pre-booking airline tickets appeared on our website:

    However, the most difficult thing in launching the project was not even its technical side, not communication with tour operators, but the setting up of technical support for users. After all, two support services are involved in ensuring the smooth operation of the call center: from Wargaming and UTS. It turned out to be difficult to “make friends” with them, since in the areas of tourism and game development the technique of working with clients differs from day to night. For example, in tourism it is customary to communicate with customers by phone, and in game dev - via Skype, online applications, mail, etc. It immediately became clear that users would not want to contact different support services and would address the question in the most convenient way for them without paying attention to "specialization".
    The solution, as in all seemingly complex problems, was extremely simple. We combined support services with a Skype channel, where company employees could consult with colleagues online and quickly respond to user requests. As a result, the user does not need to spend time thinking about where and how to address his question, and he will receive an answer quickly and in a form convenient for him.

    What's next?
    Now the service offers the opportunity to purchase airline tickets or book hotels around the world. But we are not going to stop there.
    We are already developing a module for travel packages, and we are also working on conditions for the sale of train tickets: the first agreements with Russian Railways have already been established. The English version of the site is in the process of being finalized.
    In fact, there are a lot of plans, because you can travel not only by airplanes and trains. Over time, we would like to introduce the possibility of buying sea cruises, ordering excursions, guides, renting transfers, apartments, villas and a host of services that help users feel comfortable when traveling to other cities and countries.

    3 months have passed since the start of the project. More than 3 thousand people from all over the CIS visit WGTravel daily. On average, our site processes more than 5 thousand search queries for flights or hotels in various parts of the world per day.

    In order to successfully develop such services, you need to think about the audience. The desire to do something useful for customers should prevail over the other needs of the company. Only by understanding the essence of the real requirements of customers, you can build a service that users can evaluate and use with pleasure.

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