Mashup Case Study: TooCamp – Comparison site for mobile home rentals


Convertigo Mashup Example of TooCamp

Created in 2008, and with close to one thousand referenced sites, Toocamp enables its user base to search and compare camp site rentals using criteria such as price, location, availability and equipment–with guaranteed up-to-date information. After users have decided and selected a location, Toocamp re-directs the user to that partner camping site or tour operator where the

rental transaction can take place. In addition to its search and comparison capabilities, Toocamp also offers notification and promotional services.

“Thanks to the Convertigo solution, we were able to connect with close to 1000 partners sites and launch our site very quickly.” VINCENT TOURNAL, FOUNDER OF TOOCAMP.COM

Convertigo's Enterprise Mashup Server launched TooCamp's comparison site


Brief Overview

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Activity

Comparison site for mobile home rentals.


Challenges

To guarantee reliable and up-to-date information on prices and availability, without needing to develop complicated interfaces with each referenced partner.


Solution

With the Convertigo Mashup Solution, complete and unstructured data can be pulled from partner sites on a regular basis, and formulated in a way that is clear, concise and up-to-date.


Results

By using Convertigo’s Enterprise Mashup Server to launch a comparison site that offers reliable and up-to-date stats on pricing and availability, they were able to attract 50,000 visitors per month. Toocamp has also seen a 100% commitment for renewal from their tour operator partners, and are on track to double their number of camping site references in 2010.


Challenges

To launch a new comparison site, clear and attractive sales pitches needed to be used in order to entice both partners and clients. From the beginning of the project, Vincent Tournal wanted to use a technology that would enable his site to easily integrate regularly updated information and offers so they could guarantee accurate prices and availability for their users.

While some of their large non-specialized tour operators could provide files in XML format in this market, most tour operators specializing in camping sites and other independent operators represented on the web found it more difficult to obtain information. Because their systems are so highly heterogeneous, do not necessarily have APIs, and implementation of file exchanges takes too long, it was hard to gather accurate and complete information.

In addition, the data available that describes the camping sites and the mobile homes was not standardized data. This meant it needed to be formatted to extract the product characteristics that the user needed to use as criteria choices.

Having access to reliable online data for prices and availability is an essential advantage, as their competitors cannot offer this. “There have been ‘directory’ type sites on the web nefore, but none that provide this complete information in real time,” explains Vincent Tournal.


Objectives:


  • To retrieve data from a number of heterogeneous systems that do not have APIs*.
  • To format the information so that it can extract the comparison characteristics and the choice criteria.
  • To automate the process in order to enable frequent information updates.
  • Create a simple system that does not require technical resources from supply partners.

*API: APPLICATION PROGRAM INTERFACE. A SET OF EXTERNAL COMMANDS THAT PROVIDES A WAY FOR ONE SOFTWARE APPLICATION TO ACCESS AND USE THE FUNCTIONS OF ANOTHER SOFTWARE APPLICATION.



Convertigo mashup created solutions for TooCamp



Solution

At the time of Toocamp’s creation, its founders were familiar with mashup technology and were interested in testing it within the framework of their own project. But they had to act fast, because ‘time to market’ for this type of site is critical.

The idea was simple: to capture web data published on merchant sites and implement–with the use of automated processes–regular updates for the Toocamp site. The retrieved data is formatted to isolate product characteristics and enable subsequent comparison using these criteria.

After analyzing the market, Toocamp chose Convertigo, whose solution corresponded to its technical criteria. “Convertigo was able to demonstrate its skills in this area for a real case, and do it quickly. That convinced us of the soundness of the Convertigo solution.” Toocamp’s C-EMS solution was implemented in just a few months, which led to the quick market launch of their new site.


Reasons for this choice:


  • It is a technical solution that was validated from the start by previous success in a real situation.
  • It is a non-intrusive technology that does not require IT resources from partners.
  • It provides the possibility of dynamically extracting strategic data from complex and unstructured web pages.

“The skill and diligence of the Convertigo teams have been invaluable to the startup of our site.” VINCENT TOURNAL, FOUNDER OF TOOCAMP.COM




Results

Currently, almost one thousand camping sites and tour operators are referenced on the Toocamp.com comparison site.

All implemented flows use the Convertigo mashup technology, which enables reliable and regular automation of data retrieval from the partners. Toocamp is using an industrialized implementation to retrieve data from new referenced suppliers, so all data is up-to-date, reliable and appropriately structured.

The end result is that users who use Toocamp (and click for additional information) represent a highly qualified audience for the camping site or the tour operator. This is because the user has already verified the main characteristics they are looking for and knows the price and availability of the mobile home. This is an important selling point when encouraging suppliers to become Toocamp partners.



“Our site has hit its stride and we are very happy with the solution implemented,” NOTES VINCENT TOURNAL.


As the Toocamp model has proven its relevance, the founders are launching “Lokapi” in mid-October, a new comparison site for vacation rentals that will be operated using the same principle as Toocamp. Lokapi will also employ Convertigo technology



Benefits:


Rapidity

the ability to launch of a new online service in less than three months.

 

Innovation

a significant competitive advantage as Toocamp is the only site to offer this type of service with highly reliable information.

 

Sustainability

automatic and reliable retrieval processes.

 

Agility

a system that does not require the investment of resources on the part of the supplier.

 

Client Satisfaction

real added value for the end user, thanks to the real-time update of prices and availability.