The general objective of the TIM project is the provision of a Europe-wide network of services supporting the direct marketing of tourism products. TIM services can be viewed under two categories; Point-of-Offer and Point-of-Sale.
Point-of-Offer Business Objectives.
The point-of-offer organisations in TIM include tourist boards, hotels, tour operators and sports events (1994 Winter Olympics). Their objectives include: increased control of product development and marketing, direct marketing to point-of-sale, ability to target specialised marketing to different customer sectors, distributing high quality multi- media information for the description of complex products and product differentiation, and being able to distribute updates and last minute offers at any time of their choice.
Point-of-Sale Business Objectives.
Point-of-sale organisations in TIM include travel agencies, a national automobile club and tourist boards. Their objectives include: obtaining access to a larger range of product offers, having access to more appealing and accurate product descriptions with efficient browsing facilities, the ability to add value at point of sale and thus to extend their own product range, streamlined booking of complex multi-vendor products, the integration of business and leisure markets and a more efficient sales process.
The main objective of the research was to implement multimedia information services to support direct marketing links between hotels, tourist boards, event organizers, and point of sale companies such as travel agencies, and the independent planning and purchase of tourism and travel products by customers at point of sale.
The aim of the developed service is to enable hotels, tourist boards and event organizers to create and update multimedia promotional information and to distribute this viapublic networks to local, regional, and national databases of their choice. Travel agency staff will be able to retrieve and display the multimedia information to their customers during holiday transactions, and also to converse with personnel at destination sites.
The key issues in the research include the agreement of the user companies to the implementation plans, the design and implementation of a distributed multimedia database system, and establishing an effective profile within the tourism industry including good relationships with existing service providers.
A TIM User Group (17 members) is established to provide the customer focus for the project. The TIM User Group evaluates technical developments, services operational phases, provides a forum for agreements on information standards, and provides a user company "interface" to other tourism organisations/European bodies.
The project plan follows a traditional structure of: User Requirements, Functional Specification, Architecture, Business Case Analysis, Implementation, Operation, and Evaluation. All these phases are fully documented for the terminal, database, gateway, and network components.
Key issues for the application centre on establishing the international basis for the commercial relationships which the TIM services will enable, e.g. information description standards, commercial negotiation procedures between point-of-offer and point-of-sale, and the provision of appropriate, reasonably priced, international broadband network services.
The TIM services will provide the first user-driven international marketing system. There is no central publisher and integration of new marketing information in the public database takes place automatically when chosen by the marketer. This greater flexibility is expected to lead to a major increase in international commercial relationships, in particular between SMEs, and consequently a high demand for international broadband at reasonable tariffs. The TIM model is product generic and encompasses evolution to domestic point-of-sale.
GU1 3DP Guildford
BT9 5NW Belfast
BT1 1NB Belfast
W1A 1EB London