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 “4th Source wears all the hats we need for everything technical. At the end of the day, the cycle time and getting it right is really the crux of what 4th Source does best.”  ~ Chicke Fitzgerald, Solutionz CEO

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About Solutionz - Rethinking How to Book Travel with TripPlanz

The interesting thing about travel today, is that people still do most of the work during the booking process. Most of us think booking is efficient with so many options online, but according to Chicke Fitzgerarld, CEO of Solutionz, that’s not the case.


What happens when you have to travel for a meeting, concert, sporting event, wedding, or something more urgent like a hospital visit or funeral? The way the travel industry works is that all of the hotel systems are city-centric or airport-centric. They try to get you to tell them the closest hub, but never ask you where your true destination is. You end up having to figure out the details of where to stay and how to get there.

Solutionz has turned that model upside down. They partnered with 4th Source to create a one-button search widget, TripPlanz, that plugs into the systems of hotels near your company, venue, or event. Imagine buying a ticket to a concert, and, instead of going to search for a hotel some time later, you’re immediately given the option of booking a room within close proximity to the venue.

TripPlanz offers secure booking of air, car, and hotel travel. They also have a low-price guarantee for hotel rooms, and provide 24X7 services for travelers in over 40 languages.

The Challenge - Overcoming An Identity Crisis

Solutionz built their original product back in 2007. By the time they were ready to relaunch in 2014, technology had changed dramatically. They needed a technical partner who could bring them up to speed, and guide them in the transition from B2C to B2B.

The Solutionz team first approached 4th Source when they were hit with a crisis. Their hosting was shut down by another vendor, and they were dead in the water with clients. With the help of 4th Source, TripPlanz was operational again in less than 48 hours.

“To me, that was the first test of [4th Source’s] skills and integrity. They could have said, ‘No. It’s going to take us weeks to figure out what’s going on and resolve it,’ but they didn’t. Fearlessly, they jumped in.” ~Chicke Fitzgerald, Solutionz CEO

Consultative Advisors Guiding the Way

Under the guidance of 4th Source, Solutionz was able to map out their digital strategy, realizing that it would involve more than a simple product revamp to satisfy B2B customers.

Solutionz was able to step back and reflect, understanding that a repeat of past methods would lock them into a B2C model. Chicke, with many years in the travel industry, knew that it is cost-prohibitive to have that kind of business, and decided to create a B2B toolset.

“Our first talks with 4th Source sparked us to go back to the drawing board and redesign what is now TripPlanz.”

Solutionz wanted to extract a widget from their initial product, and make it highly portable. 4th Source helped them achieve that portability by ensuring the widget would integrate with popular online platforms such as WordPress and HTML websites. 4th Source also provided a product plan layout with a self-service portal.

One Technical Partner to Handle Multiple Tasks

A challenge for any entrepreneur is to decide whether or not to hire someone to fill key roles. It can be a struggle to find a tech partner that is balanced and agile.

Solutionz looked for a partner who could handle architecture, user experience and who could explain the best way to move forward with strategy to push off entries to partners; Priceline.com, Booking.com and Agoda.com. 4th Source enabled Solutionz to quickly serve customers with same-day implementation.

“We needed a technical partner who knew how to plug-and-play with many different environments. Our product isn’t a standalone island. It really touches many places, and that’s why 4th Source was perfect for us. Where my skillset leaves off, theirs picks up. 4th Source wears all the hats we need for everything technical.” ~Chicke Fitzgerald, Solutionz CEO

Outsourcing Advice from Someone Who's Tried it All

Chicke is no stranger to outsourcing IT, having worked with various models in multiple countries. She shared her experiences and concerns with 4th Source as they started problem-solving:

“We had been through many different options. We had a company in India build the first version of the product, and we dealt with many cultural issues. They were so incredibly literal, that, no matter how I phrased something, if an element was missing, they never understood the nuance.

We also worked with folks who employed a team in Belarus. There were time zone issues of not being able to talk to each other when needed. The wait times added up.

The 4th Source nearshore model was very appealing because the time zone issue was solved, and they spoke English really well, which paid off in terms of getting projects done faster. We had a cultural understanding with communication and also with technical intent.

4th Source was also much cheaper.

"At the end of the day, the cycle time and getting it right is really the crux of what 4th Source does best. I would absolutely recommend 4th Source to anyone who needs a high level of resources. I can’t think of any technical task that they can’t handle.”

 

 

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