Sapphire Group to build online booking engine for Europe's largest apartment reservation service

Sapphire Group's to develop complex web enabled applications to integrate 3rd party inventories and enable global multi-channel accommodation sales

(PresseBox) ( Connecticut, )
The Apartment Service, the UK's first company to offer global apartment reservations and Europe's largest apartment booking company, has selected Sapphire Group to provide it with a bespoke online reservation service that combines front and back office functionality with web based distribution.

Sapphire Group will use its proven onshore offshore methodology to develop a new web-site which will provide functions to search for an apartment and, for the first time, check the availability in real time and then book the accommodation. For apartment owners the new inventory management function will allow high volume owners to use an XML feed to automatically pull information from their existing reservation systems as well as low volume owners to manage their inventory manually via The Apartment Service's extranet.

The new website will be unique as it will enable The Apartment Service to market multiple apartments with real time availability information to its customers.

The current website offers over 1,000 locations worldwide. Its work with Sapphire Group will make the site more interactive, responsive and immediate. The new web-site is due for completion in Q4, 2007. The site will be designed in such a way as to provide all the functions that could possibly be needed by customers, suppliers and affiliates. A future phase to connect to Global Distribution Systems will start in Q1, 2008.

The benefits to The Apartment Service include:
- developing multiple sales channels
- streamlining operations
- increasing profit margins
- enhancing service
- lowering drop-out rates

The Apartment Service has awarded Sapphire Group the contract as Chris McCrow, Project Leader, from The Apartment Service explains: "We needed a team with core database and web services skills. By outsourcing development to Sapphire Group's Russian team and maintaining day to day contact with Sapphire Group's UK team, we gained the best of both worlds: the right skill set at the right cost."

Andy Rose, Project Manager, Sapphire Group, added: "We are delighted that The Apartment Service has joined a number of companies seeing the value in our onshore offshore business model. In terms of The Apartment Service, our project will offer its suppliers and customers wider choice and flexibility, whilst maximising the company's operational efficiency."

About The Apartment Service
The Apartment Service is the largest booking agent for serviced apartments in Europe. In 2007 the company celebrated its 26th anniversary. It was recently crowned "Best Serviced Apartment Company 2007", at the Buying Business Travel Diamond Awards and offers more than 700 locations of serviced apartments worldwide.

Founded in 1981, The Apartment Service offers stays of one night, one week, one month, or even a year, in fully furnished and serviced apartments.
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