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Methodology Of Dicta Travel Agency Information Technology Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Information Technology
Wordcount: 5447 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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ABSTRACT

Thousands of people travel by air; Dicta Travels provides low-fare air transportation service among 38 cities in Nigeria. Although the industry suffered a major blow since the terrorist attack of September 11th, the company is still holding strong; while other travel agency companies are in debt.

According to the acquired knowledge of Dicta, the company maintains steady sales. The major success to their continued success is due to their low-cost model and competitors are aware that they cannot match Dicta Travels low prices therefore, by dropping the price even lower; Dicta Travels can force a company to go bankrupt.

INTRODUCTION

In 2006, I (Kenneth Nwagboso), started a travel agency service with one simple notion: “If you can give your passengers airlines that can get them to their destinations when they want to get there and on time, at the lowest possible fares, and very sure they had a good time flying, people will fly through your travel agency frequently.” he was right about that, now Dicta Travel agency is now a major travel agency, in fact, the third largest travel agency in Nigeria and its reputable for its low fare airlines and customer vacation ideas. Dicta travels have then decided to improve their services by introducing e-business as their strategy to gain competitive advantage over other agencies and so that the company can grow internationally.

THE MISSION

Dicta Travels mission is to deliver the highest quality of customer service with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and company spirit. It primarily provides short haul, high-frequency, point-to-point, low-fare air transportation service among 38 cities (38 airports) in the Nigeria.

Here are some numbers that will give a brief idea how the company is operating: Net income: =N=241 million Total passengers carried: 63 million Total RPMs: 45.4 billion Passenger load factor: 65.9 percent Total operating revenue: =N=5.5 billion. There is a 13% insurance raise for the travel agencies and the government is enforcing fees regarding security problems. The operation cost increases dramatically and there are less people traveling by air. Most of the travel agencies are losing money except a few and Dicta travels is one of those travel agencies which have remained profitable.

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The organization of Dicta Travels is described as an upside-down pyramid. The upper management is at the bottom and supports the front line employees, who are the experts. This is Herb Kelleher’s unorthodox leadership style, in which management decisions are made by everyone in the organization, not just the head executives. The company is described to not have much emphasis on structure; instead employees are encouraged to think freely without constraints such as titles. Kelleher, for example, is said to know the names of virtually all his employees.

Dicta Travels is characterized as a C-corporation with duration distinguished as a normal perpetual existence. The shareholders are not normally liable for debts of the corporation and they preserve an operation that is normally more structured, requiring more meetings and (in some states) more reporting requirements. Management is very centralized through the board of directors (elected by the shareholders) and the officers (elected by the directors). The corporation is taxable entity, although the income which would normally be taxed at the corporate level can normally be paid out in salaries (and in other deductible ways) so that there is in fact no tax at the corporate level. As far as transferability of interest, it is normally fully transferable and raising capital is in the choice of public companies.

Dicta Travels values employees, initiating the first profit-sharing plan in the southafrica travel agency industry in 2008 and offered it ever since. “In 2008, Dicta offered its employees a record-setting =N=138M in profit sharing. This tax-deferred compensation represented an additional 14.1 percent of each employee’s annual salary.

PROBLEM DEFINITION.

A travel agency company only accepts bookings from authorized travel agencies, situated in towns throughout Nigeria. There is a computerized central booking system at the company’s head office in Abuja. However, all transactions at the travel agencies are currently hand-written on special forms.

Travel agents, working in the travel agencies, use printed timetables to answer customer enquiries. These timetables are updated by regular distributions from the company head office, sent by courier. Customers enquire about the availability of bookings, which are checked by a travel agent telephoning Abuja. Customers may make a provisional booking, which is valid for three days, and they will be given a written quotation for this. A customer making a firm booking must pay a deposit at which time they receive a booking confirmation slip. Provisional and firm bookings are made by travel agents over the telephone to Nigeria. Full payment must be made by the customer at least one week before the date of the journey. Tickets are only issued when full payment has been made; these are printed at the head office and sent by first-class post to the travel agency. The management of the company has decided that it would be more efficient to have on-line systems in the larger travel agencies, directly connected to the central booking system.

These agency systems will allow: provisional and firm bookings to be made directly; tickets to be printed at the travel agencies; and the central timetable to be accessed directly by travel agents, avoiding the need for distribution of timetable updates. The managers of travel agency branches have expressed concern that yet another booking system will cause them major problems unless it runs on hardware that they already have for airline bookings and other tour operators.

The systems in the travel agencies will have to be simple to use and robust, providing guidance at every stage of use and on-line help. High reliability of the communications between a travel agency and the head office is of vital importance to the business. Since the information transmitted from the head office for ticketing contains special booking codes, security of data transfer is an important consideration.

This led to the concept and conclusion of designing a website that will provide all these functions, reduce paper based booking and enable bookings and confirmations to be done from anywhere and everywhere to satisfy their customers and ensure an increase in their customer base.

METHODOLOGY OF DICTA TRAVEL AGENCY.

In order to explore Dicta Travel agency’s corporate structure, the method in which we obtain our information is a critical component in our mission. Therefore, this analysis describes a methodology that utilizes Dicta Travel agency’s official website to attain background history, company particulars and financial statistics. In addition, the library’s electronic journals, business research databases (Wall Street Journal, Business Week) and accredited search engines on the Internet such as Yahoo! are also major resources for our investigation in conducting a fundamental SWOT analysis and acquiring information regarding the company’s main competitors and customers.

Our research will not be limited to just Dicta Travel agency, our research involves Boeing 737 as well as a few of the opposing companies. Research on these additional topics will be specific, material that pertains or assists in elaborating our recommendations for the company of Dicta.

Results According to the attached figure covering the past four years of Dicta Travels’ financial progress, they have maintained steady net sales. In 1999, they had total net sales of =N=4,735 million which had risen to =N=5,585 million. Their slight drop in 2002 to =N=5,521 million was due to the September 11th incident. However, this is nothing compared to other major travel agency industries where they have lost so much more. Many have even gone bankrupt and been forced to close down. In fact, Dicta Travels was the only major US air carrier to remain profitable since then; albeit Dicta Travels were affected by the poor economic conditions. Few of their main competitors are Continental Travel agencies and American Travel agencies. Substitute products include the train (Amtrak) and bus (Greyhound) which cover long distances. While these alternates cannot offer the speed of travel, most of Dicta Travels’ customers are attracted to the low price.

Suppliers include those who provide service/products necessary for Dicta Travels to their business function. For Dicta Travels, suppliers include mechanics (and other maintenance people), providers of fuel, food (the snacks that are offered). The suppliers do not have much bargaining power.

Customers include both residential and commercial sectors. There is no bargaining power for customers, as there is no threat of backward integration; it is unlikely that customers of Dicta Travels are going to build their own airplanes and fly themselves.

Rivalry among competitors sets the price-Dicta Travels is a discount travel agency. Rivalry is increasing, as the market decreases, and competitors downsize, the competitors become more or less equal in size and capacity. This means that as economic conditions worsen, competitors downsize and then compete for the same remaining market.

The threat of new entrants is low, the demand is not high. On top of that, there are hurdles, not necessarily the greatest; the Federal airport authority. Government regulations and restrictions imposed on those involved in this industry. Such would be government sanctions consequent of international issues.

At a glance, the company’s source of competitive advantage is its low price tickets. Most of its customers are people who are willing to forego in-flight meals, direct routes and fancy seats if that would mean for a cheaper ticket. Not to imply that Dicta doesn’t provide direct flights, but that is offered at a higher price. Dicta Travels was in better shape than its competitors after recent attacks on September 11 for a simple reason: their low-cost model.

Terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center had a devastating effect on the travel agency industry, particularly because the instrument of destruction of these attacks was hijacked airplanes. The public lost faith in the travel agency industry immediately following September 11th, and for many travel agency companies this meant going into severe debt or even declaring bankruptcy. Even after some time, the majority of the travel agency industry experienced lower profits and massive downsizing. However, for smaller companies like Dicta, they were able to turn a profit and were in a more enviable position than the larger counterparts.

INTERFACE DESIGN.

(INDEX PAGE)

SOURCE CODE.

“http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/loose.dtd”>

Dicta Travels – Home

Currency:

Languages:

  • Home Page
  • Insurance
  • Hot Tours
  • Business Reward
  • Contact us
  • >

    Seniors

    Connections

    Our recruitment Policy:

    Unfortunately we don’t accept any CVs through recruitment agencies, no matter how much you ask. we have nothing against recruitment agencies, in fact some of our best friends are recruitment consultants but don’t be sneaky and start mailshotting us or begging over the phone. It’s soooo undignified.

    Dicta travels is committed to being an equal opportunities employer and we do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion or belief, colour, sex or sexual orientation, age, physical or mental disability, nationality, ethnic or national origin. All matters related to employment are decided on the basis of qualifications, merit and business need.

    Dicta Travels is the largest, most innovative and most successful supplier of air travel services in the Middle East. Whether we’re dealing with a travel or cargo agency, an airline principal or the leisure traveler, emphasis is constantly placed on innovation, quality products and service excellence. Dicta Travels is defined as expansion, innovation, commitment to the customer and the pursuit of excellence

     



    Paris, France


    Agia Napa, Cyprus


    Maldives

  • Home Page |
  • Insurance |
  • Hot Tours|
  • Business Reward |
  • Contact us
  • Copyright ©. All rights reserved. Design by Randy Nwagboso

    INSURANCE PAGE.

    BUSINESS TOUR.

    BUSINESS REWARDS.

    DESIGN SPECIFICATIONS.

    1. GOALS

    When designing the Dicta Travels web site, here were the goals I had in mind:

    A. PROVIDE A “PUBLIC” HOME PAGE WITH INFO FOR EXTERNAL VISITORS

    Only include content that makes sense to external visitors.

    Make the appearance clean and uncluttered.

    Include attractive graphics, but make them small so that the page will load quickly even over slow connections.

    Include items in the center of the page for prospective students and faculty.

    Include a link to the CMPS home page.

    Use real text in the sidebar, rather than gif or jpg files that contain images of the text.

    Organize the sidebar items in some logical fashion, and keep them in alphabetical order where possible.

    Try to make it clear what each item on the page means.

    B. PROVIDE A “LOCAL” HOME PAGE WITH INFO FOR PEOPLE IN THE DEPARTMENT.

    Include all the links that appear on the external page. In addition, provide things local users need.

    Provide direct links to everything (rather than requiring users to go through other intermediate pages).

    C. Visual design:

    I will provide a uniform look-and-feel for all pages on the site.

    Use colors compatible with the UMD logo (red, yellow, black, white), but try to create a more attractive page design than what I’ve seen on most of the university’s web pages. (If you think I’ve succeeded, let me know!)

    Make the pages usable even on small (800-pixel-width) screens.

    Try to make the page layout work for multiple web browsers and multiple platforms. One useful trick is to specify fonts and font sizes in style sheets rather than inline, and to use point sizes rather than pixel sizes.

    D. Maintenance:

    Try to clean up the directory structure for the site.

    Use modular structure for page elements, to facilitate updating of the pages.

    Design the pages for distributed updating by the various departments.

    Try to make it easy to edit the pages with both Dreamweaver and text editors.

    2. Maintaining the Site

    My main tool for building the new site has been Dreamweaver, a tool that is widely used to build and maintain commercial web sites. Randy has agreed to buy our staff copies of Dreamweaver for use in maintaining the site.

    In anticipation that some people may still want to use text editors to maintain the web pages, I’ve tried to make the site as independent as possible of Dreamweaver’s special features. However, one thing that needs to be done differently than before is version control. On the old web pages, version control was done using rcs. On the new pages, it needs to be done as follows, depending on whether you’re using Dreamweaver or not:

    If you’re using Dreamweaver, it will happen pretty much automatically — Dreamweaver will mirror some of the site on your local machine, and will automatically create lock files on the server so that two people won’t modify the same file at the same time.

    If you’re using a text editor, you’ll need to do the following:

    Create a lock file on the server manually (e.g., “foo.html.LCK” if you want to edit the file “foo.html”). The lock file needs to contain your real name, account name, and email address, in the following format:

    This isn’t as convenient as doing it in Dreamweaver, but it should be easy to make shell scripts that will create and delete the .LCK file for you. Once someone has created these scripts, the new process should be no more trouble than using rcs’s “co” and “ci” commands.

    Here are the advantages and disadvantages of the above approach:

    With rcs, it’s a pain to update files if your home machine isn’t one of the department’s Suns — and it also is easy to forget to check out a file before working on it. Looking through the old site, I saw several instances where people had modified files without checking them out first — and I know of at least one case where this caused a file to get updated incorrectly. For those of you who use Dreamweaver to maintain the new site, I’m hoping this problem will go away.

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    The biggest drawback of Dreamweaver’s approach is that it doesn’t archive old copies of the file, the way rcs does. If we’re lucky, this won’t be too much of a problem in practice. If you use Dreamweaver, you’ll be debugging files on your own machine before uploading them to the server — so if you need to restore an old copy of a file and you haven’t uploaded your new copy yet, you can get the old copy from the server. If you upload your file to the server and then discover that you need to restore the old one, you may be able to get a copy of the old file from another user’s machine. If this becomes much of a problem, we should be able to create a croon program that runs once a day and automatically creates rcs copies of any file that has been modified since the previous day.

    SERVER-SIDE INCLUDES.

    The new site uses server-side includes for the banner, sidebar, and various other elements. This means that each page name needs to end with “.shtml”. The one exception is the external home page, which is “index.html” — I didn’t want to change its name, because I didn’t want search engines or people who had bookmarked our page to lose it. To avoid changing the name to “index.shtml”, I put (at Evan Golub’s suggestion) a .htaccess file in /fs/www that contains “Redirect /index.html http://www.cs.umd.edu/index.shtml”. From conversations with the systems staff, I understand that the content of the .htaccess file this may need to be modified to fix a problem with virtual hosting; if so, I’ll try to remember to update this document to reflect that.

    All of the included files (except for those that existed prior to the new site) end with the suffix “.lbi”. The reason for this is that I had originally created them as Dreamweaver “library items,” and I didn’t change their names when I made them into server-side includes. In principle, these files could still be used as Dreamweaver library items, but Dreamweaver doesn’t seem to recognize them as library items unless they’re in /Library — a directory that we use for the departmental library instead. I regard this as a bug in Dreamweaver, and intend to report it to Macromedia.

    TEXT IN SIDEBARS.

    I’ve seen a number of web pages in which the text in the sidebar is done using images rather than real text. That’s good for getting a layout that looks the same across many different web browsers and platforms. However, I think it’s important to use real text, so that users can search the sidebar using their browser’s “find” command.

    For the text in the sidebars, I tried to choose fonts and font sizes that would look reasonable on many different browsers. It took a huge amount of effort to get this to work properly, and I’m still not totally satisfied with how it turned out — but I think it’s now close enough that we can live with it. The reason why this was a problem is that the same font-size specification will produce different-sized characters, depending on each of the following:

    whether one is using Netscape or Explorer;

    whether one is using a Mac, Sun, or PC;

    Which PC one is using.

    To try to solve this problem, one approach would be to use JavaScript to figure out exactly which browser one is using (there’s code available for this on the web), and to choose the font size based on that knowledge. However, I wanted to solve this without JavaScript, for two reasons:

    the JavaScript code is somewhat complex, and there can be problems getting even simple JavaScript code to work correctly across different web browsers;

    some people (including me on occasion) do their web surfing with JavaScript turned off.

    Instead, I used the following code (yes, I know it’s a kluge!) in the header of every page, to get Netscape to use one style file and Explorer to use another:

    In the two style files, I tweaked the font specifications until the fonts looked more-or-less acceptable on many different machines. If you look at the contents of the files, you might notice that the font sizes are specified in points in netscape.css, and in pixels in explorer.css — this is deliberate.

    NO FRAMES.

    I avoided using frames in the new web site (except that I kept the ones that perlcal generates for the departmental calendar). Our old home page used frames, but after receiving several complaints about this, I came to the conclusion that frames are a Bad Idea.

    NO CAPITAL LETTERS IN MOST PATHNAMES.

    The old site had a number of capitalized file names and directory names. My preference is to avoid such names. In the new web site, I have used lower-case names for all of the new files and directories that I created — however, I have left some of our pre-existing directories capitalized in order to keep from breaking URLs that people may have bookmarked externally (e.g., /fs/www/Library/TRs and /fs/www/Grad).

    NO DREAMWEAVER TEMPLATES, NO DREAMWEAVER “LIBRARY ITEMS”. Dreamweaver allows one to create “template” files and “library items” that can be used as the basis for other files. This is convenient if you’re using Dreamweaver, but not so convenient for anyone to edit using an ordinary text editor. Thus, to keep things easier for people who don’t want to use Dreamweaver, I’m not using them (however, see my note about .lbi files earlier).

    GETTING THINGS TO LOOK OK ON MULTIPLE WEB BROWSERS.

    It’s very tedious to do page layout in html. The language was not originally intended for graphic design, and it’s hard to get any kind of complicated page layout to look good in more than one web browser at the same time. One example is the problem with font sizes that I mentioned earlier; there are also several other similar problems. If you create a page in which and want to include it as part of the departmental web site — and if you’ve used anything other than the defaults for your fonts and page layouts — then you probably should test it under multiple browsers and multiple browsers, preferably including both Netscape and Explorer on Suns, Macs, and PCs.

    INTERVIEW CARRIED OUT WITH Mr. Ahmed Nwagboso of Dicta travel agency.

    ATN: How long have you been a travel agent and why did you choose this career?

    I’ve been in the business for 4 years because I’m a people person and enjoy dealing with clients and helping them out with their travel plans. I love my job! As a child I moved around the world with my parents. I think that had a lot to do with my interest in the travel industry.

    ATN: How long have you worked at your present company and what attracted you to the position?

    I’ve been working for Dicta Travels for 4 years now and I feel my background working for Jet Set tours in Los Angeles, California, made the job very easy for me. Of course, this is a completely a different market, but at that time, the company needed someone with knowledge of western and North America travel industry.

    ATN: What areas of travel does your agency specialise in?

    Corporate and leisure travel. I manage the leisure side. This is what I enjoy and I can use my experience.

    ATN: What areas of the business are performing particularly well at the moment and why?

    I would say business travel because Nigeria is the centre of banking and investment Africa and they (the people who work in these sectors) need to travel at all times, particularly on premium classes. Leisure travel is also doing well as Nigeria is an island and for every public holiday, people like to travel for short breaks, particularly during the summer and New Year holidays.

    ATN: What travel trends are you noticing?

    Travellers want the best value for their money and they usually know what destination they want to go to. The internet has been very helpful in this respect. They don’t really care what airline they travel with as long as it is low cost and there are no stops along the way.

    ATN: What are the biggest challenges of working in a travel agency?

    I would say competing with online rates as people go online and find direct offers. They often wan the same deal from us.

    They don’t realise that there are so many restrictions on internet offers and sometimes it is a scam and they lose their money using their credit card online.

    They should know they get a personal service from their travel agent at all times and if things go wrong, their travel agent will be there for them and help them out.

    ATN: What future do you think African travel agents will have, bearing in mind the growing popularity of online travel?

    I think there is no worry for travel agents in Africa as people in this region do not feel comfortable booking online. They want the personal touch of the travel agent, particularly for last minute bookings.

    ATN: How will you continue to grow your business in the future?

    With good customer service and value-for-money holidays packages. This is why i would like to have my business online and hook up with customers all over the world as i plan to extend my agency to different countries in the world.

    APPENDICES.

    SAMPLE SURVEY FOR OUR ORGANIZATION.

    What three words would you use to describe this organization to a friend?

    1. __________________________________

    2. __________________________________

    3. __________________________________

    Is this your first visit to our organization? ____Yes ____No

    If no, how many times do you usually visit each year?

    ____Less than once a year ____2 or 3 times ____4 or 5 times ____More than 5 times

    Would you recommend it to a friend or relative? ____Yes ____No

    Are you a member? ____Yes ____No ____In the past, but not now

    Have you ever visited this organization for any of the following activities?

    (Check all that apply)

    ____A special event ____A guided tour____Our gift shop ____A film ____Restaurant or cafe

    Other (specify) __________________________________________________________

    What motivated you to visit our OFFICE today? (Please select three choices in rank order. A

    Ranking of “1” indicates your first choice, “2” your second choice, and “3” your third choice.)

    ____a. See a particular exhibition. Which one (specify)______________________________

    ____b. Attend a particular program. Which one (specify)_____________________________

    ____c. Visit the entire OFFICE

    ____d. Take advantage of a free admission day ____k. Entertain out-of-town visitors

    ____e. enjoyed a past visit

    ____f: Conduct research/do a school assignment ____m. Other (specify)____________

    What would encourage you to come back to this organization? (For e

     

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