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Sri Lanka
  • 40/2/21, Chakkindarama Rd,
    Ratmalana,
    10390,
    Sri Lanka
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Discover.lk

Destination management & promotions website and portal.

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Sri Lanka is a country with unparalleled beauty and is known for its famous tourist attractions which attract tourists from all over the world. Also, it is known for its hospitable nature. Therefore, due to these reasons Lonely Planet has ranked Sri Lanka as the top country to travel in 2019. It is clear that Sri Lanka definitely has immense potential to attract tourists but it has not been able to make full use of its potential as Sri Lanka is not digitally ready to take tourism into the next level although a reasonable number of hotels, restaurants and hotel chains promote themselves via their respective social media sites and websites. Yet it does not mean that the nation is digitally ready as it lacks proper digital platforms to support tourism to its full capacity.

Discover was born to solve these identified problems. When we were selected to build their website we started with our discovery phase which included understanding the requirements, developing strategies, designing and planning. We realised that the platform has six main areas which includes:

  • A destination marketing website
  • Tourism listings / operator database 
  • A standalone website builder
  • Booking engine 
  • A information management portal
  • An API which support all of these components

From there onwards we started discussing what content areas we need and how to translate those to Silverstripe elements or blocks. We made use of the Silverstripe Elemental module to create these smaller chunks of content elements which collectively can form up beautiful web pages.

Tourism listings / operator database

In terms of the tourism database from the start, the plan was to accommodate about 30000 tourism operator listings, their images, content, property details and booking data. We realized that we should keep this database separate from the website in order to make a highly reliable system whilst having to use parallel servers to host the applications.

Tourism database, listings editor

A information management portal

The information portal was the other bigger module which was based on the database. We chose to use React and Material UI to build this system. React & Material UI came in handy with their own core components which could be customized easily. It saved us a lot of development time and by using a fully supported functional framework we were able to make a lot of reusable components. The application's speed was seamless and it is obvious that most of the rendering, templating was happening on the client’s browser itself which helped to save a lot of time. The database was only used as an API that facilitated GraphQL queries and mutations.

Tourism information portal

A standalone website builder

A part of the project was to enable a lot of these tourism operator listings to have their own website. This was an interesting idea as the whole of Sri Lanka is a bit behind with its digital presence. We wanted to build something very simple, fast whilst enabling us to use the same data, imagery, videos over and over. We created new data elements and a set of Elemental-like blocks and another API endpoint which can allow the micro-website application to read from. This microsite platform is about 500 lines of PHP code which connects to the API using Guzzle and it took a twig based theme with configuration options for colours, fonts etc, and rendered the complete site with multiple pages, contact forms, image sliders etc. Currently the system hosts about 25 micro-sites which are running on a cluster of servers.

Property management / Booking system

Property management is the biggest module out of all. We are still working on this part of the puzzle but steadily getting there. Each of the listings, especially accommodation listings have their own property management data. These include their room types, room rates, number of rooms, closed dates, free busy periods, etc. With these data, we are building a set of calendars for users to schedule their dates, required rooms and effectively place their bookings. The booking engine is also going to be a ReactJS application that will be available on the Discover.lk website, microsites and on any other third party website.

We are so proud to talk about our work on the website and happy to be a part of this new venture. Take a look at the website for yourself by clicking on the link below.

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