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- new infrastructure will support Lunn Poly’s consumer web site, retail shops and call centre operations

London, England – 19 November 2001 - Lunn Poly, the largest UK travel retailer and part of the Thomson Travel Group, has announced a significant investment in designing and building a fully integrated and transactional travel portal offering rich content and online bookings. This project is a key part of realising Lunn Poly’s future business strategy,

The first phase, the consumer web site, is now live, providing a comprehensive consumer web site at A new web-based selling system for its high street stores, and the company’s 1000-seat call centre in Glasgow will be introduced in future phases of the project. The project is being developed by Plato, an eCommerce integration specialist for the travel industry.

By linking the consumer web site, the call centre and the high street stores, Lunn Poly aims to create a relationship with its customers. This single view of the customer will span all distribution channels. For example some customers may wish to go to the web site to browse for holidays, use the call centre for more information, and finally visit a Lunn Poly shop to confirm the booking.

“We have spent over a year working with Plato to develop a comprehensive platform to support our customer relations,” said John McEwan, Managing Director at Lunn Poly. “Our aim is to give customers a personal service, no matter how they wish to contact us. This reflects our invitation to customers to “call, click or come in”.”

“Given our unique combination of in depth travel expertise and eCommerce experience, we believed we were an ideal fit for Lunn Poly. So we were delighted that to be chosen by Lunn Poly and given the exciting opportunity of developing a dynamic web presence for the UK’s leading travel agency chain. It was key for us to work closely with Lunn Poly to understand their business and to translate this into a technical infrastructure that would support their immediate eBusiness strategy but also give them the flexibility to deliver rapid-to-market capability and to expand in the future,” said Bob Jenkins, Plato’s Commercial Director.

The site offers an intelligent searching capability with dynamic links to a content database. Steve Jones, Plato Technical Director said, “We designed and built a dynamic java-based search engine to power the Lunn Poly website. This had to provide links to Thomson, Lunn Poly’s Tour Operator partner, for availability searching. To allow feature searching against the customer’s preferences we had to integrate the search engine with a content management system. Business rules are embedded in Java beans to automate cross selling and expand the search to ensure the nearest match”.

In future, the customer will also be able to book ancillaries such as car hire, airport parking, etc. To deliver this, Plato built a single booking engine for all distribution channels with payment processing facilities, along with security and control features. This will provide seamless interfaces to third party supplier systems for the booking and payment of ancillaries. “We developed a single booking engine in order to integrate all the distribution channels and allow Lunn Poly to exploit other digital channels in the future.” said Steve Jones, Plato’s Technical Director.

Good quality content was considered key to attracting and retaining customers and giving customers confidence in making a purchase decision. Lunn Poly wanted a content rich site that offered the customer relevant and attractive information that they could easily access and would be pertinent in helping them choose a suitable holiday. Plato used dynamic page construction technologies to generate content from Lunn Poly’s content database and other content providers. This made it easy for the customer to access content and progress from browsing to booking a holiday.

Lunn Poly wanted the customer to enjoy their shopping experience and feel confident enough to book on line. To engender this, Agent Lisa was introduced. Agent Lisa is a virtual personal assistant helping the customer by giving advice on choosing a holiday and making a booking. For this to work successfully, Plato had to create dynamically generated, context-sensitive help that linked to the functions to be performed.

Plato integrated the new web site with Lunn Poly’s back end office systems and also with their business partners” and suppliers’ systems. This has streamlined Lunn Poly’s business processes and enabled Lunn Poly to improve their on-line service and ability to convert enquiries to bookings via their web site. In addition, customer profile information will allow them to develop their customer relationship management capabilities and offer a more personalised service.

“Plato’s services have enabled Lunn to provide a new and unique buying experience for our customers. The integration of Lunn Poly’s on-line business with our offline business will improve the service we offer to our customers and increase our efficiency. This will make it easier for us to support and develop the Lunn Poly brand,” said John McEwan, Lunn Poly’s Managing Director.

Lunn Poly

Lunn Poly is moving fast to respond to the demands of customers to book holidays when, where and how they want. Through shops, the call centre, and website - and the award winning out of town Superstore, Lunn Poly can offer a seamless approach to selling holidays. Lunn Poly provides the best choice and availability selling a vast range of holidays and travel - including city breaks, world-wide flights, family sun holidays, cruising, skiing and luxury all-inclusive holidays in the Caribbean and beyond. Lunn Poly also provides a range of additional services and related products for the consumer from travel insurance and foreign currency to airport hotels and car hire.

Plato has developed strong partnerships and affiliations with leading technology companies, including Microsoft, BEA, IBM, Interwoven etc. This enables us to provide customers with a full end-to-end service and choose the best technical solution to fit their business needs. Customers include Thomson Holidays, Hotelplan, J.M.C., British Airways Holidays, BA and Norwegian Cruise Lines.

About Plato Computer Services (UK) Limited

Plato Computer Services is an independent software consultancy that provides IT services and solutions to meet organisation’s business and technical needs. Customers include Blue Chip companies such as NatWest Group, Sun Life Financial of Canada and Thomson Holidays. Established in 1984, and wholly owned by its employees, Plato employs some 250 consultants who contribute a wealth of specialist knowledge and experience across a variety of disciplines within enterprise computing.

Plato has developed strong partnerships and affiliations with leading technology companies, including Microsoft, BEA, IBM, Interwoven etc. This enables us to provide customers with a full end-to-end service and choose the best technical solution to fit their business needs. Customers include Thomson Holidays, Hotelplan, J.M.C., British Airways Holidays, BA and Norwegian Cruise Lines.

Through more than 15 years of controlled growth and consistent profitability, Plato has proved time and again its ability to deliver specialist resources or entire projects to time, specification and budget. Long-term relationships are the foundation of Plato’s success and the guarantee of both its own and its customers future.

For further information, please contact:

Mary Hennessy
Plato Computer Services (UK) Limited
01707 600700

Ray Jones
Media Link
0118 984 3386

This press release was distributed by ResponseSource Press Release Wire on behalf of Media Link (Berkshire) in the following categories: Consumer Technology, Personal Finance, Business & Finance, Computing & Telecoms, for more information visit