An Innovative Taj Hotel Reservation System

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Abstract of Project

The growth of the Internet has led to a critical mass of companies and consumers participating in a global on line market place. Many Internet terms have become part of people's everyday language and e-mail has added a whole new means through which people can communicate. By the turn of the century, information, including access to the Internet, will be the basis for personal, economic, and political advancement. The popular name for the Internet is the information superhighway. The pace of change brought about by new technologies has had a significant effect on the way people live and work worldwide. New and emerging technologies challenge the traditional process of teaching and learning, and the way education is managed. As internet technology has improved, so have online reservation systems. Today, it is possible through online, to make a reservation for a hotel anywhere in the world. Hotels can create Web site and post new content on it every day. Technology has gone a long way, improving the lives of people. These technological breakthroughs have lots to offer, making great things in the easiest, fastest and efficient possible ways you can think of. Online hotel Reservation is very useful for the people especially for socials that they can now easily reserve a room in a hotel through online Internet. Easy worldwide communication provides instant access to a vast array of data. This benefits both consumers and organizations as described below.

Benefits of online reservation system

Service Benefits for Hotels:

In summary, your website needs an online reservation system in order to provide an instant room confirmation service to your website’s visitors – hopefully turning them into bookers!

Will it increase my online bookings?

Certainly! Imagine that before there would be emails going back and forth for several times before the guests know if you have rooms available and at what rates, or you would like to offer them something special, then it would be another round of back and forth email communication. With an online reservation tool you simply short-cut this process and making it simpler for your website visitors to make a decision to reserve your hotel rooms from your own website.

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What about efficiency?

By introducing this online reservation system, you simply increase your efficiency in providing quick and accurate confirmation to your guests. There is no more waiting time! You can also eliminate the problems of time-difference and minimize the human errors by giving wrong information with email confirmation. For those that plan to introduce B2B bookings, this is an excellent way to manage your inventory and to gain higher yield. Our consultant will be happy to provide you with more information on how to implement this.

More profits?

Yes, you could aim for that. But certainly, this will have to come from careful planning and successful implementation. By installing online reservation system alone does not guarantee that your hotel will be filled up by bookings coming from your own website. You need to also implement an online business strategy. By becoming our hotel partner, we will provide you with consultancy and online solutions to ensure that your hotel will be doing well with more online bookings!

Benefits of using online reservation system:

  • With a web booking engine facility available on your website, you are 100% certain to close a deal with your prospective guests.
  • You provide a more professional service.
  • Not having to reply to each email to confirm each reservation with your guests hence saves your time. It reduces costs!

Benefits of online reservation system to organisations

International marketplace: What used to be a single physical marketplace located in a geographical area has now become a borderless marketplace including national and international markets.

Lower telecommunications cost: The Internet is much cheaper than Value Added Networks (VANs) which were based on leasing telephone lines for the sole use of the organisation and its authorised partners.

Digitisation of processes and services, where the particulars can be downloaded or e-mailed directly to customers via the Internet in digital or electronic format.

No more 24-hour-time constraints Businesses can be contacted by or contact customers or suppliers at any time.

The UML (Unified Modelling Language) is used to sketch the blueprints of the system. The evolutionary development with prototyping is used as the system development methodology and object oriented system design is used to design the system. For the system development Macromedia Dreamweaver is used and XHTML, Cascading Style Sheet, and Java Script and PHP are used as the development languages of the system. Handling the database of the system is carried out using the MySQL.

List Of Acronyms

  • ADSL – Asynchronous Digital Subscriber Line
  • CD ROM - Compact Disc Read Only Memory
  • CSS - Cascading Style Sheet
  • DB – Data Base
  • DBMS – Data Base Management System
  • GB – Giga Byte
  • GHz – Giga Hertz
  • GUI – Graphical User Interface
  • HTML – Hyper Text Markup Language
  • HTTP – Hyper Text Transfer Protocol
  • IDE – Integrated Development Environment
  • IT – Information Technology
  • LAN – Local Area Network
  • MB – Mega Byte
  • MS - Microsoft
  • My SQL – My Structured Query Language
  • OO – Object Oriented
  • OOP – Object Oriented Programming
  • OS – Operating System
  • PHP – Hypertext Pre Processor
  • RAD – Rapid Application Development
  • RAM - Random Access Memory
  • SDLC – System Development Life Cycle
  • SQL - Structured Query Language
  • UML – Unified Modeling Language
  • URL – Uniform Resource Locator
  • WAMP – Windows Apache MySQL PHP
  • WAN – Wide Area Network
  • WWW – World Wide Web
  • XML – Extensible Markup Language
  • XSLT – Extensible Style sheet Language Transformation
  • UML - Unified Modelling Language  
  • URL - Uniform Resource Locator
  • WYSIWYG - What You See Is What You Get

Motivation For The Project

With developments in the Internet and Web-based technologies, distinctions between traditional markets and the global electronic marketplace-such as business capital size, among others-are gradually being narrowed down (McMullen and Gray, 2012). The name of the game is strategic positioning, the ability of a company to determine emerging opportunities and utilize the necessary human capital skills (such as intellectual resources) to make the most of these opportunities through an e-business strategy that is simple, workable and practicable within the context of a global information environment and new economic environment. With its effect of levelling the playing field, technology coupled with the appropriate strategy and policy approach enables small and medium scale enterprises to compete with large and capital-rich businesses.

Current scenario is customer has to visit the place to check the room availability. This is a burden to customer. Online Hotel Reservation is a system basically involving the reservation of hotel rooms online through internet.

Objectives And Scope Of The System

The client desires to have a system which enables his existing and potential customers to experience the web based system without needing to presence to the workshop (Baresi, 2007). Customers can remotely logon to the web and search for available rooms as required and reserve the rooms. By using this system client expects to get more business to his company. Thereby increase of revenue, indirect promotion and keep customer loyalty.

Objectives

  • Develop a system to give all product related information before placing the order so that the customer can customize the requirement.
  • Provide a way to the customer to check in which stage his order progressing.
  • Allow client to get customer feedback
  • Manage orders for management decision making.
  • Keep customer records for later retrieval.
  • Tracking the payments.
  • Enable to handle the available room and effectively.
  • Enable to generate management reports on client’s request.

SCOPE

  • On-line search for hotel reservation option.
  • Calculate the amount for the room check-in and check-outs.
  • User can check the room availability.
  • Prepare necessary report for the review.
  • Check customer feedback of satisfaction.
  • Provide an on-line user registration.
  • Maintain customer, check-in, check-outs, inventory, and payment records.
  • On-line trading the framed pictures at the auction.
  • Administering the system by the client

Facts Gathering Techniques Used

Certain techniques are appropriate in gathering customer needs, while other techniques are most helpful in defining high-level and detailed requirements, or validating detailed requirements with the stakeholders.

Identifying the requirements correctly is the most important part in system analysis phase. If the client's requirements are not gathered and defined accurately the whole project will be meaningless, since gathered requirements will not reflect what the client actually wants (El-Attar, 2012). It is a fact that most projects fail because of the lack of understanding of the system requirements. To avoid failures in the future, it is recommended to use a well structured requirement gathering techniques based on the environment.  
Following are the methods which used to gather requirements in the proposed system.

  • Meetings and Interviews with responsible persons such as manager and employees. Meetings are held face to face as well as over the phone.
  • An interview with stakeholders was helpful to elicit or validate needs and requirements.  An interview includes one or more stakeholders (Pigott and Hobbs, 2011).   
  • Inspecting company documents and reports eases the process of understanding how the manual system works.

Difficulties In The Current System

There are several difficulties that the company is currently facing in the daily business routine when providing services only through a physical storefront and a manual system.

  • Customers from the different geographical and distant areas tend to visit the hotel.  
  • The burden for the customers is that the room availability is not known prior.  
  • Currently Taj Hotel does not have an online Reservation System.
  • The company does not have any information about their customers and their Interests.

Non-Functional Requirements Of The System

Non – functional requirements are the features, characteristics, and attributes of the system as well as any constraints that may limit the boundaries of the proposed solution (Bajgoric and et.al., 2002). It is essential to fulfill both functional and non-functional requirements to have a working and successful system as the end result. Because of that a better understanding of non-functional requirements is a must.

Flexibility – This system must handle a wide range of customers form wide range of geographical area, so that it can be used for a variety of areas of interest.

Reliability – The system should run without any failure and the service should be reliable and fast (Gardner and Pinfield, 2001).

Security – user permissions are achieved by using varying user privilege levels.

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User-friendly and attractive GUI

User interaction - Most websites are expected to have numerous points of interactivity, for example visitor feedback.

Accuracy – The system should always provide correct and up-to-date information to the customers.

Extensibility - This provides for a straight forward design allowing for future expansion via the addition of custom modules. (E.g. can include the payment thro mobile phone SMS, offers for regular customers).

Selecting a Development Approach

A system development methodology refers to the framework that is used to structure, plan, and control the process of developing an information system.  A wide variety of such frameworks have evolved over the years, each with its own recognized strengths and weaknesses (Raza and Standing, 2010). One system development methodology is not necessarily suitable for use by all projects.  Each of the available methodologies is best suited to specific kinds of projects, based on various technical, organizational, project and team considerations.

The SDLC (System Development Life Cycle) mainly used approach that has stages and deliverables. When comparing these two approaches, even the development time of Ad – hoc approach is lesser than the SDLC, the maintenance will be much difficult than the SDLC (Yang, 2003). Therefore, the SDLC is more suitable for the development of this system than the Ad-hoc approach.

System Development Life Cycle

The system development process is a set of activities, methods, best practices, deliverables and automated tools that stakeholders use to develop and maintain an information system.

The System Development Life Cycle (SDLC), a development process of an information system, is a collection of phases that starts with a set of user requirements which produces a system that satisfies specified user requirements at the end (Badii, 2004). SDLC consists of several phases and those phases can be mentioned as follows.

  • Concept Formation – Initiate the project work, define the problem domains and boundaries, generate detailed project schedule and guarantee the project feasibility.
  • Requirements Analysis – Understand the problem domain and system requirements by consulting the system users, use fact finding methods to find requirements, prioritize gathered requirements, generate and evaluate alternatives (Guan, 2005).
  • Design – The structure of the system is designed by using appropriate tools and techniques according to the requirements gathered. The graphical diagrams and textual description models of object oriented system design approach or structured design approach are used to design the system. User interface designing is also performed during the phase. Creating test plan and designing test cases are done within the phase.
  • Development -In development phase the actual system is developed according to the design structure which was done in the previous stage.
  • Testing – Testing is conducted in development phase and implementation phase by using the test plan and test cases which was produced in the design phase. Unit testing, module testing, integrated testing and systems testing are conducted (Narsesian and Nicholas, 2005).
  • Implementation – The validated system then implement at the client environment and further testing is carried out (user acceptance testing).  
  • Maintenance – The implemented system is maintained and updated for some predefined period according to the client’s expectations.

Though the SDLC approach consists of phases, how to execute these phases is not mentioned. Therefore, software process models are used which describes how the execution of the above phases is done.

System Development Models & Methodologies

  • Project is divided into sequential phases, with some overlap and splash back acceptable between phases (Sallans, Soule and Gilbert, 2010).  
  • Emphasis is on planning, time schedules, target dates, budgets and implementation of an entire system at one time.  
  • Tight control is maintained over the life of the project through the use of extensive written documentation, as well as through formal reviews and approval/signoff by the user and information technology management occurring at the end of most phases before beginning the next phase.

Iterative Model

  • Not a standalone, complete development methodology, but rather an approach to handle selected portions of a larger, more traditional development methodology Incremental, Spiral, or Rapid Application Development (RAD)).   
  • Attempts to reduce inherent project risk by breaking a project into smaller segments and providing more ease-of-change during the development process (Arvin, Bondoc and Atienza, 2013).  
  • User is involved throughout the process, which increases the of user acceptance of the final implementation.
  • A basic understanding of the fundamental business problem is necessary to avoid solving the wrong problem.

Incremental Development

In the Incremental Development the entire system is broken up into sub systems and furthermore implements these sub systems separately. Each stage is built up using a linear approach. Each sub system can be developed separately from other sub systems and therefore the development of sub systems can perform simultaneously (Cervone, 2007). Thereby it makes the development process faster.

User requirements are prioritized and high priority requirements are included in early sub systems. This approach is more suitable for large and complex systems development. By using the approach, the user is able to view a limited working system as soon as possible.

Rapid Application Development

  • Key objective is for fast development and delivery of a high quality system at a relatively low investment cost.
  • Attempts to reduce inherent project risk by breaking a project into smaller segments and providing more ease-of-change during the development process (Raza and Standing, 2010).
  • Aims to produce high quality systems quickly, primarily through the use of iterative face Prototyping (at any stage of development), active user involvement, and computerized development tools. These tools may include Graphical User Interfaces (GUI) builders, Computer Aided Software Engineering (CASE) tools, Database Management System (DBMS), fourth-generation programming languages, code generators, and object-oriented techniques.  
  • Key emphasis is on fulfilling the business need, while technological or engineering excellence is of lesser importance.  
  • Active user involvement is imperative (Wrosch, 2005).  
  • Produces documentation necessary to facilitate future development and maintenance.

Evolutionary Development

During the incremental development, each stage focuses on a particular process whereas in evolutionary development each cycle focuses on particular section of work. Evolutionary development combines both incremental development and prototyping. The system is developed continuously. After a part of the system is developed, more knowledge is gathered from the operation of the developed part.

Prototyping

Sometimes defining how the real world requisites are translated into a working computerized system is somewhat difficult. The prototyping approach provides a better understanding and overcomes ambiguities which are possible at the requirements analysis phase. Prototyping can be used to clarify user requirements in imprecise systems, which means systems which contain requirements which are not or cannot define clearly.

Database Design

Database for this online hotel reservation system can be developed through relational database. With help of this tool all records related to either customer or hotel are effectively arranged in a table where column consist of different fields and row consist of each record. There are different tables designed for this system such as guest table, room table and reservation table. These tables are made to store necessary information of guests, rooms and their availability. Designing is first step in implementation of database as SQL statements can be provided in SQL server if decision regarding selecting schema is made. The main objective of implementing database is that it ensures database security and integrity.  There are various points which must be considered while designing a database such as:

  • Purpose of database and its affect on design should be taken into consideration for achieving goal through database plan.
  • In order to prevent mistakes regarding database design, normalization rules should be measured.
  • Protection against data integrity.
  • Requirement of security regarding user permissions and database must be considered.
  • Size of database should be estimated.
  • Balance should be achieved between hardware configuration and size of database for improving performance of application.
  • Tools must be selected in order to maintain database.

Customer Database

Customer information, such as name, address, and phone number e-mail addresses are obviously important, and this program keeps these details. Beyond that, the system keeps the record of frequent users and provides some offers to them.

It also has the ability to sort customer data by any of those parameters for marketing purposes (Halpin and et. al., 2011). And it gives the priority for the Golden Customers this program can export the data to prints mailing labels directly.

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User Interface Design

GUI will make use of menus and picture icons to ease navigation. Effective and unobtrusive use of color, combined with a consistent page appearance and the ability to create customized graphical themes, will make for a good understanding.

The importance of good user interface design can be the cause for a product success or a failure at the end (Puntambekar, 2010). If end users feel it is not easy to understand or use, it would lead to a product failure. Good user interface design can make a product easy to understand, learn and use, which ultimately results in greater user acceptance.

Choice Of The User Interfaces

There are several aspects that should be taken into consideration during the user interface designing.

  • The consistency should be remained, which means comparable operations should be activated in the same way.
  • User guidance should be provided by giving meaningful feedback and client side data validation (Luck and Lancaster, 2013).
  • The interfaces must be user friendly, helpful, tolerant and the user should be happy and confident to use it.
  • Interfaces should provide minimal surprise; users should never be surprised by the behavior of the system.

After studying the standard design strategies of user interface designing and the application domain, it was decided to use Graphical User Interface (GUI) Strategy for this system.

Usage of GUI is the most popular and common way of interacting people with computers. Since they are relatively easy to learn and use, users with no computing experience can also use the system after a short period of time. It will reduce the memory load on the user (Rajala, Westerlund and Möller, 2012). There are multiple windows for system interaction where the user can switch from one task to another without losing sight of information generated during the first task. Fast and full interaction is possible with immediate access to anywhere on the screen.

XAMP Server

XAMPP is a web server. It is very easy to install Apache Distribution for Linux, Solaris, Windows and Mac OS X. The package includes the Apache web server, MySQL, PHP, Perl, a FTP server and phpMyAdmin.

PHP

PHP is an open source software. PHP is a server-side scripting language, like ASP, PHP scripts are executed on the server. PHP supports many databases (MySQL, Informix, Oracle, Sybase, Solid, PostgreSQL, Generic ODBC, etc.)

MySQL

Microsoft’s SQL Server is mostly limited to the professional market where businesses will run their own web servers complete with corporate software licenses (Baresi, 2007). If we used this database most amateur developers would not be interested in using our software as there are free alternatives elsewhere.

  • MySQL scales up very well to allow for many concurrent users. This is because MySQL handles basic database functions extremely efficiently  
  • MySQL database is the world's most popular open source database because it’s fast performance, high reliability, ease of use, and dramatic cost savings.

Structural and Functional Techniques

  • Structural analysis-based test sets uncover errors that occur during “coding”. Structural testing ensures sufficient testing of the implementation function and should be used in all phases of the life cycle. Intent of structural testing is to assess the implementation by finding test data that will force sufficient coverage of the structures present in the application (Narsesian and Nicholas, 2005). It evaluates that all aspects of the structure have been tested and that the structure is sound.
  • Testing Comprise of
  • Preparation of test plan
  • Review requirement documents
  • Designing High level test cases
  • Review high level test cases
  • Designing detailed test cases
  • Execution of test cases  
  • Report test results

Functional analysis-based test sets uncover errors that occur in implementing requirements or design specifications. Functional testing ensures that requirements are properly satisfied by the application system (Sallans, Soule and Gilbert, 2010). Functional Testing is called “Black Box” testing because no knowledge of the internal logic of the system is used to develop test cases. Functional Testing uses validation techniques.

Verification And Validation

Verification ensures that the system complies with an organization’s standards and processes, relying on review or non-executable methods. Most verification techniques are static tests. Static Testing is performed using the documentation, no code is executed. Data can be validated by using various types of checks such as data type, length, blank field, constraints and format. These validation checks are described below:

  • Data Type  For validating character String type is used, int is used for numeric and date is used for date type rather than numeric field. In order to precede further data entry problem must be fixed such as character should not be filled in numeric field and integer must not be filled in string field.  
  • Length It is necessary to define length of both numeric and character as database doesn’t accept more words.  
  • Constraints  If range of data entered is less than error message is displayed. For example: In case of password, data must be relevant as asked by administrator.
  • Format  Pre defined format such as data, must not be changed by user and message should be displayed if entered wrong.
  • Constraints in web design  User must be able to operate designed pages easily and consistently. Customer need not to any programming language in order to access information from web site.

Validation physically ensures that the system operates according to plan by executing the system functions through a series of tests that can be observed and evaluated. Most validation techniques are dynamic. Dynamic Testing requires the code to be in an executable state to perform the tests. 

“Black box” test cases are based on customer requirements (Anckar and Walden, 2001). I start by looking at each customer requirement and make sure that every single customer requirement has been tested at least once. Black Box Testing types such as:

  1. Functional testing
  2. Regression testing
  3. Acceptance testing

Acceptance Testing

Web Based System for Taj Hotel was fully tested in the real environment using real test data. Set of users of the Company were selected for test the functionalities of the system. For each user, a list of tasks was given to perform the functionalities. The test showed that the system was user friendly and can be employed in efficient and effective manner. Overall achievements of this project were pleasing and it was felt that all the objectives of the project have been met.

The feedback from user testing was mostly positive with just a few suggestions for improvements. The feedback and suggestions contributed for making several good improvements to the software was definitely a very valuable experience.

References

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  • Guan, O. H., 2005. Design and Implementation of a Web-based Online Hotel Reservation Management System. California State University.
  • Halpin, T. and et. Al., 2011. Enterprise, Business-Process and Information Systems Modeling. Springer.  
  • Luck, D. and Lancaster, G., 2013. The significance of CRM to the strategies of hotel companies. Worldwide Hospitality and Tourism Themes. 5(1). pp.55–66.
  • McMullen, A. and Gray, B., 2012. From static to dynamic: Using the OPAC to generate real-time lists of departmental acquisitions for library current awareness service. Library Hi Tech. 30(4). pp.673–682.
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  • Pigott, J. D. and Hobbs, J. V., 2011. Complex knowledge modelling with functional entity relationship diagrams. VINE. 41(2). pp.192–211.
 

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