Saturday, 17 October 2015

Car rental software - An in-depth look



1. Carhire Manager Web  - a  state of the art  car rental software

Carhire Manager Web is a state of the art, innovative, web based car rental software that maybe be used from car rental business of any size.
By utilizing the latest technologies available we managed to combine the enormous functionality of the tool together with performance and beauty through an outstanding user interface,  making Carhire Manager Web very user friendly.

The system includes the following integrated components

  • Back office with vast functionality
  • Multiple integrated websites than can be customized through the back office admin menu. I-frame ,  deep links and even SEO capability
  • CRM functionality (Client History/statistics/ Newsletters/ SMS, emails, complaint follow up system, evaluations, graphs e.t.c )
  • XML interface for connecting with partners or car rental brokers ( Already connected with TravelJigsaw, Cartrawler, MicroNexus, CarJet, Skyscanner, AutoEurope, Economy and many more)
  • Agent Portal ( for smaller agents so they can submit their bookings directly into the system)
  • Mobile Interface (deliveries, collections, days monitoring, reservations entry etc
  • Online Vehicle tracking  though Google Maps interface
  • Generic Accounting Interface





2. Car Hire Manager Web Technology / Methods

Car Hire Manager Web is a .NET 4.5-based web application built with the C # programming language in Microsoft Visual Studio environment. The system is 100% web based i.e. it can be run through an Internet browser, either locally or via the web.
Carhire Manager Web may run from any web enabled device, desktop, laptop, tablet, or smart phone.

The system uses the following techniques / methods.

  • JavaScript/AJAX
  • JQuery
  • JSON
  • SOAP ( Simple Object Access Protocol)

The system is using an Oracle database while the reports are built through the Crystal Reports engine for Visual Studio.

Through an advance and innovative use of JQuery,  Carhire Manager Web  has got a very elegant UI,  which is much similar to the  Windows desktop even though Carhire Manager Web is a fully web based application.

3. Operating Environment

Car Hire Manager Web is installed on a web server. The Web server must have access to the database server where the Oracle database reside. Carhire Manager Web uses a so-called Oracle  A.S.F.U. processor license which is included in the package. The Back office can be accessed either through the web or through a VPN network. The website must be accessible to the public on the Web.



4. Back Office.

Back office is the part of the  system where common users are doing the daily work such as the registration of reservations, rental contracts, payments,  registration of maintenance tasks on cars, registration of traffic fines, invoicing to agents, reporting etc. There is a large amount of features that covers all business processes from customer inquiry and quote  until the collection of the car.

The first thing you notice when you enter the back office is the very good looking user interface. The interface was made possible by utilizing  JQuery in an innovative way. You feel that you are working with the very familiar Windows Desktop even though you are actually working with a web application.




The system uses a variety of tools to meet the requirements of daily work. There are dashboards with "drill-down" capabilities for users and for managers, functions  for today's tasks ,  Days Monitoring panel and even individual message board for reminders to each user. In addition, the system gives automatic reminders for a number of tasks like car service, oil change, MOT , etc.






The graphical presentation of cars and reservations (Fleet chart) allows the user to read the current situation very quickly and assess the availability of vehicles for the coming days. By using the fleet chart, the user can optimize the fleet  very easily. The system graphically presents also the availability of other equipment such as GPS, child seats, etc.





Carhire Manager Web is already using  a lot of automations and  is continuously enhanced with  more automation under the ongoing development. Just to mention one example, the system can scan a driver's license s and automatically fill in the client details in customer form.  Another example is the automatic allocation of cars to bookings that may be performed  through  the fleet chart.

It also has all the necessary functions for system administration. One can, for example, add users and user groups in the system or define a variety of different system parameters. The administrator can also using the  function "Adhoc queries" in order to design instantly ad hoc reports as needed.


5. Websites

Web visitors can book their rentals through the website and pay online with a credit card. The system can be integrated with any "Payment Gateway" provided that there is access to the gateway's API. To be able to make online payments it is required to have SSL certificates.

Carhire Manager Web allows the user to build multiple integrated  websites as needed with multi language support. The number depends only on the domain names available. A website consists of an empty frame that contains the system's booking engine, which controls the booking process. With the exception of the booking engine, anything else can be adjusted as desired. Users can use the HTML editor in the back office to write their own HTML code and create their own pages  as well as adding graphics and creating layouts . It is also possible to add keywords, meta tags and other SEO related staff in order to optimize the website for search engines.

Additionally there is a capability of providing i- frames code to agents so that they can  easily insert the block of code in their existing websites and connect to Carhire Manager Web booking engine. Moreover there is a possibility of providing deep links to the website in combination with the XML interface.



6. CRM

CRM functionality is spread and well integrated in the system. One can easily view customer history and statistics, and may  send out evaluation forms to clients to make analyzes or even send SMS to customers and make e-mail campaign. Additionally there is the opportunity to follow up any complaints coming in  from customers.

Sending SMS is possible by using a third party web service provided by Clickatell (https://www.clickatell.com) which means that you can buy optional SMS package directly from Clickatell.

7. Vehicle Tracking

Vehicle tracking is a comprehensive module that contains all the necessary features to track cars online but it is also possible to run a playback i.e. check afterwards a driving route at a given time. The system uses the Google Maps API.

One can create a so-called "Geofence" and let the system send warning message (email or SMS) when exceeding a geofence. Additionally, there is the possibility to let the system send warning messages when exceeding a certain speed. The system also provides the ability for users to place on the map any number of POI (Points of Interest) for example, hotels, airports, train stations etc. In order to use the tracking system, it is required to purchase and install special vehicle tracking devices.  Carhire Manager Web has integrated Bofan products and more specifically model PT502 but integration with other devices is possible if necessary.


8. Mobile Interface

Even though the system UI is doing very well in the most devices , desktop, laptop, tablet, smart phone, etc, Carhire Manager Web contains a module that is particularly  adapted to mobile users. The module contains the main functions for checkout and check in  that takes place outside the office, for example, in a hotel.

Automation is quite important here, too, one can e.g. read a contract  via a QR code reader on a smart phone and get all the details on booking. In the same way one can read QR code on the car window and initiate the check in process, i.e. collection of the car. The rental agreement may be printed using a mobile printer.


9. XML Interface

Car Hire Manager Web can communicate with the outside world i.e. with other software via an XML interface that is a SOAP-based Web service. The XML interface is built according O.T.A. standards  (OpenTravel Alliance).

Through the XML interface,  other applications can retrieve data from Carhire Manager Web or insert  reservations in  the system automatically. The XML interface can be used by agents and or business partners, to send their reservations directly. A number of really great car hire broker on the Web, for example, CarTrawler, TravelJigsaw, Skyscanner, Carjet, Micro Nexus, Auto Europe, Economy, Titanium Systems etc. have already integrated their systems with Carhire Manager Web and send their bookings automatically.

Via XML interface is possible to  connect any existing websites so that bookings made  can automatically fall directly into Carhire Manager Web.

10. Agent Portal

The Agent Portal is a module in the system which is used by small agents in order to manually enter their bookings directly into Carhire Manager Web. Agents will be provided with login credentials and they can only have access to their own bookings.

11. Accounting Interface

Carhire Manager Web has a generic ,  not software specific, XML based accounting interface. The interface is based on a web service that any accounting software package may call in order to get data from Carhire Manager Web.

12. Security and Privacy

Besides the usual access controls that is, user ID, password and user groups, etc. there is also a central log where all operations inside the system are recorded. Many items, such as reservations, vehicles, cash book, etc. have their own history where you can see every single activity that is relative for them.

Moreover there is a  function where you can put restrictions on access, thereby allowing access only from specific IP addresses. Additionally, after a period of inactivity in the system, the screen locks automatically  and  requires  the users to re-enter their password.

Any credit card related information is encrypted with 64 bit encryption.  Encryptions is also used for other reasons in a variety of locations in the system.

13. Integration with third party products

Carhire Manager Web  is integrated with or uses the following third party  products:

·        Snapshell, Driver License scanner  http://www.acuantcorp.com/
·        Clickatell SMS Web service - https://www.clickatell.com/
·        Bofan , PT502 Gps tracking devices :  http://www.bofan.cc
·        XML integration – ePlease read XML interface section above
·        Google Maps -https://developers.google.com/maps/?hl=en


14. Summary

In a complex business environment like car rental business it is absolutely necessary to use a tool that will simplify the overall processes and make the every day tasks much easier. It requires a system that is easy to use and is cost effective at the same time, pleasant to work and  fully capable and complete when it comes to functionality. No doubt about it, this system is  Carhire Manager Web.  


For further details you may visit : www.carhiremanagerweb.com