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From basic widget to fully fledged API – the demand for this travel platform is set to grow exponentially.

300 travel agents
2000 partnerships
1 ecstatic client

Having to concede that your online platform is not fit for purpose is undoubtedly a painful admission to make. But Damian Gevertz did just that and to say that he couldn’t be happier is definitely an understatement!

What is Widgety?

Widgety is an online content sharing platform used by the tourist industry. The unique widget based system was originally created as a central resource to share simple data on cruise liner activity along with a selection of arbitrary and custom content for subscriber viewing.

The Challenge

When Tom and Damien originally met in 2014, the Widgety system - built using Ruby on Rails, a server-side web application framework, was already 80% complete.

Sadly the system displayed some fundamental architectural problems/critical instabilities, with system crashes and rebooting becoming a regular occurrence.

As well as the technical issues Damien was experiencing, on further investigation into his longer term commercial ambitions, it was clear that the system as it stood wasn’t meeting either the needs of the business or its customers. Nor was it pliable enough to meet the demands of the industry moving forwards.

Solving the Problem

Although Damien knew exactly what it was he wanted to achieve, he was self admittedly ‘a salesman with very little technical knowledge’. For his commercial aspirations to become reality, he knew he needed to find a dynamic software engineer (and not just a traditional web developer) who could understand his aims from a business perspective, as well as advise him on the best technology to use to ensure a flexible, future proof platform.

It's really hard, when your business is software and your specialism is sales, to find an outsource company that is going to both “get what you want to do” and be trusted to deliver. Cost is a massive issue but so is getting it right. Starting out, making any decisions about suppliers has long term consequences and this was going to be our biggest cost outside of in-house staff. The problem is everyone says they can deliver but you never really know until you take that leap.

— Damien Gevertz, Managing Director, Widgety

Despite not having been presented with the least expensive option, Damian recognised that the feedback, guidance and suggestions Tom had made during their early conversations showed that he not only understood his business, but from a technological standpoint really was ahead of the game.

He had completely grasped the importance of having the right content in the right places at the right time, which would inevitably enhance the user’s experience and simplify their searches.

More importantly, the suggestion of building an API as opposed to a widget meat that additional elements could be added to the cruise data offering, including cruise liner positioning, port authority intelligence and travel agency information, as well as details on local events and promotions.

This meant the potential for increased demand was massive leading to a wider audience, healthier subscription fees and boosted revenues. Needless to say, all reservations behind the financial challenge were quickly eradicated.

A Whole New Platform

The first half of 2014 saw a complete re-build of Widgety with the first stage (Meet The Fleet) being launched in the Autumn.

Andy Harmer, Clia UK & Ireland Director and a Widgety client told us, “Meet the Fleet is an invaluable tool in helping agents answer specific queries raised by customers. I don’t quite know how we managed before without it”.

Since then, initforthe has continued to provide all of the help, support, guidance and, of course, development that Widgety so desperately needed to drive the business forward.

Working with Tom and the Initforthe team has been rewarding, frustrating, stressful and a massive learning curve. However, I still get a big smile on my face every time I load up or demonstrate a site with one of the early plugins, still working, loading quickly and looking great.

— Damian Gevertz, Managing Director, Widgety