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View Using Exception Records to Restrict Pickup Dates

Category:HWeb Dispatcher
Category:HWeb Agent

Using Exception Records to Restrict Pickup Dates


There are instances when you will wish to allow a group to book reservations in the local or web reservation systems for a specific window of time. For example, you may be providing transportation for a group of people who are attending a conference or convention for 3 days in the middle of October. You want to allow people to book reservations in the local or web systems ONLY during  the 3 days of this convention plus 2 days before and 2 days after (7 days total).   This is accomplished in the Hudson system by use of an Inverse Exception Record.  In the case of an Inverse Exception Record, rather than using the Exception Record to "Disable" a location or service, you are saying that a service or location will only be available if an exception record exists.  You need to be comfortable managing fare files, group profiles and exception records to achieve the desired result.  Here are the steps required to restrict service for a group to a specific range of dates:

(SIDE NOTE:  These instructions apply primarily to services that run on-demand and are not configured to adhere to a specific schedule.  For an alternative solution, and one that works well for scheduled services… please scroll down to the section titled  Scheduled Services - Another Option)

Sample Scenario:
There is a conference to be held in Boston Massachusetts from October 12-14.  You wish to allow people attending this conference to book travel from October 10-16 ONLY.  You have already built a group profile (ACME Business Leaders) and you have created a web portal for them to enter reservations through.

  1. Create Alternate Fare File
  2. Build & Configure Group Profile
  3. Create Exception Record
  4. Update the web (if required)
    • Upload Alt fare table
    • Upload Group Profile
    • Upload Exception Record

Create Alternate Fare File

The easiest way to do this is to create an alternate fare file for each airport you are servicing that this group will be traveling through, while attending this conference. For the scenario above, I will make a copy of my bosfares.csv fare file, and will name it bosfares-7.csv.
Within the bosfares-7.csv fare file, I will:
  • Delete locations that clients may not travel to (optional)
  • Set "Fare Table ID" = 7 for all locations (Column D / 3 in most fare tables)
  • Set "Invert (require) Exception Record" = 1 for all locations (Column R / 17 in most fare tables)
Import your alternate fare file (bosfares-7.csv) to both the local and web systems.

Build & Configure Group Profile

In this scenario, we indicated that the Group Profile had already been created. You will need to make the following configuration change to the profile:
  • Res Preferences Tab: Fare Table = 7 (to match the bosfares-7.csv)

Create Exception Record

Normally, exception records are created to disable services, airports or locations for specific dates or days.  In this case, we will be doing the reverse: you will create an exception record and will specify which airports, locations, services will be AVAILABLE on certain dates.  Whereas the Fare file you created above has the "Invert (require) Exception Record" enabled, no services will appear for the ACME Business Leaders group unless an exception record does exist, specifying that the service is NOT DISABLED.

For information on how to create an exception record, please reference the following KB Article.

Reminder: In this instance rather than setting things as DISabled, you generally want to leave things as "ENabled".   You will need to create an Exception record for EACH DAY that you want your Group to be able to enter reservations for.  In our sample scenario, you will therefore have  7 exception records, one for each day: October 10 - October 16.   For EACH of the exception records created:
  • Set the Date:  10/16/20##  (example)
  • Local / Web:  Local and Web (if appropriate)
  • Times:  Monday - Sunday,  00:01 through 23:59 (or other hours of operation)
TESTING
Once the above steps have been completed in the local system, it is best to test to ensure that all is working properly.  Open HWeb Agent and start a reservation for your Group. Begin by selecting a valid Airport and Direction.  You should see a list of Pickup / Drop off locations listed. Select a travel date OUTSIDE of the date range you specified. If your exception table is working, you should get an error when generating Fares that indicates something similar to: "Fare Calculation Failed. No fare available for date specified."

Change the date to a valid date, during the conference time frame.  You SHOULD be able to now generate fares and pickup times for this group, during that time frame.

Troubleshooting:
If no locations are listed:
  • Check the Fare Table ID in the fare file. Ensure it is listed correctly for all locations in the table.
  • Check the Fare table name. It should be in the format similar to bosfares-7.csv, where the "-7" is whatever number you have selected and also included in the Fare Table ID column mentioned in the previous tip.
  • Check your group profile to ensure that the Table value on the Res Preferences tab is the same as the  value specified in the Fare Table ID column of the Fare table, and the fare table name.
  • Re-import your alternate fare table
NOTE:  If you intentionally set something as DISABLED in the exception records created above, this will effect the remainder of your business. So, if you only want shared ride and sedan services to be available for your convention / group, you should remove fares for these services from your alternate fare table.  If you disable the other services in this exception record, they will be disabled for ALL of your normal clients!


Update the Web

Once your local system is configured and working properly, you are ready to upload and import your fares, Group profile changes and Exception records to the web.  Once the web site / portal is configured, test again to ensure that only valid dates may be booked for the group online.

Hint: Once the convention or group event is over and all travel is finished. You may consider deleting your alternate fare file from your CSV folder and removing the exception records created.  This same fare file name may then be recycled and used for another group at some time in the future.

Scheduled Services - Another Option


The steps outlined above work very well when you have a service type that is on-demand, and does not run on a set or specified schedule. If you have a scheduled service, such as airport shuttle van, scheduled bus service, or similar, and then wish to offer different or unique schedules for a particular group or portal, the following steps outline an alternative (easier?) solution.

How to check to see if your service scheduled?
Configuration > General Configuration > Fare and  Services >  Services Tab
For the service type in question, find the columns: Scheduled Arrival, Scheduled Departure

When a service is configured as "Scheduled" then the Hudson system looks for a Time Record to determine what the "schedule" should be for any given day, date and time.  The schedule itself is created using the Time Record Configuration Tool.

Step 1:
Create a Time Record (ex:  Time Code =XX)
Description: Service Disabled
Type: Specified Times
Time Entries (NONE)

Step 2:
This time record would allow a pickup anytime from 6AM to 6PM (i.e. on demand)
Create a Time Record (ex: Time Code = T66)
Description:  6AM to 6 PM
Type: Range
Time Entries:
  • 06:00
  • 18:00
Step 2A:
This time record allows pickup times on the hour, from 6AM to 6 PM.
Create another Time Record (ex: Time Code = T01
Description:  Hourly Pickups
Type: Specified Times
Time Entries:
  • 06:00
  • 07:00
  • 08:00
  • 09:00
  • 10:00
  • 11:00
  • 12:00
  • 13:00
  • 14:00
  • 15:00
  • 16:00
  • 17:00
  • 18:00

Step 3:
Add Time Records to Fare File
 If you have been following the example scenario outlined at the beginning of this article, you would need to open the bosfares-7.csv file.  For each location in the fare file that you will be providing the scheduled service for (ex:  Hyatt Harborside Hotel) locate the column labeled Time Schedule Record ID (typically column 32 / AG) and insert a string with the following format:
<Default TimeRecord - disabling services>;<New date / range>:<New Time Record>

Ex:  If our desire is to disable the scheduled service for this group for all dates, EXCEPT October 10-16, 2010, we would use the following string which will allow any desired pickup time from 6AM to 6PM:


XX
;10/10/2010-10/16/2010:T66

  • XX - sets the default times for all dates = Disabled
  • 10/10/2010-10/16/2010 - defines a new date or date range to use
  • T66 - sets the new time(s) to use for the specified date / range
Strings may also be used together to allow varying schedules. For example, if on the first 2 days and last 2 days of our event, we want to allow pickups on the hour only, but for our middle 3 days we will allow unrestricted travel, our string would now look like this:
XX;10/10/2010-10/11/2010:T01;10/12/2010-10/14/2010:T66;10/15/2010-10/16/2010:T01

You will see from this last example above, you can create as many time records as desired, and needed, to control the delivery schedule of your services.  

Once you have your Time Records and fare file configured, dont forget to upload them to your web reservation site where the custom portal exists!

 

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