HalalTrip turned to Web Geo Services to get the most of the Google Maps APIs it relied upon, and WGS helped it to identify vulnerabilities and develop a deeper understanding of those APIs. HalalTrip also relies on WGS as its partner to leverage the APIs in a cost-effective manner when building their application features.
Built a Halal restaurant and Mosque location platform
Created the world's first-time zone-aware in-flight prayer calculator.
Achieved desired accuracy objectives for all provided features.
Doubled size of mosque and restaurant databases since the beginning of Covid pandemic.
5% web and mobile traffic growth powered by location tools each week
To understand the impact that location-based capabilities have had on his fledgling Muslim travel service, HalalTrip CEO Fazal Bahardeen doesn't have to look any further than the most basic metric of all: traffic growth.
And when he saw traffic growing 5 percent each week over 2020 on Halaltrip's website and mobile app, Fazal knows what's making that happen.
"We use a number of APIs from Google, because it's very, very important that we get accurate location information for all the key features that we need to provide," he said.
Location-Based Services Abound
Those features include what Fazal believes is the largest searchable database of Halal restaurants and mosques available to Muslim travellers, a prayer directions function, and the world's first in-flight prayer calculator.
Google's Geocoding API helps HalalTrip convert restaurant and mosque addresses into geographic map coordinates. The Places Nearby API lets HalalTrip users call up search results in their immediate area. Place Details delivers more information about specific locations, such as addresses, phone numbers and user reviews. The Timezone API enables the prayer calculator to provide accurate guidance on when to pray during a flight. The list goes on and on.
" Prayer direction, prayer calculator, finding mosques and Halal restaurants—all of these require your location. Geocoding API helps HalalTrip convert restaurant and mosque addresses into geographic map coordinates. Timezone API enables the prayer calculator to provide accurate guidance on when to pray during a flight. "
— Fazal Bahardeen,
Founder and CEO at HalalTrip
It Started With B2B
Founding a wide-ranging Muslim travel service wasn't Fazal's original plan. After a 20-year career at former French telecom giant Alcatel, Fazal Bahardeen left in 2008 to focus on an entrepreneurial pursuit, a company called CrescentRating that he envisioned as a Muslim version of TripAdvisor.
That company, which Fazal still oversees, has become an established business-to-business thought leader in educating the travel industry about the needs of Muslim travellers.
Along the way, the CrescentRating CEO acquired a little-known Web site called HalalTrip.com that published hotel reviews from Muslim travellers. By 2015, with CrescentRating having established itself in the B-to-B market, Fazal turned his attention to building HalalTrip into a consumer platform and also adding a companion mobile app.
The company started making frequent use of Google Maps APIs, but eventually, Bahardeen saw that while his team had the expertise to be able to get basic functionality from the APIs, they didn't have the time or ability to understand the deeper issues relating to the management of APIs, such as identifying and mitigating vulnerabilities.
Then came the Covid pandemic, and the bottom fell out of the travel industry. 2020 turned into a downturn for the company, with travel drying up, but Fazal made sure HalalTrip made good use of the time by restructuring its Halal restaurant and mosque databases, making it simpler to add content, as well significantly increasing the size of both.
More Possibilities With WGS
Now, as the travel industry rebounds and with nearly half of all activity on the HalalTrip platform triggering a location API, Fazal Bahardeen has turned to Web Geo Services for help in better leveraging Google Maps Platform. HalalTrip has already held training sessions with WGS on how to optimize and protect its APIs.
With its traffic growing, and HalalTrip coming up at or near the top of search results around the world for terms like "prayer direction," the company is looking to revamp its mobile app for both the Android and iOS frameworks, both of which have been updated in the last few years.
"We don’t want to build any new services until we revamp the underlying framework," CrescentRating CEO said. "Once we do that, we have a lot of other features that are in the pipeline."
And that means lots of opportunities for WGS and HalalTrip to work together, including looking at how HalalTrip can take advantage of the Woosmap Geofencing SDK.
"Web Geo Services is helping us as we grow," said Fazal. "We still haven't explored all the possible help they can provide to us, but we're looking seriously at how their services can further optimize our costs and drive additional revenue."