Advantage has partnered with digital media company Etv online to develop the prototype of a sophisticated website that emulates the customer’s instore experience online.
Etv online, which was also behind Thomas Cook TV, has been tasked with creating the website, which would be tailored to individual agencies’ businesses to further improve their web presence.
The site would be bookable and include extra information such as details of when to travel to destinations – traditionally information a customer would be given by an agent in a shop – as well as offering a “wild card” holiday choice that clients may not have thought of travelling to. It would include staff testimonials to personalise the online experience.
Etv online managing director Jilly Cross said: "We are not saying we can truly emulate the experience of an agency online but we would like the home page to be like the experience of walking through an agent's door."
She described it as the "Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall" approach to travel. "Whereas a normal online travel agent will just bring back the deals, this would tell you that if went to a certain destination at that time it would be monsoon season, for example," she said.
A prototype of the site has been created and Advantage sales and marketing manager Colin O’Neill said the consortium now planned to gauge interest from members who would like to have the site before developing it further .
O’Neill said: “We would like to get an order book to build it before we do so. We now want to have serious conversations with agents about it with members.”
It would be aimed primarily at agents which already have bookable sites . Currently around 50 to 60 members have bookable sites. There will be a fee for the site, but this has yet to be worked out.
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