COACH operators are starting to realise the distribution benefits of the Internet, according to the creator of a coach company Web site.
Llew Jones, managing director of Web design and hosting company Sennet, said at the end of 1998 there was very little excitement when he sounded out coach operators about plans for his new Web site coach-hire.uk.com
Companies doubted whether the extra distribution channel would make any difference to business.
Nine months on, a host of operators have signed up to have links to the site including Kings Ferry, David Palmer Coaches, Warrens Coaches and Johnson Coach Travel. Jones said more are in talks about creating stand-alone Web sites.
As well as providing a base from which to direct customers to individual coach operator sites, coach-hire.com.uk also lists around 4,000 coach operators for free on its pages.
For the coach hire trade there is a password-protected section which allows access to areas which the public do not have rights to. The trade-only section includes a forum page link for the exchange of information. Suppliers and manufacturers can also advertise in this section by name and categories.
Jones said: "Coach operators are finally starting to realise the benefits of the Internet and we are talking to some big players now.
"At first people were a bit hesitant but then things like free Internet providers started happening and the Government made it clear it was supportive of e-commerce.
"I think that changed people'sattitudes."
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