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O N L I N E T R A V E L P U B L I C AT I O N S Evaluating the design of four major travel information publishers websites

F R O M M E R ’ S frommers.com L O N E LY P L A N E T lonelyplanet.com ROUGH GUIDES ro u g h g u i d e s . c o m WANDERLUST wa n d e r l u st . c o . u k


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C O N T E N T S 3

Introduction

7

Market Situation

10

Navigation Data and segmentation

13

The objectives of Website Design Design priorities Website goals

16

Online Value Proposition

19

Customer orientation Usability Search engine Marketing Metatags

26

Dynamic Design and Personalization

27

Aesthetics

28

Page Design

31

Navigation and Structure

33

Interaction

35

Analysis and conclusion

36

References


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MESSAGE FROM THE EDITORS ABOUT US We are the GMP team, a group of three marketing and business students at Bucks New University. We have been working together in the last two months on this project about digital technologies.

ABOUT THE REPORT

Marcello Belometti

The aim of this report is to analyse, compare and critique the websites of four organizations operating in the sector of travel publications looking mainly at website design and secondly at online marketing and traffic building . The four website selected are:

1. 2. 3. 4.

www.frommers.com www.lonelyplanet.com www.roughguides.com www.wanderlust.co.uk

The four websites have been chosen on the basis of 3 main criteria: • Google.co.uk natural listings related to the keyphrases “travel publications”, “travel magazines” and “travel guides” • Traffic received from the queries “travel publications” and “travel guides” on search engines according toAlexa.com. • Direct competition among the organizations controlling the websites and similar target markets.

Giovanni Fila

Phoebe Scott


Introduction

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FROMMER ‘S www.frommers.com With over fifty years of providing authoritative travel information and high quality recommendations to global travellers, Frommer’s is firmly established as the most dependable name in travel today. Frommers.com is an essential online destination for those

Frommer’s Homepage

planning the perfect travel excursion. Not only can Frommer’s visitors easily find candid, timely articles written by Frommer’s experts, they also can read excerpts from and purchase Frommer's Guidebooks, while gaining additional insights from lively message boards and purchasing travel products and services from booking partners. Frommers.com mission is to empower today’s

traveller through trusted travel editorial and welcome them to

Frommer’s community of travellers. According to frommers.com 90% of the website users are planning a trip and/or making travel-related purchase decisions when they visit Frommers.com, providing an ideal place to deliver your message to active travellers.


Lonely

but also increased its

include more mainstream and affluent travellers. Planet range also Lonely Planet's online includes hardback community, the Thorn photography books, food Tree, is used by over guides, city guides, 600,000 travellers for travelogues, diaries and trade tips and advice. calendars, language The Lonely Planet guides, walking guides website includes blogs, a and guides covering an groups platform, the area of interest in more ability to rate and review detail, for example a sites and restaurants, as Volunteer Travel guide or well as a Trip Planner a National Park guide. tool.

LONELY PLANET Planet online presence greatly. www.lonelyplanet.com homepage The current Lonely Owned by BBC Worldwide, Lonely Planet is one of the larger guide book and digital media publishers in the world. It publishes about 500 titles in 8 languages, as well as TV programs, a magazine, mobile phone applications and websites. In 2009 Lonely Planet began publishing a monthly travel magazine In the UK called Lonely Planet Magazine

Introduction

Over the years, its target audience has expanded from budgetconscious backpackers to

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Introduction

5

ROUGH GUIDES www.roughguides.com Owned by the Penguin Group, Rough Guides publishes travel guides covering more the 200 destinations worldwide. Initially, the series was aimed at low-budget backpackers. The Rough Guides books have incorporated more expensive recommendations since the early 1990s, Much of the books' travel content is also available online.

Rough Guides Homepage

In 1994, the first ever non-travel Rough Guides books were published – The Rough Guide to World Music and The Rough Guide to Classical Music. The success of these titles encouraged Rough Guides’ expansion into other areas of publishing to cover a range of reference subjects, including music and topics such as film, literature, popular science, ethical living, plus the Internet and related subjects such as

e-Bay, blogging and iPods. Rough Guides are also on TV screens with Five’s successful Rough Guide to… series and they have also migrated to digital platforms with the launch of Rough Guides Mobile, and downloadable travel podcasts, podscrolls, and e-books.


WANDERLUST wanderlust.co.uk

Wanderlust reviews, comment and Homepage

“There are many magazines that cover travel, but only one that is dedicated entirely to the needs and aspirations of the special-interest travel consumer.�

jobs for adventurous and independentminded travellers. Online members can share their travel experiences, photos and videos in the myWanderlust section of the site.

Wanderlust is an awardwinning magazine for people who are passionate about travel. Wanderlust.co.uk is the website, providing the latest news, features,

The Wanderlust website has been relounched in July 2010, and is growing rapidly. Not only do many Wanderlust magazine

Introduction

readers visit the site, but tens of thousands of other users too. As of January 2011, the number of registered users alone was 56,000.

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Market Situation

MARKET SITUATION

7 MARKET SIZE

92.7 million holidays has been taken in 2010 in the UK, 37.7 million have been bought For the past five years holidays purchased online, as a result more than 43% of online have consistently increased as a share domestic and overseas holidays in 2010 have of the total, both for domestic and overseas been sold online. breaks. In addition, consumers are increasingly going online while away, a trend particularly facilitated by the rise of internetoptimised mobile/portable devices.

Both domestic and overseas holidays online fell in 2010 (in volume and value terms), reflecting decreases in both segments across the overall market but the percentage of online holidays has grown constantly in the last 5 years and it is likely to grow over the Across the 2006-11 period the wider trends next 5 years according to forecasts. affecting the volume of holidays also What are the reasons behind this trends? influenced the number of holidays bought online. In 2009, the fall in the number of ISSUES IN THE MARKET overseas holidays and the rise in the number Factors effecting online holidays sales of domestic breaks were mirrored online. However online share of holiday purchases Positive factors: has consistently increased year-on-year, both •Broadband penetration is still growing in the domestic and overseas segments. •ABs – will grow by 6% in the five years According to the tourIsm analysis Tom Rees, improved internet infrastructure, Negative factors: demographic trends, developments in •Household income shrinkage technology and online innovation all indicate •Pound performs poorly that this growth will continue. •Concerns over online data safety


Market Situation Broadband penetration

8 Which are the main reasons?

The government has announced that it is aiming for 90% of the UK to have ‘super-fast’ • Real incomes (adjusted for inflation) fell 2.7% in the 12 months to the end of March broadband by 2015 2011, a drop unmatched since 1977 Increasing access to fibre-optic cable- • Fuel prices, one of the two main provided broadband, growing geographic contributors, along with food, are set to rise broadband reach and the surge in internet (suppliers have already announced that access via smartphones are all positives for increases are coming) and inflation is not holidays on the internet, with growth in expected to fall in the next six months. penetration and increased market share for online bookings. The demographic segments currently least likely to book via the internet through lack of access/use (for example older, less affluent consumers) are increasingly online and comfortable with using the web

THE OPINION OF THE EXPERTS Through LinkedIn we asked few travel industry sector experts their opinion concerning:

Household Income shrinkage Consumer confidence rose in May 2011 but remains at its lowest level for almost 20 years. consumer spending fell 0.6% during the first quarter, the largest drop since the second quarter of 2009.

- The overall travel market situation at the moment - The impact of the economic downturn on the travel industry - How can the travel information websites revitalize the travel sector?


Market Situation

9

Tony Ridley: International Consultant | Kevin Turner: Manager - Creative and Business Intelligence | In-Bound Marketing Document Services UK&I at Ernst & Young. | Travel Management | Security | Director at Business Consulting Services “I think the economy right now is the biggest Companies. concern for the travel industry. Too many people are struggling with there day to day expenses “The travel industry is facing a long that it cuts down on the discretionary spending. overdue reconciling of accounts in the More and more people are taking small sense they have failed to adapt to modern "weekend" trips closer to home than taking the business practices and have defaulted big vacation in a "fly to" destination. Travel much of their current online sales to online suppliers are being forced to offer great deals to travel agents, rather than evolve get people to travel. themselves. This is a good thing. As for travel info websites, they can not alone Unfortunately, only those that adapt the revitalize the travel sector. Websites can only fastest survive a crisis in evolution. give facts about a certain destination. If people Furthermore, the outdated information want a truly remarkable vacation they should cycle, the same as newspapers, is coming trust in a travel professional, one who is an to an end for most in the travel industry. If expert in the kind of travel they are looking for. its not news from this week or today, it A true travel professional specializes in a certain won't capture new business and engage segment of the travel industry. they know that customers. They need to create their own segment in and out and can recommend the channels for engagements and serve up best vacation destination that fits the lifestyle of fresh and relevant content on a daily or their client.” weekly basis. Those that do this first and do it well will be rewarded and those that don't will fall even further behind.”


Navigation Data and Segmentation

NAVIGATION DATA AND SEGMENTATION SECONDARY RESEARCH Younger adults (16-24 and 25-34-yearolds), those in the ABC1 socio-economic groups, Londoners, those that choose independent holidays and high earners are the most likely to book holidays online. C2DEs are less likely to do so and people in households with low income and older adults (aged 65-plus) are least likely to do so, reflecting the lesser likelihood to be online. ABs, people with children and pre-/no family lifestage members are the people more likely than average to book overseas holidays. seven in ten 16-24-year-olds and seven in ten ABs did so in the 12 months ended April 2011, above the average of 57% across the population. The visitors of the four websites analyzed tend to be mainly childless women but according to Mintel demographics have little impact on booking online include gender and the presence of children in the household.

10 bounces (one pageview only). Search engines refer approximately 32% of visits to the site Lonely Planet Approximately 56% of visits to this site consist of only one pageview Compared with all internet users, Lonelyplanet.com appeals more to women; its visitors also tend to consist of childless, highly educated people the ages of 25 and 35 who browse from work. Rough Guides 15% of its audience is located in the UK. The fraction of visits to the site referred by search engines is roughly 30%, and visitors tend spend roughly two minutes per visit to the site and 46 seconds per pageview. Visitors tend to consist of childless, highly educated women between the ages of 16 and 35 who browse from work. They are interested in cultural, wildlife and outdoor activities therefore they are receptive to new frontiers and new products.

Wanderlust The visitors are diverse – ranging from 16- to 35-year-old single people seeking activitybased adventure holidays to mature, emptynesters looking for soft-adventure and cultural Frommer’s experiences. Compared to the internet average, visitors 95.8% of visitors are ABC1s; 60% are ABs so you tend to consist of 25 to 34 years old know they can afford quality. women with no children and high 96% of readers are active travellers spending education who usually browse from work. weeks or more travelling each year. They take Roughly 57% of visits to the site are around250,000 trips a year between them.


Navigation Data and Segmentation

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several pages related to travels and other A ten-question survey has been carried out significant online travel publishers such as through Facebook. The link has been posted National Geographic, Fodor’s, Virtual Tourist, on the walls of the Facebook pages of the four Let’s Go Travel Guides, Footprint Travel Guides and Adventure Travels. 36 respondants. websites considered in this report as well as

PRIMARY RESEARCH


Navigation Data and Segmentation

12 Over

65+ 55-64 3% 8%

once a month 6%

45-54 11%

Never Once a

month 24%

35-44 8%

16-24 59%

25-34 11%

Once a

year 62%

What is your age range?

Low cost airline company websites 38%

Scheduled airlines 11%

2

3

4

How often do you travel abroad for leisure?

RESULTS AND ANALYSIS

Online Travel travel compariso agents n websites 20% 20%

Directly from the magazine/ publishing website 11%

1

8%

5

Once you have found your chosen holiday destination, where do you go to purchase your tickets?

Crossing the results of secondary and primary research is possible to indentify a clear market segment to target. 70% of the survey respondents are young people aged 16 to 34 equally divided in terms of gender. This result is in accordance with secondary navigation data. 92% of respondents travel abroad once or more a year highlighting the active lifestyle of people interested in travel publications but only 15% have purchased their holidays directly from those websites. 49 % of respondents visit travel websites one ore more times a month while 33% of them upload photos and add comments to travel forums.


The Objectives of Website Design

THE OBJECTIVES OF WEBSITE DESIGN

13 DESIGN PRIORITIES

The business objectives behind a website define the priorities of web design. The primary aim of a company website is 3 different types of websites can be defined on the to fulfill the business objectives set out base of their objectives: by the company itself. Creating a great user experience is a Transactional e-commerce website: the main mean to this end. A good user business contribution of the site is through sale of experience will make customers look products and services. favorably on the website and take Service-oriented Relationship-building website: actions that will generate the returns Provides information to stimulate purchase and that a company wants. build relationships. Generates enquiries or leads Satisfied users also provide many other from potential customers. benefits: they are considerably more Brand-building website: provides an experience to likely to recommend your services support the brand. becoming brand advocates and they are more patient when things occasionally go wrong. Enthusiastic users can also WEBSITE GOALS become valuable volunteers sharing ideas about how website and products Business objectives determine the goals of a site can be improved being more valuable from the company perspective but the customer that focus groups. point of view must be considered to determine function and content of a website. There are 3 main business objectives a So what is the purpose of a website from company can fulfill trough a website: customers perspective? How can a website help its customers? Customer Retention: keeping customers through user-generated and Help them buy something they need - Sell personalized content, e-mails and offers. Help them find information - Serve Customer Acquisition: converting Help them to save money - Save visitors into customers on site Help them to talk to the organisation - Speak Customer Extension: Selling other Help them to enjoy a great web experience - Sizzle products and services to the same customer


The Objectives of Website Design

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The four sites analyzed can be defined as service-oriented/ relationship-building websites as they provide a considerable amount of information and they offer the possibility to join huge communities of people sharing the same interest about travels (right: Wanderlust personal profile) On the other hand, each website shows clear different features: Frommer’s, Rough Guides and Lonely Planet are focused on ecommerce providing a wide range of products and services while Wanderlust is focused on customers’ community experience

Serve: all the four sites try to provide a great web experience and seek customer satisfaction therefore they help them find information and keep them up to dated through articles, news and blogs as well pages on the most used social networks, newsletters and feeds. (below: Lonely Planet “social bar”) Sell: while Wanderlust is focused on providing a satisfying web community to its offline magazine readers, the other three sites have a well-provided on-line shop.

Frommer’s offers mainly travel guides and books while Rough Guides and Lonely Planet provide a wide range of travel services including flights, gear and travel packages. Speak: Rough Guides lacks of a onsite community while the other sites offer the possibility to sign up and be an active member sharing comments, experiences, pictures and videos. Wanderlust periodically survey its visitors to improve the website. (left: Wanderlust user survey 2011)


The Objectives of Website Design Frommer’s – Quality content With over fifty years of providing travel information and high quality recommendations to global travellers, Frommer’s is established as one of the most dependable name in travel. The founder Arthur Frommer, an authority in the field of travels, still runs a blog (below) as well as other guides editors regularly provide insights.

15 Wanderlust – ease of use The website structure is extremely simple and always signposted thanks to the menu bar which is integrated in every page. It is possible to reach every page within 3 clicks from the homepage. The trip planner function in kept simple thanks to a rich shortcut menu (below)

KEY VARIABLES FOR DESIGN OBJECTIVES Quality Content Ease of use Frequent updates Download speed

Rough guides – Quality Content In addition to articles and travel information the website provides free downloadable phrasebook audio files (above) which contains 16 pages of worth material to improve foreign languages speaking

Lonely Planet – Frequent updates As well as blogs and articles, the website provides continually updated travel news (above) taken from the main newspapers and news websites all over the world such as Reuters, BBC, the Guardian, Travel Weekly and New York Times.


Online Value Proposition

ONLINE VALUE PROPOSITION Good Content and usability are fundamental but are not enough to make a good website. Simply transferring a company existing proposition to the online environment doesn’t work. the online media has unique properties such as immediacy, interactivity and depth of content that are only limited by imagination and resources. Websites must take advantage of these features to attract customers. A great website gives the visitor a unique experience which can be summarized in the online value proposition (OVP). An OVP is a clear and strong proposition that differentiate a website from the others. Having a clear OVP has several benefits: •it helps to distinguish a website from its competitors •It helps provide a focus to marketing efforts and enables company staff to be clear about the purpose of the site

•if the proposition is clear it can be used for PR and word-of-mouth recommendations •it can be linked to the normal product propositions of a company or its product.

16 OVP FORMULATION Firstly, as part of customer-centric marketing approach, the OVP must be tailored for a specific target segment, identifying clearly their needs and their behaviour. Secondly, In order to formulate a successful OVP marketers must understand the unique characteristics of the Internet and its online services and how these services are perceived by customers using them. A good OVP is usually based on a online variation of the marketing mix. This includes six elements, the 6 C’s: •Content: detailed, in-depth information to support the buying process or product usage

•Customization: personalization of content, customer-tailored newsletter, personal recommendations. •Community: social networking features and user generated content. •Convenience: the opportunity for visitors to select, purchase of use products or services at any time. •Choice: wide choice of products and suppliers

•Cost Reduction: the web is perceived as a low-cost purchasing place therefore prices must be convenient. Good content is a common characteristic among the 4 websites analyzed but each of them shows a prominent feature:


Online Value Proposition

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The main proposition is the “My Wanderlust” community hub where members can share experiences, comments, pictures and videos . This part of the site is structured as a social media giving the visitors the opportunity to create their own profiles and share their personal travel experiences as well as find first hand information from other travellers. The User generated posts are constantly reviewed by the website editors who choose the best ones on a weekly bases

Community Wanderlust

The Thorn Tree Travel Forum an extremely huge forum with Community more than 300.000 user generated posts on every topic Lonely Planet related to travels. The forum is divided in 4 main parts: the Departure Lounge where people share info about foreign countries ; The Lobby where user can discuss about leisure activities; the Tree House which is a completely free space to share passions and interests; the Sell, Swap & Meet Up where it’s possible to swap accommodation with people to the other side of the world, sell wares and find travel mates.

THE 6

•Con •Custom •Comm •Conve •Cho •Cost Re


Online Value Proposition

6 C’s

ntent mization munity enience oice eduction

Choice Rough Guides Convenience Frommer’s

Frommer’s offers its visitors the “Dream Trip Recommender” service which is a very useful tool for people looking for a perfect holiday. The service works as a search engine: users have just to select the type of trip and the activities they prefer and the Recommender will provide a list of trips tailored for each user.

18 Rough Guides has expanded its market offering more than book and travel Guides. Rough Guides offers a gives a wide choice of products and supplier through the “travel services” page. Thanks to the collaboration with web retailers such as World Nomads and comparison websites such as HostelBookers and Kayak, Rough Guides can provide a complete range of travel services from accommodations to flights to travel insurances.


Customer Orientation

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CUSTOMER ORIENTATION “Providing content and services on a web site consistent with the different characteristics of the audience of the site”. USABILITY Website usability is is the ease of use and learnability of a human-made object for these websites was compared by setting a web visitor a defined goal – in this case, the visitor was asked to find a trip to Thailand for the next month.

Frommer’s have a big, easy to see and access search bar in their header of the website. There is a booking box in the footer of the website however this redirects to a different website. Frommers is more of a guide as there is no option to book a trip directly from the company however there is a lot of information to be found. Lonely Planet features a search bar at the top and information about destinations is received by clicking on the interactive map “Places in Asia”. The visitor found it difficult to get flight information or booking information but there was plenty of information about the destination.

Wanderlust was an easy website to use – the search bar at the top is easy to see and access, the site also features a trip finder and trip wizard which is easy to see and access. It has a clear navigation menu and was simple to reach the end of the specific task set – the visitor was able to look at travelling to Thailand and was even given the option of what type of holiday was desired. There was, however, no interactive map which added another step to the journey compared to the other websites. Rough Guides search function has no huge presence on the page, it is hard to find compared to the other websites. The visitor found the site gives lots of information and finds deals on package trips however these all redirect to other websites. In terms of usability Wanderlust comes out on top – it was the easiest to use and had both travel booking and travel information. It was easy for the visitor to find a travel destination and the option of what holiday was desired. The website could cut down on steps by including an interactive map


Customer Orientation

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WEBSITE USABILITY CHECKLIST Accessibility

Rating: Wanderlust

Rating: Rating: Lonely Planet Rough guides

Rating: Frommer’s

Site load‐time is reasonable

Good

Good

Good

Good

Adequate text‐to‐background contrast

Good

Good

Good

Good

Font size/spacing is easy to read

Average

Good

Good

Good

Flash & add‐ons are used sparingly

Good

Good

Good

Good

Site has custom not‐found/404 page

No

No

No

No

Company logo is prominently placed

Good

Bad

Bad

Good

Tagline makes company’s purpose clear

Good

Good

Good

Good

Home‐page is digestible in 5 seconds

Average

Average

Average

Average

Clear path to company information

Good (top of page)

Good (top of page)

Average (bottom page)

Clear path to contact information

Good

Average (bottom page) Average (bottom page)

Good

Average (bottom page)

Identity

Navigation .Main navigation is easily identifiable

Good

Good

Average

Good

Navigation labels are clear & concise

Good

Good

Average

Good

Number of buttons/links is reasonable

Average

Average

Average

Average

Company logo is linked to home‐page

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Links are consistent & easy to identify

Good

Good

Good

Good

Site search is easy to access

Average

Average

Bad

Good

Major headings are clear & descriptive

Good

Average

Average

Good

Critical content is above the “fold”

Good

Good

Good

Good

Styles & colors are consistent

Good

Good

Average

Good

Emphasis (bold, etc.) is used sparingly

Good

Good

Good

Good

Ads & pop‐ups are unobtrusive

Good

Good

Bad (not siterelated)

Good

Main copy is concise & explanatory

Average

Average

Average

Average

URLs are meaningful & user‐friendly

Good

Good

Good

Good

HTML page titles are explanatory

Bad

Good

Bad

Good

Content


Customer Orientation SEARCH ENGINE MARKETING Search engine marketing (SEM) is promoting an organization through search engines delivering relevant content in search listings and encouraging customers to click them to the destination site. There are two key techniques of SEM: SEO: search engine optimization PPC: pay-per-click or paid search marketing

21 •Indexing: an index is created to enable the •engine to match pages to user queries •Ranking: the search engine assesses the most relevant documents to return in the result pages

PPC

Paid search marketing is similar to traditional advertising. Sponsored links are displayed SEO SEO is a technique used to make web pages above or to the right of natural listings when more useful for customers and more users type a specific phrase in a search transparent and understandable to search engine. engines. SEO is an inexpensive way to get more page views by creating web pages that Typically around a quarter of clicks are on sponsored links making them highly profitable rank highly in search engine results. for companies. SEO involves achieving the highest position in PPC is quicker, more predictable than SEO and the natural listings of search engine result highly targeted but is far more expensive due pages (SERPS) across a range of specific to high competition. combination of keywords and keyphrases entered by users. Improving this position depends on website designers understanding of search engine dynamics. The creation of natural listings involves three main processes: •Crawling: search engines identify relevant pages and links contained in them creating reference URLs


Customer Orientation

22 Paid Search Marketing (PPC) displayed above and to the right of natural listings. Wanderlust, based in UK, is targeting a user based in UK thanks to IP address localization

Google natural or organic listing based on “travel publication” key phase

Yahoo! Shopping Recommendations

Yahoo! natural or organic listing based on “travel guides” key phase


Customer Orientation META TAGS A meta tag is a specific HTML tag used to define meta data on Web pages. The most commonly used meta tags are: •description •keywords •author •refresh Meta tags are placed in the <head> of an HTML document, and they typically do not display where the reader can easily see them. They are used to provide additional information about the page either for databases and search engines or for the author of the site to keep a record of the pages. Meta tags are written using the <meta> HTML tag.

FUNCTION OF META TAGS A meta data page is a document designers create to give search engines clues about what the page is about. The three most important types of meta data are the document title tag, the document ‘descriptions’ meta tag and the document ‘keywords’ meta tag. These are used by search engines to place the pages in the search directory, and to provide a short description of the Web page in the search results.

23 Title meta tags Search engines place significant weighting on the keyphrases contained within it and it is the call-to-action hyperlink on the search engine results page. If it contains powerful, relevant copy the relative site will get more clicks and the search engine will increase position in the natural listings. <title>Lonely Planet Travel Guides and Travel Information</title> Description meta tags These are used by search engines to provide a short synopsis of the page. Designers usually put a brief description of the site in this meta data section. <meta name="description" content="Travel guides and guidebooks. Travel advice, tips and destination information to inspire you from Lonely Planet" />

Keywords meta tags Keywords are used by search engines to make the page more easily searchable. Words contained in the website that better describe the site itself should be put in this section. <meta name="keywords" content="Travel Guides, Guidebooks, Travel Advice, Information, Tips, Destinations, Inspire, Inspiration, Visit,, Travel Gear, Cheap, Photography, Lonely Planet. Lonly Planet"/>


Customer Orientation

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lonelyplanet.com Title:Lonely Planet Travel Guides and Travel Information Description: Travel guides and guidebooks. Travel advice, tips and destination information to inspire you from Lonely Planet Keywords:Travel Guides, Guidebooks, Travel Advice, Information, Tips, Destinations, Inspire, Inspiration, Visit, World, Cities, Health, Trips, Visas, Accommodation, Hotels, Flights, Car Hire, Insurance, Travel Gear, Cheap, Photography, Lonely Planet. Lonly Planet

frommers.com Title: Frommer's Travel Guides: The Best Trips Start Here! Description: Frommers.com brings you cheap airfares, bargain rate cruises, discounted hotel rooms, budget car rentals and money-saving advice, all written and reviewed by travel experts. Keywords: Frommers.com, frommer, frommers, budget travel, travel books, Frommer's Travel Guides, travel destinations, hotel reviews, restaurant reviews, travel deals, cheap airfares, discount cruises, discounted hotel rooms, discount car rentals, vacation planning, bargains, resort hotel, travel newsletter, vacation destinations, travel sweepstakes, Wiley, John Wiley & Sons

roughguides.com Title: Rough Guides | World travel guide and reference book publisher Description: Browse and buy travel guides and online travel information for world destinations. Plus, find reference guides to music, film, the Internet, the environment and more." />

wanderlust.co.uk Title: Wanderlust Description: Travel advice, articles, blogs, interviews, trip and country information to inspire you from Wanderlust. Other features include travel health, photography tips and travel writing

ANALYSIS AND COMPARISON The meta pages of the Frommer’s and lonely Planet homepages are complete and accurate providing a significant amount of information to be used by search engines. The SEO of these sites has been accurately developed an optimised in order to reach high listing positions.

On the other hand Rough Guides and Wanderlust data pages appear to be far less complete lacking of keywords content. Considering the Google results for the keyphrase “Travel publications” Wanderlust appears to be more focused on paid search marketing than SEO.


Customer Orientation The top queries driving traffic to frommers.com from search engines

The top queries driving traffic to roughguides.com from search engines

25 The top queries driving traffic to lonelyplanet.com from search engines

The top queries driving traffic to wanderlust.co.uk from search engines


Dynamic Design and Personalization

DYNAMIC DESIGN AND PERSONALIZATION The Web Gives the opportunity to personalize content and services ad provide tailor-made content to the visitors. There are several dynamic environment variables shaping personalization; the websites considered focus on •Customer preferences •Collaborative filtering In the first case data are collected trough registration forms and questionnaires that visitors have to fill in when they join the communities. Frommer’s is the only one out of the four website considered that doesn’t give the opportunity to register to the website but offers a newsletter only. Collaborative filtering uses algorithms to make automatic predictions on customer preferences. On the basis of the products previously purchased or only viewed, the filtering function produces recommendations about products the customer might like. Due to the small range of products offered Wanderlust doesn’t provide this service.

26


Aesthetics

27

AESTHETICS

making it easy to miss.

Website aesthetics consist of its colour, style, graphics and personality. According to Smith and Chaffey (2008) “Many web sites indulge in over-elaborate graphics and ignore their audience’s capability and patience to view them” It is important for web designers to consider the limit of use of graphics and colours to best target the correct audience.

Rough Guides features a small logo, a consistent colour scheme of three colours – orange, blue and white. The logo is largely overshadowed by the size of the advert in the header, there is good use of graphics and an easy to read format. However, the amount of white space present makes the site look messy and too compacted.

Wanderlust has an aesthetically pleasing

Frommer’s features a fairly big and simple

website design – easy to read, clear headings. It’s very simple – not a lot of distractions, consistent colour scheme of blue, yellow and white. There is good and subtle use of graphics, a simple and fairly large logo with a small advert at the top which doesn’t overshadow the logo or header of the website.

logo in the header of the page, a consistent colour scheme of red, white and grey. It features a very large and obvious search bar and easy to read, clear headings. The site is simple with little distraction and the graphics are subtle making it easy to use. The adverts within the site are reasonably sized and not so big they distract or overshadow the logo.

Lonely Planet features easy to read, clear headings. The site is simple with little distraction like Wanderlust, has a consistent colour scheme of blue, white and grey. It has good, subtle use of graphics but a small logo in comparison to the size of the web page

Overall the websites aesthetics are fairly good, Wanderlust has the best looking website in terms of use of space, colour scheme, size of logo and size of advert. With Frommers following a close second as their adverts have been sized appropriately so as not to overshadow any of the site.


Page Design

28

PAGE DESIGN Consistent layout is extremely important. It is imperative that website designers ensure the most important information is displayed on the homepage as far as promotions, the company logo, any important advertising and any other

information or pictures that could help entice someone to want to explore the website further. Key messages, headings, links, menus, page size, frames, adverts must be considered carefully for effective web use.

WANDERLUST Logo on every page links back to homepage.

Image carousel as header.

Menus and submenus.

3 column layout.

Copyright information and contents table at bottom of page.

Two adverts seen.


Page Design

29

Logo on every page links back to homepage.

LONELY PLANET

2 columns in header (just images) and then 3 columns for the rest of the content;.

Menus and submenus . Two adverts seen.

Copyright information and contents table at bottom of page.

FROMMERâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S

Three ads seen, Ability to create a profile.

Logo on every page links back to homepage.

Menus and submenus.

Consistent three column layout.

Copyright information and contents table at bottom of page.


Page Design

30

ROUGH GUIDES

Logo on every page links back to homepage. Menus and submenus (not shown until clicked).

Three column layout after the two column images.

Copyright information and contents table at bottom of page.

Two adverts seen.


Navigation and Structure

NAVIGATION AND STRUCTURE Navigation can be defined as the way people move inside the website by using navigational tools such as links and menus. The site structure is how contents are placed within the website and how different pages are related with logic to others.

31 Structure and Navigation are strictly correlated: a simple and consistent structure is important as it gives to consumer the flow control of the navigation, which does not make them confused and lost inside the website. There are two main kinds of site structures: â&#x20AC;˘ Deep â&#x20AC;˘ Shallow

ANALYSIS AND COMMENT The structures of each of the websites analyzed are broad being characterized by no more than 4 clicks from the homepages to every other page of the sites. All of this sites have a simple navigation structure and fixed templates for secondary pages which are clearly signposted hence the navigation-flow is very good. Frommers.com home page has been analyzed considering the 7 website navigation types: Site structure, function, direct, reference, dynamic, breadcrump and step navigation.


Navigation and Structure

32

1. Site structure navigation

6. Breadcrumb navigation (e.g. home>destination>trip>store)

5. Dynamic navigation (result page; e.g. search form)

1. Site structure navigation

3. Direct navigation (e.g. ad banner, shortcut link)

4. Reference navigation (leads users to related contents or pages of the current content)

2. Functional navigation (e.g. site map link or privacy policy link)


Interaction

33

INTERACTION Interaction aids engagement from web site visitors by allowing a two-way communication and greater control and involvement in their web experience. Having good interaction within a website reinforces brand values and can be used as a means to collect research by discovering customer preferences, responses to promotions and any problems the customer faced in the duration of their visit.

INTERACTION TYPES There are several kinds of interactive magazines: •Mouse clicks (mouse event) •Mouse rollover •Drop down boxes •Drag and drop A consistent use of these interactive functions add value to user experience.

HOW CAN INTERACTION HELP CUSTOMERS? Learning •FAQ •Selection choice •Newsletters

Buying •“Buy now” incentives •Voucher systems

Deciding •On site search engine •Chat facility

After-sales Support •FAQ •Customer feedback


Interaction

34

Lonely Planet Shop 1.LEARNING: (e.g. Selection choice)

3.BUYING: (e.g. Offering an incentive to buy now / voucher system with deals and discount)

2.DECIDING: (e.g. On-site search engines)

4. AFTER-SALES SUPPORT: (e.g. Shopping help and FAQs)


Conclusion and Recommendations

CONCLUSION AND RECCOMMENDATIONS Market Situation: the economic recession has hit consumer spending hard but on the other hand technology and increasing broadband penetration is improving online holiday purchases. Navigation Data and segmentation: visitors of travel publication websites tend to be 16 to 34 years old ABC1 highly educated people. They are active travellers as 92% travel abroad once or more a year. The objectives of Website Design: all of the four website analyzed are services oriented, providing updated quality content. Wanderlust and Frommer’s are more focused on the objective of creating a relationship with customers and among customers while Rough Guides and Lonely Planet are focused on the objective of selling products. Online Value Proposition: quality content is common among the websites. Wanderlust an Lonely planet are focused on community providing significant and social networking functions and forums. Rough Guides is more focused on providing purchase choice while Frommer’s on convenience Customer orientation In terms of usability Wanderlust can be considered the best one being the easiest to use .It is easy for the visitor to find the travel destination desired thanks to the “trip wizard” function. Dynamic Design and Personalization: visitors data are collected by Wanderlust, Lonely Planet and Frommer’s through website registration while Rough Guides does not give this

35 opportunity. Wanderlust is the only site that doesn't use a filter to give purchase recommendations. Aesthetics and Page Design: Overall the websites aesthetics are fairly good, Wanderlust has the best looking website in terms of use of space, colour scheme, size of logo and size of advert. Navigation and Structure: the structures of the sites are broad, characterized by no more than 4 clicks from the homepages to every other page of the sites. This makes them easily navigable. Interaction: the four websites have a F.A.Q. page and onsite search engines even if the Rough Guide engines is hidden and not easy to use. RECOMMENDATIONS Wanderlust: can be considered the best one in terms of usability, dynamic design community and aesthetics but the site is not enough focused on the commercial side. Needs of a wider purchasing offer.

Lonely Planet: extremely good in terms of value proposition and customer orientation as well as usability but needs more organization generated content.

Frommer’s: very good in terms of content as well as dynamic design and personalization but the home page looks too busy affecting usability. Needs a more neat homepage.

Rough Guides: very good content but not very pleasing aesthetically and poor in terms of interaction and personalization. Needs a restyling , improved on-site search engine and a visitor registration option.


References

36

REFERENCES Alexa (2011) [online]. alexa.com. Available from: www.alexa.com [Accessed: 3 December 2011]. Chaffey, D. (2008) Emarketing Excellence. 3rd ed. Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann. Chaffey, D. (2009) Internet Marketing. 4th ed. Harlow, Essex: Pearson Education Limited. Chaffey, D. (2010) online value proposition [online]. davechaffey.com. Available from: http://www.davechaffey.com/Emarketing-Insights/Customer-experience-management/Online-customer-value-proposition/ [Accessed: 1 December 2011]. Charlesworth, A. (2009) Internet Marketing - A Practical Approach. Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann. Econsultancy (2007) [online]. e-consultancy.com. Available from: http://www.e-consultancy.com/publications/webdesign-best-practice-guide [Accessed: 20 November 2011]. Econsultancy (2011) [online]. e-consultancy.com. Available from: http://econsultancy.com/reports/search-engineoptimization-seo-best-practice-guide [Accessed: 20 November 2011]. Hasegawa, A. (2011) the 7 navigation types of web site [online]. slide share. Available from: http://www.slideshare.net/atsushi/the-7-navigation-types-of-web-site [Accessed: 5 december 2011]. Mintel (2011) Digital Trends UK - Autumn 2011. London: Mintel group LTD. Mintel (2011) Holidays on the Internet UK - July 2011. London: Mintel group LTD. Myers, P.J. (2010) strategic web usability [online]. usereffect. Available from: http://www.usereffect.com/topic/25point-website-usability-checklist [Accessed: 2 december 2011]. Pickton, D. and Broderick, A. (2005) Integrated marketing communications. Harlow, Essex: Pearson Education Limited.

Quantcast (2011) [online]. quantcast.com. Available from: http://www.quantcast.com/ [Accessed: 2 December 2011]. Ryan, D. and Jones, C. (2009) Understanding Digital Marketing. London: Kogan Page. Smart Insights (2011) paid search marketing (PPC) [online]. Smartinsights. Available from: http://www.smartinsights.com/paid-search-marketing-ppc/ [Accessed: 25 November 2011]. Wynne, P. (2010) Create A Successful Website: Easy Do It Yourself Steps To Online Success.

Online Travel Publications Websites Report  

The aim of this report is to analyse, compare and critique the websites of four organizations operating in the sector of travel publications...

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