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Case Study

Advantage Travel - Intranet Development

Pixl8’s web design proves big advantage in travel industry

Advantage Travel Centre’s new intranet is fast becoming a ‘one-stop shop’ information source for the organisation’s 800-plus members.

A central communications hub for local travel agents, the site, which was designed and developed by Pixl8 based on its WebConnect content management system, saw member visits rise 254% at launch in December.

Selected for their creativity, experience with membership organisations and reputation for efficient project delivery, Pixl8 supplied Advantage Travel Centres with an easy to use, versatile and interactive intranet.

Featuring personalised tailored communications designed to meet individual member needs, the new site is a great aid to business generation.

The intranet is now the first place members look for information about current services, business development opportunities, product details and industry news.

About Advantage Travel Centres

Advantage Travel Centres is the UK’s largest membership organisation for independent travel agents. Using its links with over 200 leisure and business travel suppliers, such as Thomas Cook, Kuoni and Cosmos, Advantage offers local travel agents enhanced commissions, cost savings and marketing support.

Members also benefit from business development resources such as HR and legal advice, business continuity planning, a broker service and financial guidance. Details of all membership benefits are available on the new intranet.

The business challenge Advantage Travel Centre’s Sales & Marketing Director, Colin O’Neill and Online Promotions Manager, Wendy Missenden stress that the main objective of the new intranet site was simplicity.

“Travel agents need to be able to go onto the site and easily find what they are looking for,” says Colin O’Neill. “They are a diverse group. Where one might specialise in cruises and holidays in Australia, another will focus on business travel. It was important that the site content reflected these individual variations, so what we were looking for was versatility.”

Why did Advantage Travel Centres choose Pixl8? According to Colin it was for the following three reasons:

  • They had worked with Pixl8 before and knew of their track record for delivering projects on time. Pixl8 designed their consumer facing holiday offer website loveyourtravelagent.co.uk and the Advantage Travel Centres conference and business travel websites.
  • Pixl8 are a creative team, regularly coming up with their own ideas and suggestions for web design and online applications. - Pixl8 has wide experience of working with membership organisations and meeting their different needs.
  • Pixl8 are nice people to work with and are competitively priced.

Solutions and benefits

Having adapted the Preside content management system for Advantage Travel Centres to meet their ‘simplicity’, ‘versatility’, ‘personalised’ and ‘interactive’ requirements, Pixl8 developed a suite of online applications.

Using a single password sign-on process, members can quickly access the intranet’s news, business resource, training and events pages.

The new site is highly interactive featuring membership polls, forums and comments boxes. It’s also personalised for individual travel agents with customised landing pages tailored to members’ needs. Like the BBC website, members can move, edit or remove chosen sections of the home page. By selecting edit on a particular section a member can filter the type or category of information delivered to their homepage.

Aggregated page content also means that when an agent is discussing a holiday offer with a customer they can view the commercial agreement with the operator at the same time and see how much commission they will earn. And similar available holiday offers will pop up on the screen.

Member visits to the site increased by a massive 254%, from 9,740 before the launch to 34,543 in December 2010.

Feedback At launch there was a 1,000% increase in people logging onto the site. “It was a really positive reaction. Members find the site easy to navigate and like all the new information now available,” says Wendy. “With the added benefit of polls and forums on the intranet we also have up-to-the-minute active dialogue telling us we are doing the right things.”

According to the results of a recent members’ opinion survey the intranet was rated one of the top three most important services provided by Advantage Travel Centres to its members. The benefits for Advantage Travel Centres staff are considerable too. Loading content onto the intranet is easier and more logical and no training is needed. Relevant content blocks can simply be clicked on and dropped into a number of different pages at once saving a huge amount of time.

Looking ahead

The intranet is an ongoing project and some further tweaks will be necessary as Advantage Travel Centres gains a better understanding of its members’ needs and refines its offering.

“Most travel agency businesses try to specialise so a versatile intranet and tailor-made communication go hand in hand,” says Colin. “The right intranet model is essential if members are to meet their business objectives and overall strategic goals.”

Advantage Travel - Intranet Development

"With the added benefit of polls and forums on the intranet we also have up-to-the-minute active dialogue telling us we are doing the right things."

Wendy Missenden , Online Promotions Manager