Page 5: Building the Internet presence
As more and more households and businesses in this country become regular Internet users it is no longer just optional for a leading business brand to have a top quality Internet site. Travelodge was one of the first companies to realise this and its Internet presence has become increasingly sophisticated since 1996.
Travelodge quickly appreciated the importance of developing customer relationships with a global rather than a national audience from the outset and has embraced the Global Distribution System and the worldwide web. Since 1997 all Travelodge properties are listed on the Global Distribution system. These include Galileo, Sabre, Worldspan and Amadeus. These channels offer the opportunity to access the business travel sector worldwide.
In 1996, Travelodge simply used the Internet as a means of promoting its brand image. The site included an online brochure, downloadable maps and a location finder. By 1998 it had developed a new-look site based on printed brochure material. An important breakthrough was the development of online ordering through email request to the reservation sales centre staff. Today the site offers seamless online availability and booking facilities with dedicated business and leisure sections.
Travelodge is a leading edge player in the e-commerce market, offering inclusive packages nationwide. Travelodge’s Internet service enables the company to develop personalised relationships with customers. A database built up by the interactions of customers with the booking site enables it to provide personalised information and to make promotional offers to corporate and family clients. Users can quickly click on to sections of the map that are relevant to their search for accommodation. Users can then narrow down the search to the locality where they want to arrange a business meeting or a short family stay.
Alternatively the user can select from a drop-down list which area and town is required; the lodges available in that area are shown. The site shows clear illustrations of room layout and the facilities offered. Having selected the most suitable Travelodge, the potential customer can then find out about the number of beds available and make an online reservation. Nothing could be simpler. Once the customer has selected a Travelodge they are then provided with the phone number of the lodge, should they need further information.