Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Hollywood, CA (November 14, 2006) – Viator, the world's leading online provider of global destination activities has re-designed its consumer website – Viator.com – with a new look and feel, enhanced search and booking functionality, more products in more destinations, and the Web (and Travel) 2.0 holy grail – user-generated content. The site redesign was announced today at the Annual PhoCusWright Executive Conference in Hollywood, California.
With the mission of turning "tourists into travelers" – helping consumers of travel products dig deeper into their destination rather than skimming the surface – Viator conducted focus groups and user surveys to decipher what consumers want and need to have at their fingertips to do so. Those findings were implemented, creating a consumer-centric website that is streamlined and informative, intuitive and quick.
"Web 2.0 and Travel 2.0 philosophies dovetail perfectly with the Viator philosophy that to truly experience a destination you need to be a part of the total process," said Rod Cuthbert, founder and CEO of Viator, and Center Stage speaker at the Executive Conference. "Over the past ten years, our business has developed in close tandem with the changing face of the travel consumer. They want access to the necessary tools – the widest array of products available, competitive prices, user-generated content, expert advice, and a flexible and fast booking channel – to take planning and booking into their own hands."
Travelers helping travelers
To further empower and inspire the consumer, Viator has integrated user-generated content including Traveler Reviews and Ratings and the Viator Travel Blog. Traveler reviews and ratings, currently featured for Viator's most popular destinations, are generated through "Welcome Back" emails sent to customers upon completion of their activities. These direct to consumer emails filter out marketing pitches and competitor attacks, so that travelers are presented with unbiased and honest feedback. Reviews are edited for inappropriate content only, so if an activity was less than promised, other travelers will know about it. Viator intends to continuously review the user-generated content for ways to further evolve and enhance Viator.com's product offering. The following is an example of a recent customer review featuring an activity in the Central Australian Desert:
"If you are near to Uluru and you do not go to this (tour) you don't deserve to travel! This is a social, culinary and educational tour de force. It is understated, professional and after a slow start builds to a truly amazing experience. "Highly recommended" simply doesn't convey my enthusiasm well enough."
"Viator is getting our customers to go beyond the beaten path to experience more at their destination," Cuthbert continued. "Asking them to supply us with their unbiased review of our products takes them even further by allowing their experience to positively impact that of another traveler. We're taking them even a step further with our travel blog which encourages community with interactive dialogue."
What's new at Viator.com
As with the trip itself, the online experience should be exciting, uncomplicated and fulfilling. The new Viator.com features include:
Lowest price – guaranteed
To encourage travelers to research and book their activities before they travel to save valuable time at their destination for fun and adventure, not planning, Viator maintains a competitive lowest price guarantee – guaranteeing the lowest price available online, at the destination – anywhere. If a customer finds a lower price for the same tour or activity offered by the same operator (priced in the same currency) within 48 hours of booking, Viator will refund the price difference. If a Viator customer finds a lower price direct from the operator, Viator will refund the price difference.
It's all about the traveler
In addition, Viator has created a Wishlist for users to store their favorite activities for future reference. This quick, easy to use feature enables the traveler to research and plan at their convenience, but avoids repeating their search when they're ready to book. Wishlists can be emailed to travel companions as well. To further streamline the research and booking process, Viator has implemented a toll-free 24/7 customer service number, currently for customers in the United States with plans to roll out this access worldwide in the near future.
Viator is the world's leading online resource for travel experiences – the things you do when you get there, providing access to more than 5,000 sightseeing tours, attractions and activities in 450-plus destinations in more than 75 countries. Viator -- the Latin word for traveler -- offers online consumers a one-stop shop to plan, research and book trip activities that meet a variety of tastes and preferences, including sightseeing tours, theater tickets, soft adventure trips, attraction passes, wine and culinary excursions, and many "well kept secrets" off the beaten path. Viator's in-house travel experts help take the guess work out of planning by hand-picking respected and trusted local operators to ensure a quality experience, value and service. Viator, founded in 1995, sells its products directly to consumers at www.viator.com and through its growing global network of more than 3,500 affiliates that include major hotel and airline companies, online travel agencies, city-specific sites and more. Viator is headquartered in San Francisco with regional offices in Sydney, London and Las Vegas.
Kate Sullivan, 1-973-568-7589
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