Coach Industry Web Site of the Year
The internet is a vital tool in the battle to win business by helping to promote companies, brands and people. Since the World Wide Web began to take off in the mid-1990s, it has become a major influence on our lives, and the amount of business done on the web has grown exponentially ever since. It follows that the Web is a vital tool for the coach industry as well.
This Award will go to the coach operator whose web site, in the view of the judges, offers the best combination of design, features, content, functionality and customer-friendliness, and where the owners can demonstrate that it has driven the expansion and success of their business. Functionality will be assessed on desktop computers, tablet and other mobile devices.
Winner, Gold Award: Shearings Holidays
Responding to the increasing number of people using their smartphones and tablets to access the internet, Shearings Holidays relaunced its website last year to make it responsive on multiple platforms. Online bookings were up 10% on the previous year, demonstrating the importance of online transactions.
The judges noted that the website was easy to use and made good use of social media. It was also good to see that Shearings is adapting its site to work across mobile platforms and has plans for further development this year.
Winner, Silver Award: The Kings Ferry
The Kings Ferry operates commuter coach services into London and Bristol as well as corporate and private hire. The company's website is divided up to reflect the different areas of its business. From getting a quick quote for private hire to buying commuter tickets online, the website provides excellent functionality.
The judges noted the excellent use of Trust Pilot reviews on the home page and were particularly impressed with the sections on comparing commuting by coach versus the train and initiatives such as the three day free trial.
Winner, Bronze Award: BusyBus
The BusyBus website reflects the company's 'fun' image and it includes a mix of video, text and pictorial content, many featuring customers on tours. Large and friendly-looking icons makes the site easy to navigate.
The judges liked the promotion of Trip Advisor and the very positive reviews posted there. They also noted that over 80% of the company's business comes via its website.
Who could be nominated?
The Award was open to coach operators who are holders of a UK Operators’ Licence.
… and by whom?
We welcomed nominations from operators themselves, from customers and from web design professionals. Self-nomination was acceptable.
Criteria and Entry Requirements
The Award will be based on the quality of the information supplied. The information should:
- Provide technical details of the site including:
- the URL of the web site nominated
- the software used in its operation and design
- by whom it was designed and by whom it is maintained
- Describe the functions available via the site (e.g. promotion only, quotation request or online booking/reservations)
- Describe the contribution made to the business by the existence of the web site
- State how the web site project was delivered, showing the methods used and why
- Supply statistical evidence on the use of the site, including annual statistics on unique visits and page views (this is easily available from statistical packages which can be installed on your web site, such as Google Analytics)
- For e-ecommerce/booking sites, statistics on the volume of business done as specified on the entry form (including, but not limited to, total bookings, value of business and percentage of total income this represents)
- Describe any future plans for further development
- Include any relevant supporting material.
In addition to the questions asked on the nomination form, finalists’ web sites were visited and assessed by “Mystery Shoppers”, experts who rated the site’s design, features, content, functionality and customer-friendliness. This assessment attracted the same number of marks as the answers to the questions.