Total flexibility and search-ability, constantly updated pages and an enhanced member database and contacts book are among the many features of the dynamic revamped website launched by The British Guild of Travel Writers (BGTW).
After 18 months of planning and development, the new look site for members and travel professionals went live today, August 14. Using the latest website technology, the innovative site is a unique research tool for the travel trade and has been designed for ease of use, making navigation simple and useful links easier to find.
Key features of www.bgtw.org include:
• Superior search facilities, more links and improved navigation
• Expanded members’ database, contacts book and reference pages
• New online shop and e-commerce pages
• Latest industry news
• New sections for members of the public
• Blog, discussion forums, research and advice sections for members
• First ever mini-webs for members to highlight their work
The showcase site was launched at The Ambassadors Bloomsbury, London in front of an audience of BGTW members and representatives from Sussex-based specialist software development company Marbrow, who designed the site using the award-winning Joomla! content management system.
BGTW Webmaster Alastair McKenzie said, “This is a major step forward from our clunky old website, which was quite sophisticated but not very user-friendly. The new site improves on all the things the old site did and, at the same time, introduces several wizzy new facilities. It also looks SO much better! In design terms, I feel as if we’ve joined the 21st century at last!”
In addition to the fresh, clean layout, the site contains more information than ever before and a host of extra benefits for members and industry users, plus new pages where members of the public can gain an insight into travel writing and photography.
BGTW members can keep up to date with the latest travel topics through news feeds from destinations and travel and tourism organizations, advertise goods and services in the new small ads section, source PR and media contacts and exchange news and views with other members.
The site allows travel PRs and industry professionals to easily contact BGTW members through a variety of search options, including their specialist areas of expertise.
New key word search facilities have been designed to provide the maximum of information from the minimum of input. Entering the name of a PR company, for example, will automatically display information and links to all their clients. Similarly, clicking on members’ biographies and photographs will provide a host of background information and relevant links that were not available on the site’s forerunner.
To mark the launch of the site and highlight the unique tools which the guild offers to the world-wide travel industry, travel industry professionals will also be able to buy the current BGTW Yearbook online at special rates. One of the most valuable tools in the British travel trade, the Yearbook contains biographies on all guild members and a comprehensive directory of over 2,800 specialist PR companies, publications, broadcast media, tourist offices, tour and transport operators and other useful companies and organizations operating in the UK travel & tourism industry.
The purchase of the Yearbook will also enable travel professionals to access password protected areas of the new website and so be constantly updated on the day-to-day changes within the travel industry.
“The earliest travel writers published their journals for the edification of stay-at-home readers,” said BGTW chairman John Carter, a travel journalist since 1961 and former presenter on BBC’s Holiday and ITV’s Wish You Were Here. “Long winded accounts of months or years spent hacking through jungles, exploring unknown continents, dealing with recalcitrant ‘natives’ and, more than likely, adding a bit of red to the map. That was then. This is now, and the BGTW and its members have certainly moved with the times.
“As travel writers we have embraced each new technology as it has come along – the mass media in the form of newspapers and magazines, the seemingly insatiable appetite for guide books, radio, television and the Internet – and we have adapted our communication styles and the tools of our trade to suit each new development. The new website takes us another giant leap forward, serving both our members and those our members serve, and will play a major role in the future of the BGTW.”