As a CMS case study, it isn’t very remarkable in itself, but it got me thinking how wildly different approaches travel companies take to their online channels. For some travel companies, the website is about inspiration building (resorts, travel agencies), for others it is just a straightforward ordering channel (airlines, trains) and for yet others it is a mixture of all those elements – maybe even with traditional e-commerce embedded (pre-order of gifts, for example). Ferry companies are probably those with mixed elements, and therefore face a fairly difficult technology choice.
Anyway, the strength of this story is that it offers a glimpse to how travel agencies (can) use the personalization capabilities of CMS. For example, Irish Ferries tries to identify the family customer so that the website can offer more targeted promotions for those customers. Additionally, the website remembers which location the customer has expressed interest towards, so that the customer can be offered better service. The latter case actually seems to work pretty nicely, redirecting the customer directly to the right landing page. Nice examples, and a good business case for using those personalization capabilities.
Unfortunately the website in question is not a very perfect example of a travel booking website since they haven’t really integrated the CMS and the booking system. The Episerver seems to handle the “display window” only. The actual buying process is a separate process that probably runs directly against the booking system. So what they’ve actually done is just slightly smarter landing pages. A long way ahead still.
Perttu Tolvanen is a Web Technologies & E-Commerce Expert at North Patrol. Perttu assists clients on early-phase service design, defining requirements, and in technology selections.