The Troubleshooters – 24th February 2006

Don’t let your workplace worries get you down. Whatever your question, Travel Weekly’s panel of industry experts has the experience and knowledge to solve it.

This week, our panel looks at how to make the most of your website and what (not) to do when the TV companies come knocking…

Click here to meet the experts and submit a question…

Russell Amerasekera

 russell transparentI have been approached by a television company that is making a documentary into the changing face of the high street. As part of the programme the company wants to do a feature on travel agents going out of business. Whilst I am very keen to be involved I am worried about how it might come across, as I do not want to paint a negative image but argue the case that travel agents do have a healthy future. Do you have any advice on how I should answer the questions and approach the interview to ensure my message comes across?
KB, London

troubleshooters - big A I think you to need to be very careful with this request! I totally agree with your motive for wanting do the interview. However, you really do need to check your facts carefully before deciding to go ahead, as you could potentially end up damaging your own business. The first thing is to insist you are given a thorough briefing, backed up in writing, on the purpose and planned ‘treatment’ of the programme.

Insist on speaking to the director or producer, not just the researcher. Find out who else they are planning to interview and ask lots of questions about the angle they are taking. My guess is that will primarily be focusing on the demise of the travel agent, and therefore you need to be sure that if you do go ahead, you will be given a fair hearing.

I would insist on being given the interview questions well in advance so you can prepare any responses carefully. If you decide to do it, be very careful with the reporter; make sure they don’t put words in your mouth, and insist on doing the interview again if you are not happy with the way you have responded to a particular question. Good luck with this and be careful.

Alastair Cross

Having invested a lot of time and money in developing a website for our agency, I am not happy with the number of leads it is generating. It seems few people get beyond the home page. What can I do to encourage people to move around the site more?
MT, Leeds

troubleshooters - big A It can be frustrating knowing that potential customers are arriving at your site and leaving quickly. There are two reasons for this – either the site is not appealing enough or your marketing is attracting the wrong type of customer.

Successful websites such as Expedia, Thomson and Amazon divide the homepage into different interest areas with many offers and links to entice potential clients to delve deeper. What is your call to action on the site to encourage a booking, telephone call or e-mail enquiry? Be aware the majority of your visitors don’t actually come through your homepage because any natural search listings you have will probably link to content pages in your site. There are a number of web analytics companies including Google analytics (, Omniture, and Nedstat that can track customer movements around your site, giving you valuable information as to where and why they may be leaving.

For your search marketing you need to consider the keywords and the type of message to display in your sponsored listings, with the aim of attracting customers who have searched for your products. It is important to deep link your sponsored listings to the appropriate offer or channel page related to each keyword. Selecting the right keyword phrase, ad copy and landing page can be time-consuming. Companies such as and specialise in this type of keyword, ad-listing and landing page management for travel websites.

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