When I look back at all the countries and cities I have visited, I realize that I’m reasonably well travelled. I enjoyed a visit to beautiful Venice as a young 16 year old but naively arrived at St. Marks’ Basilica wearing short shorts and bare shoulders – entrance was a no-no on account of my near nudity. There was a long July weekend in Paris, where I was amazed by the fireworks at the Eiffel Tower to celebrate Bastille Day. More poignantly my first trip to New York and the Twin Towers was just a few months before 9/11. And I have been lucky enough to have enjoyed many other city breaks and beach holidays in various locations around the world.
But although I am happy to travel far and wide, when it comes to choosing my next vacation I am definitely the kind of gal who likes to walk no further than my sofa. The urge to finalize my plans comes over me most often in the winter months when the skies are grey and the snow is falling. I curl up on the sofa with my laptop and realize I can make my next vacation a reality at the touch of a few buttons.
There are literally thousands of websites to trawl through to find a vacation to suit. But I know which ones grab my attention; those that use as many images as possible, tastefully crammed into the website. Oh yes, I’m not packing my bags and jetting off anywhere without clearly seeing my destination and accommodation beforehand. The website also needs to be crystal clear about what it is offering: accommodation only, all inclusive, a package with flights and transfers included or a programmed tour. If there are nice photos but minimal supporting text it’s a real turn off for me – I veer towards the wrong side of being very organized – my husband claims I am obsessive but no matter. I like to arrange my vacation knowing that everything is covered off.
A great vacation website will also be incredibly easy to navigate. I really don’t want to think I am reading about a city break in Washington DC to find out I am in the London section. Trust me, it would take a few minutes to twig, my knowledge of city attractions and sights being a little poor.
And very importantly, a website that wants to sell vacations cannot be coy about its prices. I want to know upfront if that attractive looking break will meet my modest budget. If I need to “Enquire for More Information” about a package, I will probably just suspect it’s too pricey for me. But if the prices are clearly displayed, I can make an immediate decision if I want to book.
And once that decision is made, there is no stopping me. I want to book online. Now. So if a website isn’t geared up for online booking, I am so out of there.
All of my requirements for a great vacation website are met by that of Comfort Tour Canada. The layout and navigation is phenomenal – I really like the fact that each tour description pops up within the main page so you know exactly where you are on the website. There is plenty of information, lots of great photos and the price display section couldn’t be clearer. And look at that, an easy to use online booking system as well.
I work for New Design Group, a web and graphic design company based in Toronto, and they were responsible for creating this impressive website and its state-of-the-art booking system. So I admit to being slightly biased. But if you’re reading this blog now, you have to agree that I am right. It’s a great website to sell great tour packages.
Now that I have spent so much time reading about the different Comfort Tour breaks, I just need to have a word with my New Design Group boss – I want some time off work next April as I fancy myself a 4 day bus tour to Chicago!
Michelle Collins VP of Public Relations, New Design Group Inc. newdesigngroup.ca