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JSC VAO Intourist is a legendary travel company with the history of more than 80 years. Today it runs the chain of hotels under the brand Intourist Hotel Group. The chain comprises 9 hotels with the total room fund of more than 2500 rooms.
In Russia Intourist Hotel Group runs 3-star and 3+star hotels which are situated in areas of high business and tourism concentration: in Moscow, Uglich, Rostov Veliky and in Altai. Abroad the company focuses on 4-star and 5-star hotels. They are situated in countries of high travel demand: Italy, Turkey, the Czech Republic.
Complex auditing made by TravelLine revealed some mistakes typical for Russian hotel websites. There were two main drawbacks among them.
Firstly, the site contained a so called splash page. The problem is that the splash page is an additional obstacle on the way to the home page and useful information.
Secondly, the Internet Booking Engine was missing. You had to make a call in order to book a room. If you have a look at the screenshot of the main page, you’ll notice some paragraphs of small print in the most noticeable part of the site (on top, to the right). This is contact information. The placement is right, but the abundance of phone numbers confuses the customer. What number should you dial to book a room?
Starting working at the website we removed the splash page and transferred the contact information box to the bottom.
To increase direct sales and reduce the reservation cost price we introduced the possibility of online booking to the Cosmos site. In the menu there was added a special item, highlighted in red for attracting attention. We placed the noticeable booking form in the home page.
The changes seemed to be insignificant, but they had produced an effect. The updated Cosmos website became profitable since the first days of its work. The percentage of the customers, who finally booked a room, had doubled. The Intourist’s direction decided to install the IBE «TravelLine: Hotel» in the rest sites of the chain.
The next year Intourist made a decision to allocate budget for the development of the new Cosmos’s website. The direction realized that this step would bring the online sales up to the higher level.
In spite of modifications the present site was behind the hotel standard. It was rather a dummy than a selling internet resource. That is why we had worked out the structure of the new site afresh together with Intourist. We used the «online-supermarket» technique: every site element should sell goods and services.
A photogallery occupied almost a third of the home page. Slideshow demonstrates the rooms design, lobby, conference halls, and restaurants. It arises interest and desire to take a closer look at the Cosmos.
The booking form preserved its place – in the right top corner. We just added a motivator: «At the best price of the day!»
Below the fold we also placed a box with special offers. Below – the news and the short description of the hotel. The text contained key words that are necessary for Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
In the footer we noted that the site is official. Thus we marked it out among the intermediary sites that belong to travel agents.
The new structure and content of the site increased the Cosmos’s online sales once again. The conversion rate on the internet resource increased from less than 1% to 3%. Hotelcosmos.ru won the first place in the contest «The best hotel website – 2011» which was held under the aegis of Russian hotel association.
Every year the market demands of the hotel internet-representation a larger number of selling elements and interactive services. That is why some new features were added to hotelcosmos.ru.
Other website elements which have increased its selling power are described in our blog. Described modifications were fulfilled within the site maintenance according to the traffic «The leader of the market». Intourist got from TravelLine full technical support and any kind of consultation on site functioning, promotion and improvement of the site characteristics.
Besides we attached the Cosmos to the latest service «TravelLine: Analytics». This tool traces the users’ behavior and shows the time history of the online sales. With the help of «TravelLine: Analytics» it is possible to study the search requests, to look through the lists of cities, where the users live, to estimate the popularity of means of payment for online booking and many other things.
In 2012 in hotelcosmos.ru IBE of visa invitations iVisa. Using our developed service, foreigners can get documents necessary for obtaining Russian visa in few minutes. You can get more detailed information in ivisa.ru.
So, we had created a complete selling site for the Cosmos. Its users got convenient and functional online services. The number of direct reservations grew constantly, but Intourist was looking for extra ways of sales increase. In the end of 2011 we won a tender for complex Internet promotion of the Cosmos. Our client set a serious task on increase in the visibility of the Cosmos brand in the web, increase in traffic, income and in number of reservations.
We worked out a strategy of the website promotion within the limited budget and severe competition at the market of Moscow hotel services. The main efforts were laid to:
During the year we had achieved a 27% increase of unique users and a 24% increase of the number of online reservations. Due to all modifications, introduction of TravelLine’s online services and promotion the site profit had grown by 33%.
Having achieved a success with the Cosmos, we received an order for the development of the corporate website of the Intourist Hotel Group chain. The main goal of this Internet resource is the increasing in rooms and services sales. The second goal is the support of its image as a large responsible corporation, the creation of the image of the company that manages assets professionally and runs business processes seamlessly.
The audit showed that the existing website intourist-hotels.ru solved none of the described problems. It was informative as the VAO Intourist staff filled it with the company news on-the-fly. However, the structure of the site prevented the users from understanding, distorted the image of the company. Besides, a number of important functions (for example, online rooms and services booking) were missing. Because of that the selling constituent was actually missing.
The audit showed that the existing website is not ready to fulfill its tasks and needs a thorough modification.
The new version of the Internet resource, developed by TravelLine in 2012, got the following principal elements:
The website has been developed for only two months after the setting a goal.
The new Internet resource intourist-hotels.ru represents a full selling platform. Now the users can book a room in any hotel of the Intourist Hotel Group chain in 2-3 minutes, thus increasing the number of direct sales. Moreover, the strict design commands respect to the company, reflects the legendary story of the VAO Intourist.
23 December 2012 a mobile version of the website hotelcosmos.ru was released. The absence of the heavy images and superfluous functions makes the loading faster and makes it cheaper for the users of the mobile Internet.
A simplified site version contains just the most important information about the hotel complex. Of course, the mobile version offers online booking.
Interesting numbers: 25% users of the website mobile version enjoy Apple iPad. Another 25% - Apple iPhone. The most popular browsers are Safari (almost 33%), Opera Mini (almost 29%) and Android Browser (21%).
The resource intourist-hotels.ru. is being currently improved and developed. Besides, TravelLine systematically develops the websites for other hotels of the chain. They follow the unified corporate pattern. The direct sales and guests’ loyalty are growing every month. The VAO Intourist receives favorable reviews from partners and investors.
The goal for the future: to raise the sales of the corporate website intourist-hotels.ru and of other chain hotels to the level of the Cosmos.