How do you think for a company like ebookers, a retail online travel agency operating in 14 countries, content managemen

How do you think for a company like ebookers, a retail online travel agency operating in 14 countries, content management systems have evolved?

Published: 06 Nov 2005

How do you think for a company like ebookers, a retail online travel agency operating in 14 countries, content management systems have evolved?

We've seen CMS tools evolve with more affective capabilities around
localisation of content, which is specifically relevant to us operating
in different regions with multiple languages. CMS tools have been on the
market long enough now that they have matured and have well established
core publishing workflows that are better at managing complex levels of
data over multiple locales. These improved workflows allow for greater
flexibility in release management practices across our regional sites
and have allowed us to manage our business more affectively.

What new trends have you witnessed in content management systems?

Some of the original CMS tools were produced for traditional publishing
houses. Clearly CMS tools have reached beyond the publishing arena into
different verticals. We have seen increased personalisation capabilities
within the tools themselves which has changed the way they are being
applied by businesses into multiple regions to manage content
publishing. There has been a distinct shift in usage from some of the
original 'out of the box' heavyweight tools to the adoption of more
lightweight, bespoke, customized solutions. The choice on the market is
now much broader, partly in response to the high price of the commercial
solutions and partly due to the greater flexibility a bespoke tool can
offer. The boom in offshore development houses has also generated a new
wave of available solutions from the traditional commercial options.
Also there has been rise in open source CMS solutions available, with
open source technology becoming increasingly mainstream and providing a
further lower cost option.

How successful do you think sites have been in responding to the
specific desires of a given customer segment rather than showing general
content for everyone?

Localistion and management of content for particular audiences is
clearly important and some sites manage this better than others. CMS is
only part of the solution - there are other considerations to be made
outside of CMS in order to get the right content to the right customer.
Site design, structure and navigation are also very important. And of
course so is site availability. Search engines have become enormously
powerful in directing customers into websites and are now central to any
average Internet user's navigation behavior to be directed to their
desired content. It has therefore become crucial to have an affective
SEO strategy to ensure that search engines are working well for your
sites and direct customers affectively into specific content areas
rather than generic pages like homepages. If the customer can't find
what they are looking for then they will not hang about and search
engines are now core to getting them into the right areas of your site.

How do you assess the current content management tools that allow users
to create and manage web content?

As I've mentioned the number of CMS tools on the market has increased
dramatically providing lots of choice on commercial, bespoke or open
source options. Any assessment of a CMS tools need to be made with
consideration with how you want to manage and publish content within
your business. Understanding what publishing workflow model would best
apply to your working environment is really central to any decision
making process around assessing CMS tools. Most CMS tools have a fairly
standard set of generic functionality and it can be difficult to
recognize the differentiating factor between them to understand which
would best suit your enterprise. A key factor is the ability to
introduce and maintain standards for the delivery of content across our
many markets, thus reducing error and impairment of the user experience
which ultimately impacts sales. Other factors are obviously cost, the
size of your organization and required levels of flexibility, which can
help direct decisions on assessing between the 'build or buy' options.

What do you think have been the major challenges for a company like
ebookers in the recent past? How have you coped with them?

Ebookers has been acquired by Cendant, which has clearly led to
integration challenges into the rest of the Cendant group. We have an
ongoing integration programme affecting almost all areas of the
business, which will have a major bearing on how affective ebookers will
be within the online travel market in the future. The online travel
market itself is extremely competitive but we are confident that with
the fulfillment of our integration strategies we will improve our
standing further within the market. Other typical challenges facing us
and our competitors are around issues such as speed to market, site
stability, use of affective offshore strategies and improving product
and experience for the customer.

Being a subsidiary of Cendant, how do you think you are in an
advantageous position?

Cendant is an $18 billion corporation so we have access to capital
resources that our competitors just don't have. We are also able to
leverage a wider range of product from across the Cendant group which
provides our customers with an improved offering. We also now have more
clout at the negotiation table with vendors, having gone from a medium
size account to a very large one. As a result we can leverage improved
contracts with vendors when purchasing technology products. Before it's
acquisition ebookers retained it's culture from the dotcom start up days
- the acquisition has taken the company forward to the next level with
improved structure, capital resources, maturity and processes which all
result in ebookers becoming a stronger player in the European market.

What's on your agenda? What are your plans for future?

Booking the summer 2006 family holiday on

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