Coach hire companies provide a great service to people, but are they stuck in their old ways? Before the introduction of the World Wide Web to consumers, coach hire companies would largely rely on the telephone as a way to serve quotations, and use traditional methods of marketing (e.g. direct mail, yellow page, etc) to get the word out. Fast forward to the present day, and a lot of companies are still in this same mindset, perhaps with the tech-savvy amongst them making use of email. However since then, consumers have become notoriously lazy and convenience oriented. People are simply too busy to find a suitable coach hire company, but have the companies realised this?
Does the coach hire company have a website?
There is no excuse. If your business does not have a website by now, it is quite a feat that you are still in business. The average user will no longer make the trip all the way to the other side of the room to fetch a heavy yellow book, and then trawl through to the convenient section and eventually pick a company. Why would they when they could take their smart phone out of their pocket and Google “Coach hire x” (x being the user’s town). It is essential that any coach hire company hoping to stay in business, has a website. Otherwise they will soon find themselves muscled out by those that take advantage of the web. You may find more information at Nolan
Is the website information usable and accessible?
A coach hire company may have a website, but is the information usable? Does it comply with the Data Discrimination Act? A company providing coach hire in Leeds previously had a website which caused the user to wait approximately 20 seconds until an animated coach had driven past the screen. Two seconds into that animation, the user had already left to find a competitor’s website. Furthermore, this had dire implications for their search engine ranking. As Google has trouble (although it has improved recently) reading Flash formats, much of the website information was not being picked up in the search engine. As a result, the company even struggled to rank first for their own company name. A coach hire company should ask themselves “What does a customer want to know?”. The answer to this should be expressed in some form on the website, and it should be easy to find. If it isn’t, you may have just given a competitor extra business.
Can the company be found easily on Google?
Of course, you can still have a website, but it doesn’t mean you will be found when a user searches for their specific term. This means you will either need to hire the services of a SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) consultant, or consider advertising on your chosen search engine. SEO specialists will optimise your web pages to ensure they will perform well in search engines for your desired key phrase. In addition, they will most likely help build links back to the website to ensure it its popularity. SEO specialists tend to take a monthly fee, but their efforts mean your website will rank highly in the normal results (other known as organic results) and are a long term benefit. Alternatively, you may want to setup some ads on Google. They require little effort to setup and results can be seen instantly, however they only work for as long as you keep spending. Coach hire companies should also take advantage of the local business centre on Google (now rebranded Places). Getting listed with Places will mean that you will turn up in results for coach hire in your geographic area. This is a feature which has recently become more prominent in local search.
Giving quotes through the web
It’s good to see that some coach hire companies not only use their website to give key information to customers, but now also to give quotes. However, many of these online forms are insecure, unusable and can actually be more time consuming if improperly designed. If you are thinking about giving quotes through the web, ensure you approach an experienced web professional to create this for you. Users need guidance, so don’t give them one big message field and expect them to enter all the information you need to give them an accurate quote. By not being specific, you are creating extra admin work for yourself, and crucially more effort for the user. Get it right the first time by ensuring you ask what time they want to be picked up from, how many passengers there are and so on.