Columbus Travel Media re-launches top consumer travel resource, the World Travel Guide

Columbus Travel Media re-launches top consumer travel resource, the World Travel Guide

Leading global travel content provider, Columbus Travel Media (CTM), will this Friday (30 July 2010) re-launch its digital consumer travel resource, the World Travel Guide, as part of its ongoing business expansion strategy.

The rollout of the new site begins on Friday, when it will go live in Beta via a link from the existing site. In addition, current subscribers, Facebook members and Twitter followers of Columbus Travel Media will be sent a URL link directing them to the new site. A full version of the Spanish, French and German language sites is set to follow. 

The World Travel Guide is a comprehensive guide to the world’s best travel destinations. Its print heritage stretches back 29 years, with the online portal reaching its tenth year in 2009. It covers all aspects of global travel, from cities to airports, ports to resorts, attractions to events and includes up-to-date travel news, features and mini guides.

The portal - found at www.worldtravelguide.net

  - has undergone a complete refresh of its content and navigation, boasting a new design and brand identity. The digital portal has also been completely rebuilt on a new technical platform and hosting environment.

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Jason Trout, CEO of Columbus Travel Media, said: “Columbus Travel Media is focussed on delivering high quality content and usability across its rapidly expanding portfolio of digital products. With the World Travel Guide we wanted to put the user first and build a site that gave them a content-rich, tactile and inspirational experience. Engaging our audiences and encouraging participation is key to our ongoing strategy.”

CTM worked alongside Start Creative, the leading international brand and digital agency, to redesign and transform the World Travel Guide into a visually rich website with simple navigation and uncluttered pages. The site has been restructured to put the users’ needs first; content is faster and easier to find: from quickly finding vital travel information, inspiring holiday ideas, searching for the latest deals or booking a trip.

With new travel tools and user-generated content set to appear on the website later in 2010, users will be able to upload their own information, advice and travel pictures.

The new, expanded World Travel Guide will feature:
·    Expert information, advice and opinion from World Travel Guide editorial team
·    More inspirational content with increased exposure to the ‘Holiday Ideas’ channels and new galleries, more travel deals and features to help users find the perfect trip
·    Larger and higher quality images to inspire users and create a premium feel to site
·    More maps, with fully integrated Google maps allowing users to ‘drill down’ to destinations and see the exact locations of attractions and things to do along with accessibility and opportunities to find events, car hire and hotels
·    Seamless integration with commercial partners with new advertising and sponsorship positions

Built on an open source CMS and hosted by leading UK hosting company UKFAST, the World Travel Guide can now publish articles more quickly and manipulate content across multiple platforms in a faster, more concise and more efficient manner that previously.

The portal will also be data-ready for mobile and apps, its flexible content and geocoded data are set to create an exciting mobile site and specially-designed apps. CTM is currently working on a combination of free and paid-for apps for the World Travel Guide, starting with an iPad and iPhone app for their new World Travel Atlas product.

John Finlayson, Commercial Director of Columbus Travel Media: “The World Travel Guide will occupy a unique space in the market, combining all the content of a publishing company with a rich heritage and the tools and functionality that the modern traveller demands. This is the first stage of the new site, we will be rolling out many new tools and features for our users very soon. Columbus Travel Media is now in the perfect position to grow and dominate this market.”