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New destination websites, part 1

SmarterTravel

I’ve got a serious backlog of information about new and recently revamped destination websites, so I’m going to take one day a week for the next couple of weeks to review them. This week, that day is today. Up first: Thailand, Vietnam, and the Seychelles.

  • ThailandHotDeal.com: It may sound like a fly-by-night site, but it’s actually run by the Tourism Authority of Thailand. Launched in late summer, the website is a clearinghouse for deals on hotels and packages from travel providers in Thailand. I clicked through on a few of the featured deals and found well-organized information. There’s no instant booking though; clicking on the “Book Now” button just opens an email to the hotel, in which you request a reservation.
  • FootprintsVietnam.com: This new arm of an established tour company lists hotels by city. I debated whether or not to list this, as it doesn’t have a tourism board association, but decided that as a way of browsing hotels, it’s pretty useful. Clicking through on a hotel link gives you well-organized information, though the booking link connects to a request form instead of an instant-booking service. Apart from hotel information, Footprint Vietnam also has country information that is useful and direct, including cultural norms, climate, and how to travel responsibly.
  • Seychelles.com: This tourism board website has been revamped with usability and speed in mind. It’s a good site, full of information and easy to use, and the categories match the way I (and I’ll bet others) look for destination information. The only downside is that when I got down to the specific information level, some of the information was at first frustratingly opaque. For instance, I got to the beach section and expected a little summary of what to look forward to in a Seychelles beach excursion, and then be able to browse beaches that were grouped by island. But though I could see beach names and island on the main list page, it mostly looked like a long list that gave me no indication of where to start. However, once I clicked through I found plenty of information that made the choices distinct.

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