BULGARIA is a place worth to visit. Divine mixture of splendid culture, ancient ruins and golden
treasuries, home of mighty kings and fallen gods, beautiful nature and wаrm hospitality. There is so much to experience and taste but for the regular tourist time is always limited. Hiring the (right) tour guide could make the difference between the failure and once in a lifetime experience.
Guidesbg.com is the official website of Association of Bulgarian tour guides. Organisation is based in Sofia/ Bulgaria and is the biggest tour guides’ organisation in the country with its 500+ members. Website shows up the organisation to the world but also works as a professional network for the members giving them a place to present themselves, been found and hired, media for publishing and interacting with each other.
Individual travelers, tour operators and agents could search for guides filtering them by language and other specific skills. Every user could send one aggregate inquiry to chosen professionals and hire the best guide for the job.
People from the organization needed their website live – especially search engine part, before the start of the touristic season 2015. Planning, design, development, migration and field tests for stage one was done for less than two months.
We’ve worked for membership organization for first time in our practice and didn’t realize how different is this compared to interact with a business with strong hierarchical structure. The pressure and endeavor was huge.
stage one/ the process
First we focused on member’s profile pages, searching and mass mailing engine. We had three field tests with typical users of the website (tour operators & guides) and results did huge impact on our UI/UX. We took some feedback from Assosiation‘s private zone in Facebook where people commented their impressions and opinions.
Members’ age varies from 20 to 60+ years old and their computer literacy differs quite a lot too. We did 2 type profile pages – Basic (for older members) and Advanced for people with Internet culture and interest in publishing content. Many of Bulgarian tour guides are also professional journalists, archaeologists, linguists, historians, Culturologists – people with attitude, opinion and strong writing skills.
Last we concentrated to achieve full functionality of Advanced profiles, editing of Articles and Events.
Website was developed under WordPress – wholly responsive and dynamic. We needed every member to manage their profile alone no mater of his computer literacy. Equally important was tour operators and individual travelers who are guides’ most important clients. We specially tailored our search and filtering to their needs. Field tests with target groups helped extremely clearing and sharpening our interfaces.
Every page is designed to focus visitor’s attention on its primary tasks. Home page distributes visitors to main website arteries – hiring a guide, presenting the Association and entry point for members to share, learn and interact.
9 months after launch Assosiation of Bulgarian Tour Guides had their general assembly. For the event we prepared some statistics performance of the website.
Every member had successfully updated their profile at least once no matter his age.
Search engine and filters were easily adopted by visitors. Website was so heavily exploited that fourth month after the launch our provider sent warning email we need upgrade hosting plan because of the massive traffic. We did.
Over mass mailing forms was sent 1000 online enquiries to members. The biggest surprise was phone calls were much more preferred – unfortunately impossible for measuring.
Average time spent on a page is 4,08 minutes and stays stable so far.
992 Profile Updates
730,000 Ptofile Shown in Search Results
56,000 Profile Pages Visited
1,000 Enquiries Sent Online
11% of visited pages are article or event
~4min Average Time/Page