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Website scoops travellers

THERE seems to be no such thing as a solitary medium for publications these days, with the evolution of media closely following that of technology. It began with books becoming films, moved into magazines becoming television programs, and now newspapers, magazines, films, books and television programs all have their own Internet sites.

Perth publication Scoop magazine has had its own Internet sight scoop.com almost since the magazine’s inception in 1997, promoting articles, information and issues from the quarterly lifestyle magazine.

This May the publishers of Scoop will launch a spin off site, scooptraveller.com which will compete with the WA Tourism Commission’s site launched a couple of years ago.

Scoop Traveller will pick up where the tourism and travel end of the scoop.com site leaves off.

The 33-year-old director of Scoop David Hogan hopes the site will trade off the reputation of the WA based magazine while securing Scoop’s place in the market.

Although Scoop magazine is a firmly based and well circulated publication, it holds the enviable and potentially precarious position of standing solo in a niche market. Mr Hogan said he held fears for the potential safety of his independently-owned and run magazine.

“If a large media firm like Murdoch decided to run another publication in opposition to Scoop and throw all of the money and resources they had behind it, there’s simply no way we could compete,” he said.

Scooptraveller.com looks set to be the biggest WA travel Internet site featuring approximately 800 pages of information and 3000 individual listings on the databases.

While scoop.com registers about 10,000 hits per week, Mr Hogan’s short-range targets for Scoop Traveller are triple that.

The potential popularity of the site may well be almost guaranteed simply because of its size; featuring 11 regions, 44 sub-regions and eight databases.

“We have not taken the standard approach of only putting paid operators online, which severely inhibits the value of the site to visitors,” Mr Hogan said.

“It will include all known operators in one of eight databases free of charge.”

Scoop Traveller it seems is following the advice of Kevin Cosner’s character’s father in the movie Field of Dreams, “Build it and they will come”.

Mr Hogan hopes that by creating such an all-encompassing travel site, and promoting it heavily, traffic will build to a point where free-listed operators will pay for premium listings.

“Once the value of Scoop Traveller has been demonstrated as a way for operators to reach their market, value-added promotional opportunities, primarily in the form of premium listings, will be made available,” Mr Hogan said.

“Premium listings provide additional tools such as images, web links, priority listing, email booking inquiries and more.”

The sheer size of the site will also allow Scoop Traveller, much like Scoop magazine, to be placed almost without rival on the Internet market.

The site will provide information such as weather, “things to do”, other information sources and links to other websites for all 11 regions and 44 sub-regions in WA, as well as databases including accommodation, wineries, night life, eating out, tours, arts and events, attractions and other services.

“Once the traveller has decided where they would like to go, Scoop Traveller provides detailed information about all the travel and hospitality-related services on eight easy to use databases that allow for both general and detailed searches,” Mr Hogan said.

“Once the traveller has found what they are looking for, email inquiry and booking facilities plus direct links to operators’ websites are provided.

“Visitors to Scoop Traveller can even search by date for arts and events in individual regions.”

Mr Hogan plans to work closely with tourism associations in WA, encouraging them to place information on the site, use that section of their site as their web page and give them direct access to the site for updating static information.

Developed by Miles Burke, with assistance from Paul Mosedale, Scoop Traveller is on schedule for its May launch.

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