Aegean Sailing School - Case StudySite: www.aegeansailingschool.com
Aegean Sailing School is based on the island of Aegina, near Athens. We have been operating for four years and offer RYA yachting courses in English.
We target the UK market especially but have clients from over 20 countries.
From the outset the company has been run as an Internet based business. 95% of our enquiries come via the Web and we correspond with customers and potential customers principally by email, using attachments rather than paper documents.
The majority of our clients are professional / business people aged 30 – 60 who use the Internet on a regular basis.
We do not do any paper advertising, but promote our site via ‘pay per click’ advertising and links from a number of online sailing websites and directories.
Our existing website was designed by a Director with an IT background. This was successful but we wanted to do the following:
- improve its appearance by using a graphic designer
- improve its appeal with professional copy
- incorporate features such as a sign up to a mailing list
- make it possible for less skilled people to update news items, availability etc.
- attract more customers to enable the company to grow
- set up a contact form that could integrate with an online booking system in the future
We wanted to find a web developer with whom we could develop a suitable ‘rapport’ and who would help us project our very personal image. The site had to convey professionalism, but this must be combined with an informal holiday atmosphere that would give it the feel of sailing and the Greek islands.
We did not have an enormous budget. However cost was not the prime factor we considered in selecting a developer. As we would have to communicate with them by distance rather than face-to-face the most important thing was for us to feel that they understood our needs and would produce what we wanted.
Why We Chose Creospace:
We were able to draw up a detailed specification for our new site which we submitted to ten developers for a quotation. We also sent them a questionnaire to complete. We then chose three companies who were within our budget and whom we felt had best understood our requirements.
One of the advantages of using Creospace was that they had a graphic designer and copywriter on their team. Some of the companies were ‘one man bands’ and we felt that they could not be experts in all fields. Other companies were too big and dealt mainly with large organisations. We thought that we would not be an important client to them. Creospace was the right size and their answers to our questionnaire showed that they thought in a similar way to us.
They could also develop the booking system if we added this in future (we have not moved to this stage yet).
Creospace did not give us the cheapest quote but their price was within our budget, and we felt it was very good value for what they were offering.
How the Process Went:
The first step was to create sample ‘home pages’ with the look and feel we wanted. We had specified colours and listed some sites that we liked. The designer soon came up with a design that was almost right, and we worked on it to get something we were pleased with.
We had a dummy site hosted on Creospace’s server and so we were able to look at and comment on the site as it developed and the features we required were added.
When the site went live there were a few glitches with our server (not the one Creospace normally uses) but after that everything worked well.
It was easy to add and update items using the site management tools that Creospace created. We intend to make more of the site accessible for updating by our staff in this way.
During the first two months of the new site we had slightly fewer enquiries as the new pages were picked up by the search engines. Since then the number of enquiries and resulting bookings have been at least 60 % up on our previous year.
Implementing the 'newsletter sign up' has enabled us to quickly fill last minute places and to keep in touch with previous customers, resulting in more repeat business.
I was totally satisfied with the whole experience of working with Creospace and will continue to use them to update and expand our site as our business grows and develops. I feel that they have a good understanding of our requirements.
Creospace offer the quality we require at a reasonable price.