NEW YORK -- A revamped Switzerland Tourism Web site, planned to
launch early this year, should add more muscle to the tourist
board's agent specialist program by providing retailers with
additional sales leads, an official with Switzerland Tourism said.
The Web site, MySwitzerland.com, receives some 3,500 visitors each
day, according to Urs Eberhard, director, North America,
The New York office of the tourist board receives about 4,000
inquiries per month by phone, which produce 30,000 leads to
Switzerland Network specialists each year.
Calls to the tourist board are qualified as A-, B- or C-level
leads after determining if the caller already booked or plans to
book and if the caller is interested in having an agent's
assistance, Eberhard said.
Through the revamped Web site, consumers will not only be able
to search for an agent by city, state, ZIP code or area code -- as
is now the case -- but also for agents who claim knowledge about
their special interests, such as skiing or hiking, and who have
visited the destination of choice.
Eberhard's philosophy behind the Web referral system is that
consumers should be able to make an informed decision when
searching for an agent.
For example, "[to know that] these agents have been in Zermatt
and know a little about skiing," he said, should help consumers
make an educated choice when selecting an agent.
When a consumer agrees to send details to a selected agent,
Eberhard said, that consumer can reveal if and when he or she plans
"The agent [can say] more precisely: 'This is a lead; this is an
information request.' And [agents will] know if it pays to invest
time in the lead, or if it's a valuable contact for future
business," Eberhard said.
He added that the new version of the MySwitzerland.com Web site
will be faster and more visually pleasing than the current site and
will feature a list of the 100 most-frequently requested events,
grouped by season.
Switzerland Tourism began making its agent specialist program
more Web-savvy this November through the introduction of the
Network Corner, a password-protected section of the Web site for
The Network Corner provides Switzerland specialists with
destination and supplier news, commission specials, information
about study tours and workshops, downloadable art for flyers and a
means to efficiently order brochures and promotional material and
to report room nights booked.