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The biggest destination in travel, ‘the beach’ goes digital on new global beaches website

April 11, 2014 OTA News No Comments Email Email

The beaches of the world are being given a hi-tech, digital make-over to make them more visible and accessible to beach-lovers in the new online era.  

A website with a singular but global focus on beaches has emerged, building on an original set of maps that meticulously detail beachfront hotels across the planet – but only those establishments directly on the beach without a road between rooms and the water.

This core mapping function within the site, The Beachfront Club, has already helped many beach-lovers around the world, saysunnamed (12) Chinese director Jade Wei.  It helps by quickly identifying true beachfront hotels and allowing users to avoid the misleading advertising of hotels pretending to be on the beach, when they are not, she says.

Now, with over 8,000 beachfront hotels on its maps, the site is expanding with plans to become ‘the world’s foremost beaches travel, accommodation, info and environment resource online’ says founder, Australian photographer and publisher John Everingham.  New beach ratings and environment functions are already working on all beaches in 106 countries, he says, introducing interactivity, and building the kind of content that today’s web users want to see – details of beaches from other visitors, not by hotel PRs and travel marketers.

The full potential of the site lies in its ability to present the most realistic picture ever of beaches and beachfront resorts in any corner of the planet to users in any other corner, says Everingham – quickly and conveniently. And the full template is currently seen only on the beaches of Thailand, Vietnam and Myanmar, though it is now being spread to other countries (Philippines, Malaysia, Bali), and later will be applied to all regions including the Caribbean and The Med.

In Thailand the site’s new beach travel guides actively describe and illustrate each beach in detail and scope that’s probably not even been tried elsewhere.  The writer gives thorough descriptions of each beach, its level of development, atmosphere and surroundings plus the facilities and activities on sand and water before venturing beyond to describe and illustrate back-of-the-beach communities, landscape and facilities.  The final beach touch is perhaps the close-up macro photo showing the grains of sand on each beach, and how remarkably different they can be.

Approximately 180 Thai beaches are mapped and photographed in the site, while ‘editor’ images give a non-advertising view of over 1,000 beachfront accommodations ranging from backpacker bungalows to 5-star luxury resorts, all shot by John Everingham.  His 20 years experience publishing tourism magazines in Thailand, including Phuket Magazine which he established in 1989, and Bangkok Airways magazine, Fah Thai, which he established in 1990, are contributing to this new ‘beaches’ venture.

Users can book hotels through the site using several of the world’s major booking engines, including Agoda, Expedia, Priceline and others.  Hotels certified by the site as ‘true beachfront’ can login to claim their own pages, and upload info an photos. Later in the year, says Wei, The Beachfront Club will begin selling Premium Membership to qualified hotels, offering them a range of marketing advantages for a ‘small monthly fee’.

The Beachfront Club originally opened its bare maps early in 2011, only to fall victim to lack of funding and the internal conflicts that resulted.  Following the collapse of the first venture and loss of most of the site, partners Everingham and Wei picked up the pieces, found new funding, more professional IT engineers and rebuilt.  The new site follows the original core concepts while adaptations are constantly being made to meet the fast-changing web world.

Video, a hot favourite for climbing Google ranks and meeting the expectations of today’s online users, is the newest function being added to the beaches here.  And, say the owners, it is one more reason for confidence that their strategy to develop the world’s foremost ‘beaches’ travel website is on track.

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