Adopting Rich Internet Applications: What it is and how your hotels can use it
By Maurice Martin President, COO & Founder, iRise Inc. | May 19, 2010
Today's most technologically advanced Web sites may appear to have more in common with your PC desktop applications, such as word processors, spreadsheets and email, than with your hotel brand's consumer-facing site.
The advancement of rich Internet applications (RIA) allows Web designers to build a high degree of interaction into a single Web page, which enables visitors to navigate through a process much faster as additional mouse clicks and page loads become unnecessary. In fact, RIAs push the definition of the term Web page because it is now possible to design a site worth of functionality into a single "page."
While very few Web sites are as rich as Google Maps or social networking sites such as Facebook or VibeAgent, elements of RIA - which may be as basic as highlighting an image when you move your cursor over it - have become common across industries, including hospitality. Many hoteliers are reassessing their sites in light of this broad acceptance of rich functionality. How can my site benefit from RIA? What degree of implementation is right for my brand?
RIAs represent a real opportunity for hoteliers to improve their online offerings because they are the tools that provide Web designers the greatest flexibility in meeting the needs of your brand. But added richness will not always equate to an improved (or even a good) experience. At every point, you must think about what the best possible experience is for your customers.
Is RIA Right for You?
Most hoteliers realize the importance of their Web face to their customers and the extent to which customers interact with the brand through that medium; therefore, we should always invest in the best possible experience for our visitors. RIAs provide the potential to take that experience to the next level. The best way to decide if RIA is right for you is to recognize your current Web site's unique problems and identify optimum opportunities for improvement.
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