27 January 2006

Real directories and the joy of discovery

I am often (once or twice most weeks) surprised (delighted) by the comprehensive coverage of my directory.

(It's a golden rule that, unlike most directories, I never publish a list until I think it is complete, near complete... or in the case of 'special places to stay', reasonably populated. Users should never see a page that is empty or populated with just a couple of paid advertisers)

Yesterday, for a typical example, I got a press release about a new low-cost operator, Fresh Holidays, which I thought looked interesting. I wrote a 'holiday ideas' item about them. Then I went to add them to the listings for a number of countries and found them already listed in every case! Cool! But... a bit worrying that I had no recollection of them. Must be getting senile.

It follows that the occasions when I run across a travel provider that I didn't know - and on checking, REALLY didn't know - are few and far between. Which makes them all the more fun.

I've just found one.

GW Travel. They specialise in exclusive private train journeys through Russia, China and Canada. In particular their own private Trans-Siberian Express, which they've been operating for 13 years.

I'm stunned that I have not come across them before (especially since they are an ABTA member). In fact, they look familiar, I suspect I have, but just forgot them. Either way, it is a delight to find them.

That's what REAL directories are about - the joy of discovery. Companies are listed because I can't wait for users to find them. Not because they paid to be listed, or were trawled by a bot.

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