We all know that having an online presence is crucial for businesses today, and the travel sector is no exception.
In 2018, 82% of online travel bookings were made via a website or mobile app without any human interaction. Nowadays, consumers utilise the internet for both researching and booking their trips, and this trend is only set to continue.
However, building the perfect website can be a daunting task, especially if you don’t have experience in the area.
Are you a travel agency looking for advice on how to create or develop your website?
Or, are you struggling to generate leads with your current strategy?
Well, we’re here to help.
In this blog post we’re going to give you our top tips on how to create, develop and improve your travel agency website.
What makes a great travel website?
Today’s digital-savvy consumer has high expectations when it comes to travel bookings and customer experience.
Research has shown that online travel websites have the highest cart abandonment rate, and in general, struggle to convert leads.
Therefore, it is essential to create an attractive, engaging and user-friendly website in order to entice potential customers, convert your leads into sales and stand out in a market as competitive as the travel industry.
What the website should include
Your travel website should be easy to navigate and should include up-to-date, relevant and accurate information about your company and its offerings.
TravelPulse recommends that you first focus on the homepage; after all, it is the first page that potential customers will see, and is what will give the first impression of your company. Use impressive, high-quality and attention-grabbing imagery and keep any text short and clear.
Other important sections of your website are the ‘about’ and ‘contact’ pages. This allows potential customers to find out more about your company and how to get in touch with you. Whether by email, telephone or live chat, it is essential to offer contact options for any customer queries or doubts, and be sure to link to your social media pages too.
In order to stand out from the vast array of travel agencies on the market you should showcase your tour packages, offer attractive and competitive prices and communicate why customers should book with you and not other companies.
Booking and payment options should be reliable, simple and secure. According to GlobeNewswire, the Covid-19 pandemic increased the need and demand for technology-driven payments, and found that ease of payment is an important factor in consumers’ travel decisions and choice of travel agent or tour operator.
Another aspect which is key in creating an excellent website is personalisation. As we discussed in Automation versus Personalisation, offering a personalised experience is crucial in order to gain a competitive advantage, and 87% of customers are more likely to book with travel websites that offer personalised services.
Your website can also be used to give examples of potential itineraries that your company provides. Nezasa’s Tripbuilder software allows travel agencies to plan, book and personalise their customer’s itineraries in a simple, digital and easy to use platform that can be integrated with your website to offer an efficient booking solution.
Extra content such as customer testimonials or reviews are also a great way to gain trust with potential customers, and you can even consider creating a blog in order to engage potential and returning customers, provide extra information about your company and drive traffic to your website using SEO.
5 steps to creating a travel agency website
Before creating your website, figure out the main goals and objectives of your company and what you want to achieve. Are you trying to increase leads, reduce the administrative steps involved in your booking processes or increase brand awareness? What kind of products do you offer, who is your target audience and what do you want to convey to potential clients?
Once you have an idea of what kind of website you want to create and what your budget is, do your research to find out which type of website builder is best for your company and its specific needs.
Design and create your website and start to sell your products. Create engaging and attractive content that will drive clients to your website and allow them to make online bookings.
Analyse the performance of your website and tailor it to your audience. Consumer behaviour can be measured using metrics such as page views, new and returning customers, page depth and average time on page.
Take information gained from analysis, sales and customer feedback in order to constantly improve your website. The use of a CRM software can assist in tracking and analysing customer data, and hiring outsiders to work on aspects like UX design, content marketing and SEO is also a great way to optimise your website. Be sure to regularly update your website in order to keep up to date with industry trends, customer demand, offerings and prices.
Where to build the website?
Website builders such as Wix and SquareSpace are excellent for those without experience in web development and coding. They are highly user-friendly, simple and fast, and offer an array of templates to choose from.
Content Management Systems (CMS) such as WordPress and Joomla are great for more advanced users, or for those who want to hire a developer. These types of websites offer more flexibility, however are also more complex.
Another option is to hire a developer to build the website for you. This option allows you to specify and customise everything from the design and functionality to the content of the website. This option is perhaps the most costly but offers many benefits.
Digital Marketing for Travel Agency Websites
When building a website for your travel brand it is important to take some factors into consideration before you start to develop it.
Site speed is a crucial factor for your business, and studies have found that:
- 47% of visitors expect that the website loads in <2s
- 40% of users will leave if the website is not loaded in <3s
- 100ms faster usually means +1% Revenue
- 1 second delay means a 7% reduction in conversions
Meaning, if your website isn’t fast, you are losing money.
Plus, with a fast website you will have better rankings on google, create a better UX, have a lower CPC and a higher percentage of conversions in google Ads.
How fast should it be?
According to google there are 3 metrics (web core vitals) that you need to nail:
- LCP <=2.5s
- FID <=100ms
- CLS <=0.1
If you are interested in knowing more check this link from google.
Before you launch your website, it is important to consider how you want people to find you. We recommend running a keyword research to understand which terms are the most important for you, which will then allow you to optimise your pages according to those specific keywords.
When choosing keywords you should take 3 points into consideration:
- Number of monthly searches
- Ranking difficulty
- The fit between the keyword, your business and your target audience
You can use freemium softwares like Moz or SemRush to do this.
Whether you choose wix or wordpress, it’s important to understand if they have integration with your current software. Are you using Hubspot? If so, it’s advisable to choose a CMS that offers that integration.
For more information on this topic, check out our article on marketing for tour operators here.
Online booking engines
Online booking engines are online applications that capture and process online reservations, allowing customers to make their bookings directly from your website.
Here at Nezasa, we also offer an online booking engine. Our internet booking engine empowers your customers to plan, personalise and book multi-product and multi-stop trips. Our TripBuilder software is the leading itinerary booking engine, offering unrivalled flexibility in building a trip in real time.
You may want to see it live, check these websites from Nezasa customer’s:
Find out more about how to integrate our IBE into your travel website here.
The cost of the website
The cost of building a website differs depending on many factors, such as:
- The size of your company
- What kind of tours you offer
- The functionality and features you require
- How you will handle reservations
- Whether you choose to integrate an external booking system
Travel websites with simple functionality usually cost somewhere between 1000 to 5000 US dollars. Another factor to take into account is the cost of hiring developers, integrating enhanced security and payment options as well as domains and hosting.
Best examples of travel websites
Today’s top travel and tourism websites include those from companies such as booking.com, tripadvisor.com, airbnb.com and expedia.com. These websites were ranked based on metrics such as average time spent on the website, the average number of pages visited by users as well as bounce rate.
While it may be hard to compete with some of the biggest names in the industry, smaller travel agencies can look at these websites as examples of how to create the best possible user experience.
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