We’ve all heard the adage, “first impressions are lasting impressions”. And this is even more true when it comes to your travel website. A study by digital marketing research company Econsultancy, showed that 40% of Internet users will abandon a site if it takes more than three seconds to load.
Let that sink in.
Reality is, by the time you finish reading this sentence – a potential travel client has probably already left your site.
Not to worry, Big Ambitions is here to help.
The oh-so-undeniable importance of User Experience
User Experience (UX) is the number one aspect you must consider when creating or upgrading your travel website. UX is basically how a user feels while interacting with a digital system – this could be your website, via desktop or mobile, or it could even be your social media platforms.
There is no right or wrong when it comes to UX as it is different for everyone. But a good rule of thumb is to remember that your customer’s experience of your travel content and website will always be different to yours. So listen to their feedback. Some ways you can explore this is by incorporating user personas on your site, asking users to fill out user surveys, and/or by conducting interface testing.
So remember to always consider UX when incorporating any feature on a digital platform.
Here’s our list of the most important features of a good travel website:
1. Evocative visual content
We are visual creatures. Videos are shared 1,200 percent more than links and text posts combined and photos are liked 200% more than text updates. So a good travel website will make use of images and video to inspire and transmit messages. Visual content is imperative in making a strong statement and will ultimately have a bigger impact on your website.
2. Search filters – take it to the next level
Search filtering is a must for a travel website. With so many elements to consider when booking a trip, like, different types of travel, destinations to go to, other aspects such as accommodation and events, your travel website must make searching for any of these categories as easy possible.
But if you want to stand out from the rest – use predictive searching. Predictive searching is a drop-down list that pops up immediately while typing, so users don’t have to hit ‘search’ to find common queries. It is a great way to find results quickly, avoid displaying a large list of results, and display questions the user hasn’t thought of.
Adding a favourites list to your travel website’s search section is another way to upgrade a simple search. Travellers who have not yet decided on a destination can use it as a tool to remember the places that took their fancy in an earlier search.
3. Reviews and testimonials
Unlike 30 years ago, clients are much more in control of the type of purchases they make and are more likely to research their options before converting.
Data released by PhocusWire last year showed that travellers will trawl 38 websites before buying travel. Testimonials, customer reviews, and recommendations are some of the top ways travellers do research before making any purchase decision. Something like a great review in your comment section is much more likely to result in a conversion. And as an added bonus, reviews also help your website improve its Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) ranking.
4. Clear and accurate pricing
Although this can sometimes be tricky, unclear pricing or pricing with hidden charges and taxes is one of the easiest ways to frustrate a client. It can also have dire consequences for your brand. Make use of pricing tables that are simple and clear: it should offer just the right amount of information to help a traveller choose. Showing too much information can be overwhelming and if you use too little, your client is likely to look elsewhere for something more comprehensive.
In cases where pricing is dependent on other factors, make sure you communicate that clearly.
5. Awesome travel content
As travel agents, suppliers or travel websites, it is highly unlikely that you will offer entirely unique products to your competitors. But you can showcase your offering and make your product and brand stand out by having excellent content.
Your static content should be clear, relevant and make use of key words effectively. And by “effectively”, we mean, it has to make sense. You cannot use key words like they are salt and pepper.
A blog is a must. Global digital marketing leaders HubSpot, say not having a blog on your site is one of the top 17 things that irritate users. A strong blog helps inspire your clients to make travel purchases. In a recent talk at the ASATA Innovation Summit on 14 March 2019, Stuart Adamson of the Thomas Cook Media Group, said that 60% of its website users actually came to the site for inspiration on travel ideas. Meaning, these users had no idea where they wanted to travel, they just knew they wanted to travel. Use your travel blog content to both inspire and inform your travellers, and you’re likely to attract many new clients.
6. Google map
This can be added to your travel website quite easily. An important principle in aiding UX is making things convenient for your user. Help users find locations by adding Google map links. It’s not uncommon for travellers to have no idea where their next destination is actually situated. Make it easy for people to find by avoiding the tedious cutting and pasting of text into a map to view its location.
7. Social Media integrations
Travellers want to tell stories of their travels. They want to engage with other travellers, share experiences, find tips and make recommendations. And the best and easiest place to do this is via social media. Use user-friendly social integrations on your travel website to enable your website users to take part in these conversations. Social media is also an effective way of driving customer engagement and online reputation management strategies.
You can take this a step further by using user-generated content. Have links or posts on customers telling their stories to destinations, showcasing what they enjoyed, what they found most useful, and what their suggestions to other travellers would be.
Connect with us!
Strong content is one of the most important features for a good travel website. And producing that content is not easy. It takes time, effort and expertise. Big Ambitions’ travel content writers have worked in the industry. We have both the specialist knowledge and industry contacts to connect travel and tourism industry players to their clients via their websites, social media channels, and other platforms. Are you interested in connecting? Why not contact us here.