With every other business shifting online, the traditional way of travel bookings and user interaction is long gone. And when you are a travel agency owner, you should know that having a travel website is the need of the hour. Users want immediate access to the details and make the booking with a tap of their fingers.
With a growing digital landscape, it is impossible to drive business growth without an online presence. If you already have a travel agency website, then having pretty pictures of destinations isn’t enough. Today, people are searching for travel destinations now and then on the internet. And you need to make sure they land on your travel agency website.
Why do travel agencies need a website?
Firstly, a hospitality business like a travel agency highly relies on credibility. If you want the users to make the bookings, you need to gain their trust. A website helps you gain tremendous credibility with your customers when it is easy to navigate around and find what they are looking for. A good user experience will bring them back even if they don’t take action.
Would instead choose a travel agency with a website or one without a website. The one with a website would appear more trustworthy to you.
Additionally, a solid online presence will make the workflow much easier and faster. Imagine the hassle of verbally communicating the details to every other customer. Instead, having a website helps showcase your services and the details surrounding the travel packages in one place.
With a travel agency website, the users will have hundreds of questions about travel packages or destinations. For this, you can provide all the details on your travel website. Moreover, you get a chance to showcase your brand as you want to be perceived.
But how do you make a website with a smooth & hassle-free user journey and also provide travel information that is searchable and accessible? Below we have listed key features that travel websites must have!
Key features for your travel website design
The following are the features and essential characteristics your travel agency website needs to deliver a flawless user experience.
Responsive Mobile Friendly Travel Website design
In the 21st century, not a single soul has spared themselves from a beautiful yet addictive mobile phone. Additionally, the internet has taken the world by storm. And if you come up and say that your website’s user interface isn’t mobile-friendly. Then there’s a huge problem coming.
More than half of your website traffic will be through mobile screens. If the travel images and the content aren’t visible on the mobile screen, the tiniest inconvenience on your website can push users to leave and look for alternatives.
For that, your travel website design should be made responsive to fit nicely into all screen sizes. It will help drive more conversions. Along with that, the smoother the user experience the better. A responsive website design will help improve the visibility & conversion rate along with aiding in search engine ranking.
Search Filters for Travel Websites
When users land on your travel website they are not sticking to one location. They want suggestions and recommendations. Search forms make your search results more humanized. They help in providing more precise results to the users. Make sure the search forms ask the right questions with clear and compelling filters. There are various parameters to add like the location, price range, dates, etc.
It can get confusing if the search forms are cluttered. Also, a few search filters could be irrelevant, so it is better to remove them. Follow this one rule: keep it simple and easy to use.
The following are a couple of things to keep in mind while optimizing the search filters:
- Geolocation is the starting point of users’ trips or home locations. This way they can see the details like the distance, travel time and such.
- Advanced search: The usual search results will have the basic details, while the advanced search option will help users filter their search. Include filters based on your target audience’s preference, like the type of travel, accommodation, stay duration, etc.
Optimized search results for a specific destination
The search results are another factor in improving the user experience for a travel website. The search results should be specific. Meanwhile, it should showcase relevant information that assists users in comparing the plans.
Now, how do you find out what information they are looking for? Some may want to check whether free wifi and breakfast are included or how far away their stay is from the city centre.
Further, you can also use machine learning tools and cookies to personalize the users’ search results based on their previous bookings, preferences, and demographic data.
Customer reviews & Social media
The travel industry hugely relies on reviews and recommendations. Gaining the customers’ trust and earning brand credibility is a first-world problem where every other firm claims to be the best.
Whenever you, as a user looking for a hotel or a trip package, after checking out the services, the next thing you check off the list is positive reviews. Well, a majority of users follow the reviews before making the bookings. A single negative review can break your travel company’s reputation.
There are plenty of travel review websites where you can be listed and receive unbiased and honest reviews. Some of the known travel review websites are:
As much as the reviews matter, your travel agency’s social presence is equally important in attracting your customers. Make sure to integrate your social media handles into your website.
Predictive search is the drop-down list when the user types anything in the search bar. The users won’t have to type the full names of the destination or a travel package. This helps users find common queries quickly and not have to type for everything he’s looking for. This way, you don’t have to display all search results. Users can find queries and answers to them that they didn’t know about.
It helps quickens the process of searching for anything on your website by saving time for typing, especially on mobile screens. The travellers don’t have time to wait for anything. They want instant search results. Moreover, they count on the predictive search options to gather more information about the travel packages and their destination.
Destination details with HD images
We all love to scroll through images, whether on social media or the website. People like to see where they are travelling. They want to take a brief look at the nearby attractions and the places (including the hotel)they will visit while on their trip.
Display good quality travel images of the place, city, attractions, and hotels listed. Include the images in the search results to make them more appealing. Visuals play a more significant role than just written content.
Augmented reality (AR)
Augmented reality is quite popular in the travel industry. It allows the customers to see what the hotel and the local sites look like before travelling there. Pictures are helpful, but AR allows hotel owners and other businesses to encourage customers to visit the place.
In the digital age, with everyone having a mobile phone tagged to them, why miss the opportunity to leverage the features of AR?
Virtual Reality (VR)
The best part about virtual reality in the travel industry is the virtual tours. They allow users to participate in guided tours anywhere in the world. It also gives a 360-degree view of the locations. With that, the users can explore small and lesser-known places too. It helps gain more trust, and the customers can look at where they are visiting before the bookings.
Transparent in Pricing
The travel website often does not show the users the exact or complete pricing details. Let me tell you, it is a turndown for the users. If you mean to gain credibility, you must ensure that the communication from your side is clear and direct.
Showing different pricing details is quite common. For instance, while you are checking out the package, it will mention a lower package price, and at the time of checkout, adding the additional costs, the prices go up, and the users are unclear about what they are paying for.
Mention what the users are paying for. Don’t go overboard with the information, nor give out too little information. Additionally, allow the users to compare packages. This will be of great help to them and more to you.
Easy booking system
Firstly, an online booking system proves that your travel company runs 24/7. Secondly, it will help you channel your services and represent them well at this touchpoint. Undoubtedly it serves credibility for your travel business.
This is the stage where you can see whether your website is driving conversions or not. Booking a tour/package is the primary action for a travel website. So it is essential that the booking system of your website needs to be super easy and shouldn’t require your users to break a sweat to make a booking.
Ensure that the website’s user interface design is intuitive and minimal. Include all the crucial details in the process, don’t miss out there. Meanwhile, it significantly contributes to your travel website’s user experience.
And ultimately, its most significant advantage is increased revenue! While the booking system gets you more organized, you can focus on the plans and packages and how to make them more profitable. Online booking systems help you quickly sell travel packages along with add-ons.
Google Map integration
Google map integration is the best way to boost user engagement on your travel website. This will help the users to check out the areas and nearby locations of the destination. The more details users will find the more chance of landing the bookings.
Google Maps will be more convincing for the users as they see their destinations through the maps. Moreover, if you lay out the available trips or packages to the destinations on an interactive map itself with HD images would work great!
Payment integration & Simple checkout
Along with the online booking system, you must avail a wide range of payment options. Being a part of the travel, easy and fast payment transactions is essential. And with a travel website, you must have proper payment gateways to make the checkout process quick and easy.
There’s a plethora of payment integrations available such as Paypal Express, Stripe, PayU money, PayU biz, etc. you don’t want the customers to leave the payment incomplete and cancel the booking just because your website didn’t support a payment mode.
The travel business is a highly competitive market, and a full-functioning website can help you beat the odds. Providing information and displaying attractive destination pictures is not enough. Everything is crucial, from guiding the users to make the bookings, reading your blogs & reviews, and then coming back to your travel agency website.
Building a travel website is not a one-time process. You have to keep updating it regularly and optimize it. The website will become the first touchpoint for your travel company. So keep focusing on the user experience with the relevant features more than anything.