In the travel sector it’s absolutely paramount that websites look and function correctly because they’re not only selling a dream, but selling typically a high-value product. As web designers specialising in the travel sector, it’s no surprise that we come across a lot of tour operator websites, and unfortunately a lot of them leave a lot to be desired.
So what are the main issues? Well In this article I’ll outline three...
The most important issue that we find is that a lot of travel websites don’t tell the customer what they need to hear. Typically tour operators spend a fair amount of money on a website’s design, but neglect the content. They either supply their web designer with the information that they have to hand, don’t write enough, or write about the wrong things. Writing content is not where you should try and cut corners; by the time a user has visited your website and found their holiday they are almost a customer, and it’s at this stage you need to tell them exactly what they need to hear so that they pick up the phone or book online.
For larger websites it’s also important that users are shown the correct information at the correct time. We’ve developed a specialist website platform for tour operators as we found that the user experience falls down when using systems such as WordPress or Joomla. The differences are discrete, but the results of these differences can be huge. For example, unlike a ‘traditional’ shop where every item is the same, a tour operator may sell 1-4 places on a tour to break even, 5-7 places to start making a return, and 8-12 places to start making a decent profit, so why not prioritise the tours that are almost full by automatically pushing them to the top of the lists? Another example would be that if a user is looking at a specific holiday, maybe automatically show them a premium and lower-cost alternative on the price page. This way if they have more money you can upsell to them, and if they can’t afford it they will look at the lower-cost option rather than moving to a competitor. It’s these small details that are in a specialist system that add up.
The final point is the look and the overall design. There are some sectors where image doesn’t matter; for example I doubt you would mind if your painter and decorator had a home-made website. But there are other sectors where the aesthetics are crucial, for example weddings… and holidays. Families save all year and plan for their holiday; it could be the only two weeks of the year that they let their hair down, and they understandably want it to be perfect. A customer may be about to trust you with several thousands of pounds and, as holidays aren’t a product that they can see or touch, the only information they have to base their decision on is quite often the website. In a nutshell it needs to look perfect.
This is where we come in; not only do we have a specialist platform for tour operators that we can use to make brand new travel websites, we can also work on any existing website making it more effective.
We can also help source images, write content, and best of all we’ll happily look at your website and let you know our thoughts, for free.
If you’d like to know more please get in touch.
The Travel Web Design Blog