5 Best-Practice Trends for Online Travel Sites in 2013
By Mark Simpson President & Founder, Maxymiser | October 28, 2012
In 2012, the travel industry saw more business move online (and to mobile) than ever before. In 2013, these online and mobile bookings will collide with another major industry force: a rebounding economy. As expendable income trickles back into the pockets of consumers, it is absolutely critical that travel companies prepare their online offerings for the influx of dollars that will be headed their way. If they don't, their competition surely will.
Your website has one end-goal: to get travelers to book with you. But according to Forrester Research, one in five leisure travelers encounter problems booking online. Unfortunately, poorly optimized websites are the crux of this problem. And, turning visitors into booked travelers is no small feat. After all, a travel purchase is drawn out, complicated, thoughtful. It's much more complex than selling a pair of shoes. But in the vast sea of destinations, promotions, and reservations your website offers, it's important to get back to basics when it comes to content optimization. Simple is better. Less is more. Easy is essential.
When it comes to content optimization, the online travel sites have been a step behind the rest for far too long. It's time for a reality check and realization of what is going to propel your online sales-and conversion rates-to the top. If you're going to spend time, money and effort driving traffic to your site, isn't it time you give your site's presentation the same love?
The good news is, not every travel site out there suffers from poor experiences-allowing those of us that do, to glean some insights and best practices from their strategic and seemingly, rewarding sites. Some sites actually are setting a trend-a trend that should be tested with your live audience.
Trend 1: Stunning Homepage Imagery and Stand-out Search Widgets
Soon-to-be voyagers come to your site looking to book an experience. Hitting them with bold, beautiful photographs of your hotel, cars, destinations, etc. will immediately draw them into your site and offers. Why? They want to see the real-life experience they will have. And since your number one goal is to turn your visitors into booked travelers, allowing them to immediately start trip planning from the homepage is a must. Strategic styles and placement of the search widget, so that it stands out against your imagery and promotions, is essential to getting the visitor on the right path.