How to promote a travel company. Part 1.
Travel companies need an outstanding website – not just in looks but in functionality. It’s by far the most important thing to generate travel bookings since a high percentage of the general public research and book their vacation online. If a travel start-up wants to persuade travellers to jet away with them instead of with other operators, and to snatch a generous share of the market at the same time, a perfectly branded and effective website is a must.
So what exactly is an effective travel company website? It must look superb, be chalked-full of useful information, be easy to navigate and persuade travellers to buy. It must also appeal to a wide range of different travellers. When I’m looking for my next getaway, I want to see lots of photos of the destinations. Others are swayed by the price. And others still are very particular about the accommodation, wanting to know about ocean views, what is served for breakfast and what time the hotel bar closes.
The trick is to get a website that appeals to those who like to live dangerously and book a vacation just because they like the look of a place, and also to those who want to study the fine print in great detail. Follow these great tips and you will be well on your way to ensure that new clients choose to jet off with your travel start-up:
Before you start to plan your new website make sure you have fully defined your company brand. Does your brand explain if you are offering budget travel, family breaks or luxury getaways to a tropical paradise? Do you have a logo and tagline to explain to your target market what you are offering? Only once your brand has been fully developed by a professional branding company can you begin to work on your website.
When a visitor lands on your homepage, they need to be completely hooked and feel certain that you can offer what they are looking for. The homepage should be designed around a stunning photo of one of your popular destinations, and it should have some great, concise text to explain what you offer and what makes you different to other travel companies. Include great client testimonials and the new visitor will definitely be persuaded to investigate your website further.
Use rotating banner photos to give plenty of opportunity to show as many photos to the visitor as possible, or create a montage of photos. Within each page, show more photos of what the vacation offers – thumbnails are a great way to showcase a place. Rule of thumb for a travel start-up: photos sell vacations.
High level summary: Each page within your website must have a high level summary of what each package includes and what the destination has to offer. Is the vacation half board, full board and all above board? Are flights and airport transfers included?
These are the short blocks of text to whet the appetite of the would-be traveller. Make it easy on the eye by using bullet point lists and bold font to break up the text.
Details: For those that like to read up absolutely everything about the vacation, create sub-pages for each. The visitor merely needs to click on a brightly colored ‘Read More’ button to get to the nitty gritty. Think about your target market and what they might want to know: for golf breaks explain if golf clubs and golf shoes are available to rent at the venue; for bachelor party weekends, explain how close the hotel is to the nearest nightclubs; for family vacations explain how cots and high chairs can be pre-booked.
FAQs: You know the types of questions that you get asked frequently, so include a FAQs page which should detail absolutely everything the traveller might need to know. Not only is this useful for the reader but it means they can make their decision to book far more easily.
Terms & Conditions: Make sure your Terms & Conditions can’t be overlooked – you want people to understand your payment and cancellation terms early on to prevent confusion and embarrassment half way through the booking process.
5. Customized Quote
People want to know the vacation price and availability quickly and easily. Ensure your website can provide this information in the form of a customized quote based on dates of travel and the number in the party. The website quote function must be intelligent enough to add in the cost of any extras that the traveller requires such as an extra bed in a room or pre-booked meals. If your website can’t provide this information, the potential traveller will simply head to another website which can.
6. Book and Pay Online
When someone wants to book their vacation – let them! Don’t make it difficult. They have all the details, they have the price so they should be able to book and pay online. The easier this step is, the more vacations you will sell.
Handy Tip: Whatever your travel specialty is, you will have special offers. You may wish to encourage early bird bookings to bring in revenue early, or have unsold weeks not far in the future which you need to sell quickly. Work up your Early Bird Specials and Last Minute Deals, define your terms & conditions for each and flaunt these great offers on your homepage. Create eye-catching links to a separate page where you can list them all.
Nowadays travellers expect a website to deliver all the pertinent information they require to make their decision on their next vacation. They want to get a quote quickly and when they’ve made their final decision, they want to get on and book it online - all from the comfort of their home. If your travel start-up website doesn’t supply what the traveller wants you are in deep water - clients will just head over to another website which allows them to choose and book their vacation online.