Travel agencies are always on the lookout for ways to get more clients and leads. Nowadays, the internet has provided them with that avenue. While there are many ways to get more traffic and clients—using social media, website listings, and so on—one of the best ways to get clients that a lot of travel companies skip out on is building a website.
There’s a lot of debate on whether having a customized dot com still matters in these times. But given that over 1.8 billion websites online, with more being added by the second, there’s a case to be made that websites are highly relevant, most especially in today’s digital age. A website provides a business with a personalized space to say things the way they want to without design, content, or media limitations.
Why You Should Use WordPress
There are many ways a website can help your travel agency. It can be used to communicate offers, give contact information, deliver value to people through content, tell a story, and so on. But where does one even start when planning to build travel and tourism websites?
Today, 40% of all websites run on WordPress, a content management system that makes it easier to build a beautiful website and update it regularly. WordPress also has access to thousands of plugins that provide ease of use. When planning out your travel agency UI design and executing it, WordPress can provide a lot of benefits to your business.
10 Best Practices for Better Travel Agency User Experience
Website user experience or UX is the process of plotting out your website’s layout and design to fit the audience. UX is key to a successful website as it ensures that people won’t exit your website instantly and stick around to listen to what you have to say to them. Here are ten best practices to improve the user experience of your travel agency’s website.
1. Know Your Audience
Web design starts with the audience in mind. Many business owners make the mistake of thinking that their preference is the ultimate deciding factor when creating a website UX design. In the end, your potential website visitors and leads are the priority. What makes them tick? What would they like to see on your site? How can you get them to stay on your site and read most of your content?
Before starting on your travel and tourism website, get to know your audience by creating a quick survey on what kinds of websites they like to check out. Visit the websites of other businesses that your potential leads and clients like to frequent and pick up some elements that work well. Another good way to get to know your audience is to pick a handful of people who match your brand persona and have them comment on possible design pegs before building out a site.
2. Start with a Ready Template
Creating a website from scratch takes time. Fortunately, plenty of ready-made templates are available for you to choose from and customize according to your branding. Many of those templates come really affordable, or even for free. Some designers and companies use templates and then customize them further to provide a more unique look and feel. There’s no need to start from scratch. Work smart by using a template and then tweak it to your specs.
3. Design for Mobile
It’s important to keep in mind that not all people will view your website through a desktop or laptop. Over 50% of all website traffic comes from mobile gadgets. So it’s essential that any design you implement for your travel agency website be mobile-responsive.
That’s another reason why starting with a ready template helps—because most templates are already mobile-ready. Ensure that text is readable on even the smaller screens of some mobile gadgets and that content stacks up neatly when viewed on a smartphone or tablet.
4. Make the Navigations and Buttons Blatantly Visible
Many website visitors drop out of a site because it’s hard to navigate through. Make a website more user-friendly by adding navigation menus and buttons that take people from one part of the website to another easily. It’s common practice for all website pages to be accessible through the main menu usually located at the top of all pages. Putting buttons and calls to action around the site, in sidebars and even within website content also helps with the site’s user experience and navigation.
5. Use a Drag-and-Drop Website Builder
A large chunk of web design work is the coding part. But nowadays, anyone can build a website with little to no knowledge of code. Apart from ready templates, another helpful tool to make the website-building process easier is to use a drag-and-drop website builder. Find a good website builder by comparing website builder software examples from FinancesOnline. Choosing the best drag-and-drop builder will give you more flexibility and control over your website’s final look.
6. Add Payment Gateways
Another important feature of websites is the ability to take payments from clients virtually. Online payments are on an exponential rise, and if you aren’t doing that yet, it should become a priority. Taking payment systems on a website should be quite easy, and the experience should be the same for the end-user.
Provide different options when adding payment gateways. You’ll also need to pick up a few extra subscriptions to add a payment gateway to your sites, such as a Secure Sockets Layer or SSL. You can get that from the same company you pick up your domain name and hosting.
7. Befriend the White Space
When planning your UX travel website, you shouldn’t be afraid to have white space. Nothing scares people off better than a cluttered website, so build a website with breathing space. Increase the line spacing on your texts to anywhere between 1.5 to 2 spacing, giving the viewer’s eyes a break when reading through the text. Also, put spaces between rows and columns where possible.
8. Provide Valuable Content
A good website will also have valuable content that draws people’s attention. Good content for travel agency websites includes travel blogs, sample itineraries, travel guides, and other content that might get people excited about traveling. These content pieces can then be used to provide upsells and increase one’s chance of converting a website visitor to a client.
9. Go for Clean and Minimalistic
When in doubt about a travel website UI design, always go for the more clean and minimalistic option. Some of the best websites today are those with flat and simple designs. Clean UX design also improves other aspects of the site, including navigation as it makes it easier to get around your website.
When creating a website, try using a few solid colors to provide more consistency to your website and make each page’s look and feel congruent with all the other parts of the website.
10. Make Use of Plugins
The beauty of using WordPress is the thousands of plugins at your disposal. These plugins can provide ready-built functionalities like payment gateways, calendaring bookings, putting in contact forms, search engine optimization, website analytics, security features, social media sharing, and so much more.
When using website plugins, keep a log of all used plugins and update them regularly. Most plugins are free, but those with subscriptions can also provide value-for-money once used well.
One example is WP Travel. It is a WordPress plugin specifically for tour operators to create, design, and launch their travel websites at no cost.
Keep Improving Your UX
User experience, just like the users themselves, will keep changing. As people’s preferences vary, so should our website’s user experience. Web design usually lasts anywhere between a year or two before it needs a revamp. So if you feel like your website isn’t up to scratch, don’t worry. You’ll have plenty of room to improve, change, and revise as needed in the future.