Get ready for the rebound. Improve your travel site conversion.

The sector will pick up again, and when it does, you’ll want your site to be optimised and primed for mass conversions; enquiries, bookings and boosting revenue after a challenges few months.

Once the COVID-19 crisis has passed, consumer confidence has grown, we are set for an exciting period of time, after what will have been a very challenging few months; emotionally, physically, financially.

The public who have been told that cannot travel and that they need to be confined to their home. Will have past the past few months dreaming about adventure, exploration, relaxation. Our sector can and will deliver, but can your website?

Too many travel websites simply aren’t good enough, slow to load, confusing user experience, poor sales funnel, looks like rubbish on a mobile. We work with travel brands of all shapes and sizes, we consistently interview end-users, gain feedback, insights. We understand wants and needs, then use our digital, ux, design, and travel expertise to deliver. Research > create hypothesis > implement > test > learn > repeat. It’s simple and it’s obvious, but it really works. It’s worth noting that we aren’t perfect, sometimes we make bad calls, we have A/B tests that fail, but this helps us evolve, there are always opportunities for us all to improve.

By following these conversion-friendly tips, you’ll ensure that your website is in great shape, ahead of the rebound.

1.) Get the foundations right. Make sure your page speed is okay. Travel sites are full of beautiful imagery, this can slow things up. Do a test, it’s quick and free: https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights

Page speed is a huge influencer on customer experience and conversion. Mobile is the main offender, speaking with the head of travel at Google they presented the hard-hitting stat that 53% of mobile users leave your website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. For those that stay, each second counts.

2.) Optimise for mobileAs a travel brand, you’ll like have seen mobile become your number one device for traffic at some point in 2019. Make sure your mobile experience is on point. You’ll likely look at your website on your work laptop, but customers may well be using their phones. Ensure you have a responsive website that works on all major devices, it’s not negotiable it’s vital. A poor mobile experience will lead to a lead to a bucket load of lost sales. It’s now fairly widely accepted that lots of research starts on mobile, but we are seeing transactions growing at a huge level too.

Mobile transaction numbers will soon surpass desktop. User test the core mobile journeys.

3.) Understand your analytics. What is the user journey? Where are the drop offs? What are the key exit pages? This can teach you so much around where the stumbling blocks are, focusing your attention.

4.) Personalisation. It’s another obvious one, but relevance is vital. We are increasingly time-poor with increasingly greater expectations. Serving up relevant and ‘tailored’* content is key. *don’t be creepy. Loyalty and retention are also far better for those brands that personalise their content and messaging.  Top tip – start small, maybe with a personalise a homepage pod, or related itineraries.

5.) Showcase trust signals. Whether that is awards, media quotes, key stats, or ATOL, ABTA, memberships etc. It’s important that (especially for new or challenger brands) you provide trust signals that provide the user with confidence increasingly likelihood of a purchase.

6.) Display clear CTA’s (calls to action), each page should have a focus, what do you want to the user to do? Ensure the CTA is clear, has standout and supports this next step. If the key next step isn’t obvious for the user, you’re failing. We often see travel brands with 4/5 big CTA’s on one page, this doesn’t mean 4 or 5 times the conversions, it means confusion and a lack of focus.

7.) People-based imagery. Another huge conversion booster. Seeing real people having a great time on holiday, on a trip, in a hotel bar, on a cruise ship — it really helps. Ensure the imagery is both aspirational but realistic, it needs to be reflective of your audience. If your audience is typically 70+, healthy fit 60-year-olds are perfect, 20-year-old bikini-clad models, maybe unrealistic.

8.) 3rd party integrations. Use 3rd party integrations to make data capture or payment easier. Facebook, Gmail, Twitter, social sign-ins etc save time and drive conversion.

9.) Create urgency. Countdown timers work, they really work. If you have an expiring deal, that little timer will drive action. If this isn’t relevant, scarcity works well too — ‘only 4 left’, ‘7 booked this hotel’, but make it believable. Don’t bullsh!t your customers, you’re not a furniture company offering super short term special offers that last most of the year.

10.) Social proofing. Testimonials, ratings, or guest feedback is always recommended with the caveat that your ratings need to be good; if they aren’t then let’s face it, you have a bigger conversion challenge 😉

11.) Tailored landing pages. Creating focused landing pages for specific holiday types, regions, scenarios are really effective. e.g. ‘Spanish trips for families, ‘destinations that fly from Bristol’. This relevancy will be rewarded with a more engaged audience, not to mention a pat on the back from the SEO team.

12.) Multiple methods of contact. Digital conversions are great, they are low effort, involve little physical resource, but the fact is, some people will always need that 1 to 1 interaction. Live chat is great, but maybe a store visit or phone call too. Make it easy for the user by providing all the options, chatbots could be a good back up for out of hours if set up correctly.

These are just quick tips, there is no huge insight here, it’s obvious stuff, but hopefully, this provides a helpful checklist of items for your team to work through. Use it to appraise your own website. If you aren’t doing at least 10 you will definitely be missing out on conversions.

Can we help? This is what we do, chat to us, ask questions, get us to test your users or provide an audit. We do in-depth reports that analyse the performance of websites for both travel brands and investment firms.

by Ryan Anthoney