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Tricks of the travel trade: creating the best user experiences for your travel website

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By providing robust tools that greatly simplify user experience, a travel website will give customers an easy user experience and journey when they are using your site, making them more likely to book through you in the future. Here are some of the best user experiences, which you can provide for your end user.

Be the best in customer satisfaction

Do all that you can to provide the ultimate customer satisfaction and that can include website layout and the booking process. Just recently, Journey Latin America (JLA) won an Best Travel Digital Experience award for their new website that ‘more thoroughly represented the brand, was a more engaging customer experience and increased levels of enquiry, sales and customer service.’

Thematic search functionality

The best travel websites allow you to search for travel accommodation by theme, which could be based on locations or amenities like beach and spa hotels, while others are tailored to specific groups of travellers like family and business hotels. Additional search criteria, including specific dates and hotel ratings, can be added to speed up the process of finding the perfect place to stay.

Cross device browsing

Make sure that your customers account can be viewed on any device, be it computer, tablet, and/or smartphone. For example a customer may be in the middle of looking at hotels online when they have to go out – if they can sign in their account on an app/mobile version and click on recent searches they can quickly return to what they were looking at without having to re-enter the search criteria.

Make payment easy

Allow payment information to be stored and accessed across all devices can ensure that customers can make a reservation quickly. New technologies also allow you to enter pre-saved credit or debit card details from the users device, which can increase conversions and ensure a smooth path to purchase.

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Special offers for members

Provide special offers and loyalty discounts brand advocates or members of your social community. These might be offers on hotels, flights or other travel accommodation and only available for a short time, and only with an offer code which your members have access to. You can send these offers out in emails, which the consumers received, based on their favourite destinations.

Virtual reality tours

The travel industry is realising that consumers need to be able to go on a visual journey. Travel is the ideal space for the technology to make an impact; it provides a visual medium to showcase destinations and experiences and is far more vivid and experiential than static imagery. There are so many travel websites out there and that are competing for business; it’s hard to believe that most of these websites are still showing static content. Contiki is a great example of a brand that is using VR to truly immerse its customers and prospects into its brand.

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Reviews

Make sure your website provides reviews from other consumers. This allows trust to be gained. 63% of consumers more likely to buy from a site that has user reviews.

Personalisation

Personalisation allows travel websites to deliver relevant content to their visitors based on where they’ve clicked and who they are, and only 45% of companies are using it. Websites can be structured around the behaviour of the visitors, helping to create a natural conversation and relationship between the traveller and website. Travel websites now can guide consumers with personalised messages based on various data rules including search terms, referring site, geographic location, and visit, and visit frequency, to assist travellers in buying their trips.

From a consumer view, it’s like the old experience with a travel agent who has been used many times being put to use online, and it’s time for travel websites to put this information to use, so that the consumer will use your website time and time again.

The consumer will expect the travel company to ‘know who I am, where I’ve been, and what my preferences are.’ Over time you will get to know the places that the consumer is interested in travelling to as more information becomes available, and the website then provides the relevant information that needed to help the consumer make their decision.

There is a great opportunity for travel sites to engage their visitors right away, and create a relevant and personalised experience for their consumers. If it’s done well, travel websites will turn more browsers into buyers – faster.

See our other tricks of the travel trade here.

Paul Stephen is CEO of Sagittarius.

Original author: Stephen

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