Why your travel agency should have a website

Sep 11, 2019 | Marketing Tips

The Current State of Affairs: 

The tours and activities sector is the fastest growing segment in the travel industry, and tour operators are securing the attention of active travelers by providing them with excellent activities and experiences. In this day and age, online consumers are able to get what they want, when they want, so travel agents need to be online in some capacity to be successful. Travelers want their travel agents to be as connected as they are. Websites are imperative to growth as you can cast a wide net and make your business more accessible to travel consumers.

What to include on your travel agency’s website 

The Basics

It is important for travel agency websites to have some key information: a contact us page with phone numbers and email addresses, hours of operation, services offered, and accepted payment types. These key bits of information should be easy to find as soon as someone lands on your site to lower the chances of high bounce rates. Online booking capabilities will keep your website relevant to newer generations of travelers.

Top Destinations/Trending Tours

It’s helpful for any kind of traveler to see list of top destinations – even better if you can break out these lists into categories based on traveler types. Keep an eye on industry trends and highlight some top experiences in these destination lists you’ve curated for your site. 

*This is a great place to use the bookable link feature! You can add text links to your destination lists and earn commission when users book on their own.

Social Media 

Social media is a great way to market your agency to potential clients, as well as to help grow your business. Your website should have easily accessible links to any social media accounts that your travel agency has. Different age groups will respond better to different types of social media, which is why it is important to have a social media presence on multiple platforms. Some agencies have their social feeds displaying on their site for cross-marketing. 

*It’s a good idea to promote your website using Facebook or Instagram, the referral traffic is always a good sign to Google!

Concentrate on specialization 

The best and most successful travel agency websites focus on specialization. Travelers are constantly bombarded by a plethora of online information, therefore they might find comfort in your website having a section that is dedicated to destinations and tours broken up into different categories like: honeymoons, family trips, affordable trips, luxury trips, European trips, safaris, etc.  People will be drawn in to certain categories depending on their reason for travel and want a travel agent who has extensive knowledge in that specific area.

Widgets

Using the Viator widget is an easy, effective way to highlight specialization of destinations and categories. The widget is a way to incorporate some of Viator’s product inventory into your site to make it easy for your visitors to book some of your favorite things to do without taking time out of your busy travel-planning day. A widget can be a helpful tool for someone that is beginning preparation for their trip or is looking to gain some inspiration.

For example, if you specialize in honeymoon planning you can feature the widget on your website for travelers to view and (hopefully) book things to do. There are a few different ways you can use our widget on your site, including creating a widget based on destination, category or a curated list of products.

Special promotions and discounts

Take some notes from some of your favorite retailers’ websites and run promotions or discounts. These are great ways to generate more business, especially in shoulder seasons or around the holidays. Obviously promoting via social media, direct mail, or email is a great idea, but make sure you put it on your homepage. Consider even creating a small page or blog post about the promotion so you can provide more details as well as some travel inspiration to get your clients excited!

How to keep your website in tune with consumer trends

Prove your legitimacy 

Having a website (that is more than just a Facebook page) helps travel agents prove the legitimacy of their business to potential clients, and it helps their business grow and flourish.  It is crucial for them to personalize their brand, this can most easily be shown through a detailed website. Brand personalization can be done by providing examples of “Top Destinations” or “Top Guided Tours” that they have planned to demonstrate to clients that it would be worthwhile to use their services.

Use visuals to captivate your clients

People are constantly surrounded by images, and we notice a dynamic, sharp image because it draws us in and we want to see more. This is why using visuals is important, especially when trying to sell clients on a certain destination or experience. It is important to make sure you are using a high resolution picture because they provide the most detail and leave a lasting impression on potential clients.

Ease and Accessibility of Website 

The second a potential client gets frustrated or confused about how to maneuver their way through your website they will exit out and pick a different one. It is important to make sure your website is straightforward and no one has to go digging for the information they are looking for. 

Most travelers have very high expectations for technology assistance. When they have a question or are looking for information they want it to be helpful, individualized and effortless. 

This is especially important when it comes to millenials, as they are accustomed to using the internet for almost everything they do. If your website is lacking or doesn’t seem legitimate you can be sure they will start looking elsewhere.

How to improve your website

Since the majority of travelers are accustomed to booking trips and experiences online, having a website is the best and easiest way to meet consumer demands. Travel agencies that provide the most straightforward website with the best prices and offers will engage the most users. 

A Phocuswright study reports that, “Habit drives consumer preference for offline versus online activity booking. The top reason by far travelers booked activities online was because that’s what they usually do for travel. Two in three travelers who booked an activity online during their last trip said it was because they usually book travel online.”

An easy way to acquire repeat clients is to make sure their first experience booking through your website is seamless so they are more likely to book future trips using your travel agency. 

If your website does not take online bookings, it is important to have a clear “call-to-action” on your website. If your website is purely informational the call-to-action might be to fill out a contact form or call the agency.

Self employed travel agents

Be sure to include all the necessary information about how a client can get in contact with you. In addition, the widget is a great tool for an independent agent to use because it helps monetize your website. By pairing Viator’s product inventory with the content of your website, you can provide an easy way for your site visitors to book. Plus you’ll earn commission on each booking made through the widget.

Travel agents who work in a larger agency 

When there are multiple travel agents working in one company, the bookable link is a good feature to implement. The bookable link allows you to share your unique link with clients and then your client can book a product using your link. Online booking is an important feature to include on your website as well as having a mobile ticket available. Mobile tickets are convenient especially for millenials who are used to doing everything on their mobile device.

Traveler personalization 

The new rise in digital marketing strategies leaves travelers bombarded with tons of advertisements each day. The use of personalized, targeted messaging allows activity providers with relevant content to emerge. Many agencies have plans to implement tools that help them to better grasp customer profiles so they can appropriately recommend relevant activities and modify marketing messages. The chance to wow travelers with personalization does exist and personalization makes clients more likely to use your agency over and over again. 

According to Phocuswright, “More than half of travelers want travel companies to provide recommendations proactively, and the majority want recommendations that account for their preferences and past behavior.”

Online chatting 

Travelers are planning and organizing trips online and a way to boost your online bookings is to make sure you can provide timely travel support through an online chat platform. Using live chat helps you to further engage with potential clients which makes them more likely to stay on your site as opposed to looking elsewhere. 

Online chatting tools allow you to transform client enquiries into bookings. The more engaged users are the more likely they are to book. In addition, by looking at traveler preferences you can see what travelers are interested in and provide them with relevant destination and experience offerings.

Sources: 

Alex Temblador Why Travel Agents Need Their Own Website https://www.travelpulse.com/gallery/travel-agents/why-travel-agents-need-their-own-website-3.html?image=10  

Rob Torres How to Win Travelers in the age of assistance https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/consumer-insights/age-of-assistance-travel-marketing/ 

Alice Jong Experiences 2019: U.S. Travel Activities Market Opportunity & Consumer Behavior

https://www.phocuswright.com/Travel-Research/Experiences-2019-U-S-Travel-Activities-Market-Opportunity-amp-Consumer-Behavior?subr=1

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