travel sites

12 insanely beautiful travel and leisure websites

I don’t know about you but I’m getting sick of the bitter wind that’s barreling its way down the streets of my adopted city with all the lip-chafing might of a hard-skinned rhino.

It’s definitely time to escape, even if it’s just a psychological one rather than a physical one. After all, temperature’s just a state of mind, right? Right?

10 essential features for travel websites

The time between Christmas Day and January is peak holiday booking time, as anyone who saw an ad break on Boxing Day can probably attest.

In fact, a recent report by predicted that traffic to UK booking websites would peak at 8pm on 28 December, a Sunday night which for most people would be their last evening before heading back to work the following day.

Why travel brands should focus on the search box

On a recent post reviewing user experience on hotel websites, one commenter observed that airline sites were much more task focused than their hotel counterparts, despite both being in the same industry. 

I do think that travel sites, hotel or airlines, should be focusing on the main user goals when they arrive at the homepage, which is normally encouraging them to search for the product in question. 

To this end, a clear and prominent search tool is needed, with a minimum of distractions from it.

While there is an obvious temptation to cram lots onto a homepage, resisting this urge helps more users to start their search.

I’ve been looking at some airline and hotel chain sites to see how they approach this issue. 

Nine user experience lessons travel sites can learn from Airbnb

Airbnb’s business model has certainly been ‘disruptive’ for the hotel industry, but a major factor in its success is the user experience. 

While some travel brands have yet to fully adapt to the web, Airbnb offers an excellent user experience backed up by great visual design. 

I’ve picked out several lessons that other travel brands, and indeed any online business can learn from Airbnb… 

Five ways to adapt your travel website to make holidaymakers happy

With 71% of customers expecting assistance when stuck within five minutes, high rates of abandonment, and a diverse range of platforms from which customers can speak, it has never been more important to listen to the voice of your customer.

Indeed, we have collected nearly 1.5m handwritten nuggets of information from almost 400 sites.

So, what niggles the modern day holiday maker? What prevents them from converting? And, most importantly, what can you do to keep them from journeying away from your site and into the arms of your competitor?

Are travel brands making it easy for mobile users to contact them?

More than half of the UK’s top 50 travel brands don’t have a mobile optimised site, according to research published last week by the IAB.

Furthermore, although 52% of the top travel brands have a mobile app only 56% of them are transactional, while a third of the businesses have no mobile presence at all.

This means they are failing to provide an important research channel for their customers, as a separate study from JiWire has shown that when looking for information on their next holiday or business trip consumers are just as likely to turn to their mobile device as they are to use a laptop.

Similarly, new data from ResponseTap that highlights a fairly typical purchase journey shows the importance of mobile for travel companies, as customers often browse the mobile web as well as calling travel operators while researching their holiday options.

Tripadvisor is most visible travel site in organic search: report

Booking a holiday involves a huge amount of research finding the right destination, picking accommodation and flights, reading reviews, and finally making a booking.

Therefore search marketing in the travel industry is both incredibly competitive and complex.

A new report from Epiphany looks at which travel sites are the most visible websites across Google’s paid and organic search results, where visibility is defined by ‘paid visibility’ and ‘SEO visibility’ scores.

It shows that Tripadvisor is the most visible brand, with travel aggregator sites featuring prominently in the list.

Travel shoppers react badly to Facebook Like buttons: report

Shatner from Priceline.comConsumers on travel sites had an overwhelmingly negative reaction to Facebook ‘Like’ buttons, seeing this as a unnecessary distraction, according to a travel usability study. 

The study from Usabilia used 800 participants and looked at the user experience on airline, hotel and travel comparison websites. 

Here are just a few highlights from the report, as well as a couple of infographics based on the data…

Social media and travel: move beyond marketing

Social media and the travel industry have a rich heritage, from reviews to personal blogs and photos. But much of the mainstream use social media in the travel industry is confined to marketing and PR.

There is great benefit to be gained from focusing in these areas and some great work being done by brands. However there are many other areas across the business where social could be used, from innovative use of data to using location to provide a real service to customers when they are away.

Not social media marketing, more social business.

What do users do on travel websites?

A few weeks ago, Econsultancy posted a survey on what customers say they want from travel websites.

As the survey outlined, 85% of respondents use the web to research or book holidays, which underlines the importance of the web to the travel sector.

However, there are a few areas where the online user experience on travel sites could be improve, so we decided to take a closer look at what users actually do when booking holidays.