The travel industry is competitive, and the customer journey can be complex. With so many search parameters and travel options available, it’s essential that your travel website is optimised to guide visitors towards taking that final action to close the deal. If you’re finding that your visitors are using your website but not making the final leap to purchase, then it might be time to rethink your website’s design and conversion strategy.
The average conversion rate in the travel industry sits at around 4.7% and organic search is a key driver representing 8.5% of all conversions. As a result, the website is a critical source of revenue for most travel businesses. Therefore, it’s crucial that you invest time and resources to ensure your website is conversion-friendly.
Optimising your website for conversion means structuring your travel website design in a way that encourages visitors to take the desired action — whether that’s booking their holiday accommodation, purchasing flights, or signing up for a paid tour.
There are a number of different techniques that can be used to optimise travel booking sites for conversion. The best approach will vary depending on the individual website and its target audience. However, there are some general conversion rate optimisation best practices that all travel industry websites should follow to maximise their opportunities.
Why It's Essential to Optimise Your Travel Website
Conversion rate optimisation (CRO) is the process of ensuring that your travel website design is as effective as possible at converting visitors into customers. Many businesses focus on SEO and traffic acquisition without giving enough attention to what happens once visitors land on their website. No matter how many visitors you’re able to drive to your travel website, if they’re not converting then all your hard work doesn’t translate into meaningful results.
Unlike buying a new toaster or a pair of shoes, travel is a high-cost, high-consideration purchase. This means customers will take their time researching their options before making a decision. Your travel website needs to be designed in a way that helps guide visitors through this decision-making process and encourages them to take action.
CRO squeezes maximum value out of the traffic you’re already getting so that you’re not just throwing your resources into marketing and SEO without seeing a return. And if you can increase your travel conversion rate, it means you’re also reducing your cost per booking. Even just a 1% increase in your conversion rate can represent a significant increase in revenue for travel businesses — especially if you’re already driving a lot of traffic to your travel or tourism website.
Imagine if you’re currently converting at 4% and you manage to increase that to 5%. If you’re driving 10,000 visitors per month then that’s an extra 100 bookings per month. Additionally, travel websites have significant potential to generate revenue from ancillary services such as travel insurance, car hire, and activity bookings. If your travel website UI design isn’t optimised to cross-sell and upsell these products, you’re missing out on a big opportunity to increase your average order value.
What Makes CRO Different in the Travel Industry?
Every online business wants to increase its conversion rate, but the travel industry has some unique considerations that need to be taken into account. E-commerce conversion rate optimisation is about getting visitors to add items to their cart and then complete the purchase. But for travel businesses, there’s usually a lot more involved in the buying process. Here are some conversion rate optimisation best practices that can help tourism and travel booking sites improve their revenue.
Multi-step booking processes
The travel booking process is usually much longer and more complex than in other industries. There are typically multiple steps involved, including search, selection, and booking. This can make it more challenging to keep visitors engaged and prevent them from dropping off at any stage of the process.
Unique customer needs & behaviours
Customers booking travel are often looking for something specific, such as a hotel that meets their budget in a specific location. This can make it more difficult to sell them alternative products or services that they might not have originally considered.
When booking travel, customers need to take into account a number of different factors such as budget, location, travel dates, and activities. With so many potential variables to consider, it's essential that travel and flight websites are designed in a way that helps visitors to easily compare different options.
Travel bookings are usually high-value purchases, so visitors are less likely to take risks or make impulsive decisions. They'll often spend a lot of time researching their options before finally making a booking. They may visit your travel website multiple times before final conversion, so it's important to have a system in place for tracking visitors and retargeting them with relevant offers.
What are the Secrets to Conversion Rate Optimisation in the Travel Sector?
It’s no secret that travel businesses need to focus on conversion rate optimisation. But what are the specific strategies and tactics that these types of businesses can use to increase their conversion rate? Are there any travel-specific optimisation techniques that can be used to get an edge on the competition?
At moonstride, we’ve been helping businesses increase their travel conversion rate for over many years, and we’ve put together a list of our top tips below.
Focus on mobile visitors
More and more travel bookings are being made on mobile devices, so it's essential that travel booking sites are optimised for mobile visitors. This includes having a mobile-friendly design, fast loading speed, and an easy-to-use booking interface.
The travel booking process is already complex enough without having to contend with a slow website. Visitors will quickly become frustrated if they must wait around for pages to load, so it's essential that travel websites are designed for speed. Optimise images, use a content delivery network, and minimise the use of plugins and scripts.
Cater for multiple languages
With the Internet making it easier than ever for people to book travel from all over the world, it's important that travel websites are designed to cater for multiple languages. This includes contextually appropriate translations of all content, as well as localised payment options and customer support.
Navigation & structure are key
Travel website UI design has a huge impact on the user experience, and ultimately on conversion rates. All travel websites should be designed with a clear and intuitive structure that makes it easy for visitors to find what they're looking for.
Optimise the UX across multiple devices
Visitors will often start their travel booking journey on one device and then continue on another. From desktop to mobile and vice versa, it's important that the user experience is optimised across all devices. This includes ensuring that all your travel agency website content is responsive and booking processes are as streamlined as possible.
Streamline the checkout process
Your checkout process is one of the most important conversion rate optimisation elements on your travel website. If you can get this one right, you'll be well on your way to increasing your conversion rate. All checkout processes should be designed with simplicity and ease of use in mind, with as few barriers to purchase as possible.
Leverage the concept of scarcity
Many travel businesses use the concept of scarcity to increase conversion rates. This can involve using tactics such as limited-time offers to create a sense of urgency and notifications alerting consumers when popular travel dates are about to sell out.
Consider pricing carefully
Pricing is always an important consideration, but it's particularly important in the travel sector. Travel booking sites need to strike the right balance between offering competitive prices and generating enough margin to remain profitable.
Facilitate multiple payment options
The more ways that visitors can pay for travel bookings on your travel agency website, the more likely they are to convert. Make sure you offer a wide range of payment options, including the most popular credit cards, PayPal, and localised options.
Use discounts strategically
Discounts can be a great way to increase bookings on tourism and flight websites. They can be utilised strategically, for example, by offering discounts to customers who book travel in advance or during quiet periods.
Integrate urgency creators
Travel booking sites should be designed to create a sense of urgency and encourage visitors to book sooner rather than later. This can be integrated into your copy, using language like "book now" or "limited time only".
Convey credibility with associations & accreditations
There are a number of travel associations and accreditations that travel businesses can utilise to increase credibility and conversion rates. A stamp of approval from a trusted body can go a long way towards increasing confidence and motivating visitors to book on your travel agency website.
Promote upselling & cross-selling
In the travel sector, upselling and cross-selling are key conversion rate optimisation strategies. This involves promoting add-ons and extras such as travel insurance, car rental, and airport transfers. If you can successfully upsell or cross-sell to visitors, you'll see a significant increase in your conversion rate.
Integrate chat tools
One way to increase conversion rates on travel booking sites is to offer live chat support. This allows visitors to get instant answers to their questions and can be a key motivator in getting them to book travel on your website. If you don't have the staff numbers to offer live chat support 24/7, you can consider using a chatbot instead.
Track customer behaviour
It's important to track customer behaviour as part of travel website development so that you can identify areas for improvement. Use analytics tools to track key metrics such as bounce rate, time on site, and conversion rate. This will give you valuable insights into how visitors are interacting with your travel website and what you can do to improve the experience.
Give visitors a reason to return
Make sure you give visitors a reason to come back to your travel agency website. This could be in the form of exclusive deals, loyalty programmes, or a blog with travel tips and advice. If you can keep visitors coming back to your website, you'll be in a much better position to convert them into customers.
Tackle cart abandonment
Cart abandonment is a major issue in the travel sector. There are a number of reasons why visitors might abandon their travel bookings, which includes things like hidden fees, unexpected costs, or a long and complicated booking process. To combat cart abandonment, travel businesses must make sure that they are transparent about pricing, offer a streamlined booking process, and provide a clear value proposition.
Automate your email marketing
Email marketing can be a powerful tool for travel businesses, but it's important to automate the process to maximise its effectiveness. Automated emails can be triggered by a number of events, such as abandoned travel bookings or new travel enquiries. By sending timely and relevant emails, you can increase the chances of conversion and boost your bottom line.
Don't forget to retarget
Retargeting is a key conversion rate optimisation strategy that should not be overlooked. It involves targeting ads at people who have visited your travel website but have not made a booking. Since customers in the travel industry often take some time to research and compare travel options, retargeting can be a great way to keep your business top of mind and increase the chances of conversion.
Check on your customer post-travel
After a customer has booked travel on your website, it's important to check in with them afterwards to see how their trip went. This can be done through a post-travel survey or follow-up email. Asking customers for feedback shows that you care about their experience and helps to build trust and loyalty.
Utilise customer reviews
Customer reviews can be a valuable asset for travel businesses. Positive reviews help increase confidence and motivate potential customers to book travel through your website. To get the most out of customer reviews, be sure to showcase them prominently on your travel booking site and don’t forget to encourage customers to leave the reviews to begin with.
Fix your website bugs
One of the quickest and easiest ways to improve conversion rates on travel and flight websites is to fix any bugs that might be present. Website glitches can lead to frustrated visitors and lost bookings, so it's important to fix them as soon as possible. Use a website monitoring tool to check for any issues on your and fix them before they have a negative impact on the customer journey.
Overcome the Challenges of the Travel Industry with CRO
Facing tough competition and a challenging economic climate, travel businesses need to utilise every tool at their disposal to stay ahead. Conversion rate optimisation is a powerful strategy that helps travel businesses overcome the challenges of the travel industry and boost their bottom line.
By following the conversion rate optimisation best practices outlined in this article, you can optimise your travel booking site for conversion and position your business to drive measurable growth. If you need any help with your travel website development, feel free to get in touch with our team of experts.
As a leading travel website development company, we have a deep understanding of the travel industry and can help you create a travel booking site that meets the needs of your customers and tackles their pain points head-on. We can also evaluate and assess your travel website’s existing performance and work with you to create a customised CRO plan that targets your specific goals. Contact us today to find out more.