Sadly, how “gorgeous” your travel website looks is not going to rank it up through the SERP (Search Engine Results Page) on Google, but it will go some way to helping you to keep people on your website when they arrive, and may even help you to save a few holidays.
Take a look at your website from an outside perspective
Your first thought is going to be that you want to save money, but your second thought is that you are going to want value for money. For this reason, you should not sell your holidays on price. The price should be an after-thought, for after the user has decided that he/she wants to go on your holiday.
Make a list of the mistakes your competition are making
You can rest assured that your website is littered with mistakes. If that were not the case than you would not be looking at a website article for improving your travel website. However, you can also rest assured that your competitors also have travel websites that are littered with mistakes too.
You need to make a point of visiting your many, many competitor sites and listing down all of the mistakes that they have made. From things such as having images that are too dark or inappropriate images for what they are selling. Look for slow loading times or slow render times, and consider how easy it is to jump from page to page. Are the prices highlighted over the substance, etc? List all of the mistakes that you see and routinely eliminate them from your website.
Have the background match the location
This is a fairly easy trick that many travel websites ignore. It takes a little bit more web building, but is good for creating the right tone and atmosphere. For example, pages dedicated to Alaska or Greenland should have wintry scenes and a decoration on the background of the website. Similar tricks could be used for places such as Corfu or Brazil.
Lots of images of various places
Most holidays are sold on the back of the images that people see when they look at your website. This is why you need to include a lot of images on your website in order to really sell the holiday. It is also going to make your website appear more friendly and “gorgeous.”
Keep some of the images more personal
One mistake that travel websites make is having their websites too impersonal. They show all the locations, pan shots, sky shots, but fail to show people the smaller and more personal aspects. The best that most travel websites will do is show a few pictures of the hotel. But, people want to see what the holiday destination looks like from the ground level. They want to see how the beach looks when you have your back to the water. They want to see the side streets and people from the street level in a way that their own holiday photos are going to mimic.
Add in short video tours
This is a way of building on the idea above. You should show people how walking the streets and traveling around will look. They want to see the church across the water in Venice and the guinea pigs crossing the road in Peru. You should take a look at the videos that Disney World put out. They often have images from a high elevation, but they also have lots of shots of people walking around, of happy faces and happy encounters within their theme park. They do not show Mickey Mouse in a suit waving to a child because people are unaware that he is there.
Does your site lack substance?
There needs to be as much information as possible, but this does not mean create a user guide. That sort of thing (such as airport advice, money advice, etc), comes as an after sales product. What you need to do is show people what it would be like to be there right now. Do everything you can to make it very easy to picture yourself in that specific location.
Copy the things that work on your competitors’ websites
As you make your list of things that work from your competitors’ websites, you should also look for page/decorative elements that do work. Consider stealing their ideas in order to apply them to your own website. It may be anything from a web page theme to a full web page programmatic element.