Travel Website Design
Let me start with quotation from the Jakob Nielsen’s book “Designing Web Usability”:
“Hard-and-fast rule for main pages design is “more-less”: the more buttons and capabilities the central page has, the less users will be able to quickly find necessary information”.
Splendid rule! Today we will apply it to travel websites navigation and design.
It’s luck that people mostly come from search engines directly to site’s interior pages with essential information. Sometimes it’s terrible for me to imagine, what would be, if on query “tours of Los Angeles” I would get to tour operator’s main page! I would discover, that it sells everything starting from hotel suites and auto rental and finishing with tours from pole to pole up to moon flights.
I came across two approaches to navigation and design of travel websites.
The first is “To squeeze unsqueezable”. True for the tour operator websites, which need to survive somehow at highly competitive market. They attempt to sell everything (variants mentioned above ) for a limited reward. But the thing is that the links to all the services provided by travel website are located on the main page. So instead of main page we get some sort of catalogue.
It becomes even worse, when:
- design is done;
- sitemap and semantic kernel are composed;
- travel website is being promoted and even by mid-frequent queries it hits TOP-10.
but then someone’s head is affected by a “genius” idea of:
- complete redesign;
- changing structure and functionality;
- adding huge background image, because of which the site is downloaded impermissibly long.
With the expected results… getting worse SERP for sure.
The second approach is creating multiple sites. I, for one, saw one tour operator having five different websites (and I am sure, that this is not the limit). It is much better, simpler and handier to promote the site in one focus area (in a perfect world). For instance, separate travel website on cruises, another one – on ski resorts, the third one devoted to beach-related rest, then the website with guided tours and so on. I realize that it is expensive, unfavorable, long… But it is tourism! Just look how much Google AdWords clicks in touristic subject cost and estimate your budget! No matter how you slice it, you’d better have two websites (e.g. tour operators working with Papua New Guinea and travel agents specializing in beach-related test and guided tours), than “medley”.
More Hallmarks of Travel Agency Websites and Benefits of Smart Redesign
I know one travel website, which looks the same for 4 years: a catalogue with pile of links at the main page, moreover, visitor has to use scroll for some 10 minutes. And no functionality: neither tours search modules, which became habitual for tourists, nor noteworthy photo gallery. In such case don’t stint redesign! After all, you should progress!
The last thing we will talk about are my “favorite” crazy background images: Caribbean Islands, palm trees and starfishes. Before using them check the time needed for downloading your website. Important indicators are page size, moment of rendering start and moment of complete download. Don’t make your potential clients wait! Let me remind the fact that search engines consider download time on websites ranking: it is one of the most important criteria of the website quality!
And what is more, I “adore”, when travel website design is brindled with lots of different colors and blinking buttons…