With just one opportunity to make a first impression, it’s crucial to maximize SEO strategies to increase bookings. What follows are a series of travel website tips to do just that, ranging from an appealing destination website design, which can provide a window into the exciting world of travel, to a superior user experience to make your travel website stand head and shoulders above the competition. These creative destination website design tips can help you get more travel bookings and unforgettably brand your business.

1. Research Is the Foundation of Creativity

Creativity seems spontaneous, but a plan is necessary to ensure your site performs as intended. Research is the foundation of creativity. Use Google Analytics to determine how and why people access the site. Where are they coming from and what do they want? 

Verify the demographics of your target audience. Determine their average age, income, and interests to develop content that resonates with your visitors. Then perform keyword research to look for the phrases travelers use to find destination experiences. Google Keywords and UberSuggest are excellent tools for travel keyword research.

Now it’s time to dig a little deeper. Perform updated research about the destination your website represents. Find out more about why people come to the location, such as their favorite hot spots and activities. Read reviews about other destination sites to see what travelers liked and disliked most. Enter the destination name in the Google search box and read the “People Also Ask” questions and answers. Use this information to inspire unique content showcasing the reasons why travelers enjoy visiting the destination – and what makes your travel opportunity the best.

2. When Simplicity is Key

The ultimate travel website tip is to set your site apart from the competition in a positive way. Certain aspects of website design require simplicity rather than creativity. For example, a website menu should be simple and streamlined so the site is navigable. People expect to find what they want within seconds or they surf over to the next travel site. Focus on the most important categories and titles to include in the menu. Put less relevant links in the footer of the website.

A well-organized site holds the interest of visitors who want to know more. Include a search box for travelers to look for specific destination information. Use clear headings, so people instantly understand what the page is about. Incorporate jump links into long content, so visitors can click to their preferred sections. A responsive website is imperative for travelers-on-the-go who want to access travel content from any mobile device. Navigability is a vital aspect of ensuring a website is immersive without being confusing.

3. Begin By Brainstorming

Creativity is contagious. Pass it on.” – Albert Einstein

Kick off the creative process with brainstorming. During brainstorming sessions, great ideas are built on the thoughts of everyone in the group. Participants expand upon the statements of others to come up with increasingly better ideas. Work with your team to generate unique ideas from basic concepts and goals. Use these concepts to improve your website design, create compelling blog articles, and enhance social media campaigns.

If the team isn’t available, brainstorming can be done alone, based on the complexity of the issue or question. Read, write, take photos, talk to people in public – anything that gets the creative juices flowing! Unplug technology and set aside a block of time. Focus on your thoughts, and just let your mind wander. Jot down what you think, even if it seems bizarre. Some of the most unlikely thoughts can morph into innovative ideas. Step away for a while, then read the ideas carefully to see which ones could improve your destination website design.

4. Tell Your Story

The research is done, keywords are chosen, and you have a bunch of brainstorming ideas for site designs and blog articles. Now it’s time to tell your story. The home page of a destination website should include colorful photos, engaging video, and a clear overview of what the business offers. The descriptions should be brief and engaging with some white space to avoid a cluttered look. Include an “About Us” page on the site to share what makes your travel business special.

While the home page must be concise, the about page allows a company to share its one-of-a-kind voice. How and when did the company start and what inspired the idea? Why does it focus on a specific destination or destinations? And how does it do something different than anyone else? This is a chance to let your creativity shine. Answering these questions helps travelers get to know the company and trust it – which results in more bookings.

5. Learn From the Experiences of Others

Include a page or section with reviews in your travel website design. This is key among travel website tips, as a staggering 95 percent of travelers read reviews before booking a trip. Leisure travelers check out an average of 6-7 reviews before scheduling a vacation while business travelers read five reviews. This proves wise travelers prefer to learn from the experiences of others before booking excursions. Let people know your travel site delivers on what it promises.

While travelers can look for reviews on other popular sites, it helps to include a review page on your site. Another option is adding a few reviews to a section, such as on the home or about page. Use the space to showcase positive comments travelers made about your company. When people hear about the great time other travelers had, it makes them want to go there, too!

6. Picture This

No story is complete without images, especially in the travel industry. Eye-catching photos make people want to see more – and book a trip to do it. Choose pictures that match the content to bring the words to life through complementary imagery. For example, a photo of people walking up a mountain would go with content about hiking local trails. Numerous websites, such as UnSplash, offer free and low-cost images to use with your travel content if you can’t get firsthand images.

Add video to whisk people away to any destination in the world without leaving their screens. Include an array of activities and sites that appeal to all types of travelers. Hone in on everything special about the destination to create a comprehensively compelling video. Watching the video should make travelers feel like they are almost there and all it takes is a couple of clicks to book a trip. When it comes to travel website photos and videos, it pays off to hire a professional for the job. A pro has the expertise to capture images and videos that make people want more.

7. The Devil in the Details

Once the website design is nearly complete, scan the site for details that were missed. Verify all the key categories are included in the menu. Include social sharing buttons for every page to encourage visitors to share what they like. And the bottom line is having a destination website design that gets people to take action. Make it easy by adding a “book it now” button on every web page. Travelers can click and book their trips right away.

Use a strong but limited color palette that matches the business logo and marketing materials. Most of the top websites focus on just two or three colors. Too many hues become distracting. The site should have five important features including a smart home page design, website footer, a page about the company, internal site pages, and intelligent backend administration.

8. Focus on the Backend

While visitors don’t see it, the backend is one of the most crucial aspects of a site’s functionality. Flawless coding ensures a site loads quickly and can be navigated effectively. Coding should be updated regularly to fix issues right away and avoid any site problems. Remember to put the user experience first. Make sure the site is optimized for speed by optimizing photos and enabling compression to make files smaller to open faster. Technical SEO cannot be ignored.

Improving the backend also helps to improve SEO. The site should include title tags, meta tags, and heading tags on each page and article. Images and video should have alt tags. All the tags should be based on your keyword research to help optimize the page further. The correct HTML coding can help a site climb up the ranks of the search engines. Add a site map so Google can find every page. When more travelers find the site, it means more bookings.

9. Make It Simple to Connect

Today there are multiple ways to connect with people. We communicate each day via snail mail, phone, text, email, live chat, social media, and Skype. Create a contact page sharing all the ways clients can connect with your company. Older clients might prefer to call the company on the phone or send a letter while millennial travelers may want to reach out via live chat or social media. Offering multiple ways to get in touch helps boost lead generation. Add the business hours and a map to the contact page. Include links to the bios of the major players at your company, to help build familiarity and trust.

A contact page is an excellent way to capture customers who aren’t ready to book a trip on-the-spot. They might have questions about the destination or other aspects of the getaway. And being able to contact a live person could mean the difference between getting a booking or watching viable leads surf away to the competition. Every page should have at least one relevant call to action to encourage website visitors to become in-person visitors. Examples of CTAs include asking visitors to sign up for a newsletter, free book, or webinar.

10. Better Booking

People who are ready to book a trip make contact by scheduling their escape. Choose a booking engine that provides an outstanding user experience. It should be simple to use, fast to complete and process, and comprehensive enough to ensure the traveler is easy to identify when they arrive.

If the booking process is challenging, travelers could get frustrated and wind up heading to another site that provides a better experience. The dates, rooms, and rates should be easily accessible via the booking engine. In just minutes, travelers should be able to gather information and book their dream vacations.

11. An Eye on Analytics

Once the website design is complete, remember to keep an eye on analytics to gauge the progress of your creative and common-sense strategies. Services such as Google Analytics offer a window into the digital world of site visitors. Monitor who visits your site and when as well as the pages they like best. Without analyzing the specifics, there is no definitive way to figure out if your current website design works.

While it might not be creative, it’s imperative to check the numbers to determine how much traffic the site gets and where it comes from. Use the data to determine what works and what should be thrown away. Then update the site to maximize your current marketing efforts, and generate more leads to improve conversion rates.

Creativity is a critical aspect of destination website design. Use creative energy to express what makes destinations amazing and convey enthusiasm about them. Make the emotions contagious by focusing on feelings such as hedonism, the desire to get immersed in the local culture, and the novelty of having a new experience.

Include images, video, and compelling content to attract the search engines and leads. Add calls to action and booking buttons to encourage travelers to take action. The right fusion of creativity and technical savvy is a winning combination!

Do all of these travel websites tips seem like a lot to think about and accomplish? Talk to the tactical experts at Galileo Tech Media about stellar destination website design ideas for your business. Discover how to transform an ordinary travel site into a seductive portal to unforgettable travel experiences!