10 Essential Features for Travel and Accommodation Websites

10 Essential Features for Travel and Accommodation Websites

 

Want your site to succeed in the travel and accomodation sector?

 

We have had the pleasure of working with a number of clients in the travel and accommodation sectors since our inception in 2009, so we have learned a thing or two over the years about the top features you should consider if you really want your website to perform well.

Fast Load Time

The speed of your website is the first impression that you make, so you need to make it a good one. Approximately 40% of people will abandon a website if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load, so you want to present them with the content they were looking for before they begin showing exit intent.

A slow website speed will affect how you rank on Google, and will reduce the amount of crawlers it sends to your website if your server is slower than 2 seconds. A staggering 79% of online shoppers will never return to a website if they have had trouble with load speed, so it’s something you want to get right!

Calm Digital ensure to build your website with the best possible load times, compressing images as much as possible without compromising quality and ensuring that all pages are working effectively.

Responsive Design

In 2015, Google decided to roll out an update that took into account the mobile capabilities of a website, that included mobile design elements such as readable text without requiring any zoom action, sufficient space for touch targets and no scrolling horizontally. In previous years, many websites would have their mobile site designed separately on a different domain, but responsive web design allows the creation of a single system that reacts to the size of a user’s device with one URL and only one content source. A responsive website also helps more accurate tracking and analytical reporting, since everything is in one place and working harmoniously.

Easy Navigation

The easier your navigation is to use, the more likely people are to stay on your website for longer, decreasing bounce rate. The longer people stay on the website and browse your products or services, the more likely they are to make purchases or submit an enquiry expressing their interest.

Users don’t tend to stay on any website longer than a minute, but most typically the duration length is between 10 and 20 seconds, so you need to make them count! We are so used to getting the information we need instantaneously, and without much effort. If your website users are not sure where to get information from, they’re more likely to disengage with the website.

‘Specials’ Showcase

We all look for the best deals and amazing offers when browsing websites, but by featuring them in plain sight for your user, you are perceived to be ‘looking out’ for them, and making life easier for them. In doing so, you are increasing customer acquisition and customer loyalty, if they remember having a good experience with you, they are highly likely to return.



Showcasing specials isn’t only beneficial for your users, but you can also use your showcase to highlight the the properties you want to ‘get off the market’ quickly… they may have been up for a while, or they may be the ones you have the highest margin on.

Direct Booking Capabilities and Benefits

Integrating a direct booking system to your website is one of the key features that you really should not miss out on. They work 24/7, meaning you can clock off on an evening, while your website is still running things. You can take a booking at absolutely any time, and no one has to be manning the phones, or constantly monitoring their emails when out of office, just incase an enquiry came in - management of bookings can be hassle free with easier payment processes!

Online reservation systems also reduce workload for your staff, and optimise customer service. You will find a huge percentage of those especially in the travel industry that offer online booking systems, and the truth is, users prefer it. If you don’t have this feature available, chances are, the customer may go somewhere else.

Exit capture, Retargeting & Cart Recovery

Cart abandonment emails create a consistent loop of communication and feedback with your customer,

This opens up a line of communication where you can directly ask the consumer why they didn't convert, and the majority of them will tell you. This could be that they were confronted with surprise high shipping costs that they were unaware of, or there was a bug in the payment gateway, but you wouldn’t have known this if you hadn’t asked!

On the other hand, some people may just need an extra little reminder that they are interested in your offering. Perhaps it was a case of “I want to, but…”. This provides them that reason.

Analytics, databases, CMS

Without using an integrated database , you will have less control over what you are and aren't able to do or include on the website. Having all your listings available within the database allows you to easily show what is available and the specification for each. This also makes the inclusion of a search feature far easier.

For a website such as Best Student Halls, a database is necessary to be able to allow users to filter by accomodation type, location, style, etc. so that students can easily find what they are looking for.

Property search

Users that look for a search bar are actively showing a specific purchase intention. Web browsers often prefer to use a search bar to save time, as they can get directly to the result that they want to see instead of clicking around to find what they need. Often, websites that offer a search bar see an improvement in conversion rates, because they are making things more simple and easy for customers to get to what they want, increasing purchase intent.

Not only can a search bar improve the experience for your customer, but it also provides you with far more information that you can optimise your website around. You will learn about the most popular areas or searches, customer-searched specific keywords, new product or location ideas and any usability issues or missing content pieces.

On page lead capture

On page lead capture forms let you accurately track and report interest on certain hotels or properties. It also encourages conversions as you are not asking the user to navigate away from that ‘product’ page, they can enquire about it right there.

Social validation

Social validation helps to increase conversion rates, as they create the vision of the company as being trustworthy and high quality. People will often rely on reading validated reviews to help inform and influence their own decision, as it is perceived as being more honest and reliable coming from a genuine user, than if it came from the company itself.

 

Of course, there are also many other features that are a given on a website in order to help pull in more conversions.

It’s incredibly important to include your phone number prominently and have the ability to just click the number to call from a mobile. Again, the easier you make a task for a user, the more likely they are to complete the conversion. Other features such as interactive maps to show where you are located can be incredibly handy as they are inclusive and welcoming, and again, provide more information to and make a task easier for someone browsing your website. Finally, when it comes to websites for the Travel or Accommodation sector, high quality images to display the location or property are second to none. People aren’t going to convert on a dark, grainy, out-of-date image!

 

If you’re in need of a little helping hand where your travel or accommodation website is concerned, you can get in touch with the Calm Team today on 01642 903030 or by firing across a quick enquiry email to talk@calmdigital.com.



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