The secrets to the perfect travel website

The secret to the perfect website is a bit of a mystery. There are a lot of best-practice guidelines out there, but there doesn't seem to be a one-size-fits-all perfect format.

When it comes to the travel industry, however, crafting the perfect website is very important. As the Financial Times recently reported, the global travel industry is booming and expanding markets in Latin America and China can be a veritable goldmine of opportunity for local travel sites. As a result, travel industry businesses from across the globe are seeking to improve their website offerings to tap into these new, lucrative markets.

So how are they doing this?

Firstly – hire or outsource to the right designer

Whether you have an in-house web team or are outsourcing the design work, ensure the professional in charge of the operation understands your travel brand, target audience and offerings. An understanding of the technological aspect of crafting a website and an eye for aesthetically pleasing formats are musts if a website is to stand out for the right reasons.

The right designer will know how to divide the layout, choose a colour scheme, create the right typography and present a number of draft website frameworks for you to choose from.

Secondly – keep it mobile, SEO and user friendly

When it comes to the nitty-gritty of website design, it also needs to have a number of specific attributes. It needs to be mobile friendly, meaning it has a responsive design and users are able to access it from any device; it needs to be SEO friendly so that users can find the website easily and from anywhere in the world; and it needs to be user friendly, meaning navigation across the site is seamless and not over-complicated.

It is also worth ensuring the most important information is included in the top half of the screen, or 'above the fold.' This means visitors to the site won't need to scroll down to find the benefits of the package or service, call to action or main logo – it should all be automatically visible.

Thirdly – take the time to create the content

This is especially relevant for travel brands. The content included in a travel website needs to be well thought out, carefully crafted, speak to the audience and reflect the business itself. The imagery chosen and content published needs to clearly reflect the ideals of the business and engage the target audience – this means doing market research to discover what people are looking for from your travel website, and providing them with that information; it may be images shared by other happy customers and travel blogs, alongside information regarding hotels, travel arrangements and various destinations.

Does your travel website take all of the above into account?