5 Essential Features for Any Travel & Accommodation Website

Booking a holiday is an exciting but cautious time for everyone. Customers are increasingly wary of pricing, offers, and hidden fees. How can you make sure that your customers have the most efficient and lucrative visit to your site possible? We’ve rounded up some essential features that your travel/accommodation site should include to give your brand the best chance of success.

Comprehensive but simple search and filtering

One of the toughest parts of putting together the perfect holiday package is finding exactly what’s right for you. By including easy-to-use, comprehensive search and filtering functionality, you’re giving your customer the biggest possible chance to find what they’re looking for. Beware you don’t overload visitors with options though, as the filter list can get rather unruly.

Filtering Options

Run some tests on your site to see which filters get used the most, and then move these further up in the list, and consider only showing four or five options, with additional filters being hidden beneath a clickable link or button.

To make it even easier for your customers to find the perfect result, consider having your search results update in real-time as the filters are modified. Speeding up your customer’s interaction with your site is never a bad thing - extra speed provides a smoother customer experience and will help to raise your customers confidence in your brand.

Stunning photography

There’s no easier way to capture your customer’s attention and imagination than with incredible travel photography. You want them to be able to imagine themselves sitting on the sand or laying beside the pool.

Travel Photography

Travelocity utilise wonderful, atmospheric imagery to set the scene for the locations they’re advertising. By appealing to as many of the visitor’s visual senses as possible, you’re putting yourself in with the best chance of getting lodged inside their brain, making sure that they’ll come back to you when they’re ready to book.

Don’t keep your photography hidden away; plaster huge, beautiful images in as many places as you can on your site (without overwhelming your visitors with visual information). Make sure you keep the images relevant to the destination your customer is looking at too, as you don’t want to be selling them a false landscape.

Make calendars a cakewalk

One big frustration for holiday hopefuls is the complexity of calendars. Too many travel sites make it too difficult to simply choose two dates. As well as making it simple for users, go a little further by giving them the option to utilise flexible dates, as they may well find themselves faced with a better deal that way.

Google Flights Calendar

As you can see above, Google Flights make finding the best price a doddle, by including prices within the calendar itself and making it immediately obviously which dates will give you the best deal.

As an extra little confirmation step, Google Flights also includes a handy tooltip to show you exactly what dates you’re choosing, and at what cost. This changes as you move your mouse over different dates and goes back to the real-time results point discussed earlier.

Verified customer reviews

By including customer reviews (especially ones that are verifiable through user profiles/past reviews) prominently on each of your available destinations/properties, you’re instantly putting a potential customer’s mind at risk.

Trip AdvisorIf you’re finding it difficult to implement customer reviews on your own site, it could be worth looking into embedding TripAdvisor reviews within your site, as this as a trusted, robust platform that is often a huge draw for travellers. TripAdvisor reviews include a score for each aspect of your visitor’s trip.

You’ll also want to give filtering options within your reviews, including the ability to sort the reviews by date, as customers will want the most up-to-date information possible. Including the option to agree with or ‘like’ reviews is also something worth considering, as this helps to indicate the most accurate reviews given

Keep it speedy

Whilst you want to maintain a high level of quality in your imagery and functionality, bogging your site down with too many oversized images and complex plugins will give your user’s a poor first experience, which will have a huge impact on your returning visitor rate.

Speed Load Time

Make sure your imagery is compressed as much as it can be, without becoming pixelated or blurry, and make sure that you use as little external add-ons as possible, as this means that your user’s browser has to make less requests elsewhere, giving them a much speedier loading time.

Make booking travel a luxury

Your customer’s holiday experience begins from the moment they begin to plan their trip, so giving them a useable, efficient and simple interface is an integral part of kickstarting the journey of a lifetime. Think of these features as the pillow mint - an added extra that is sure to put a smile on your customer’s face.

If you need help implementing any of the features listed above, or would just like to discuss how you can better market the fact that you already have them, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at Statement.

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