How to Increase the Conversion Rate of a Travel Website? Red Collar’s Guide, Part 1

Red Collar
5 min readSep 18, 2023

A travel operator’s website is the most convenient way to find and purchase a suitable trip.

However, if the site fails to provide the desired information, the search function does not work, and no reservations can be made, users will quickly close the tab and turn to a competitor whose website is more user-friendly and appealing.

Naturally, this outcome is unfavorable for the business. Thus, it is logical to conclude that the main page should be attractive to users. But how can we create such a page and increase its conversion rate? Let’s explore together.

Prerequisites

We are Red Collar, a company that has been operating in the travel industry for over 12 years, specializing in the development of digital services and products, particularly websites.

Recently, we have been involved in numerous travel projects that share similar characteristics. For each of these projects, we have conducted extensive research before commencing the design and development phases.

Conducting thorough research enables us to comprehensively understand the needs of clients in the tourism industry and identify key elements to consider when creating websites or applications.

With this in mind, we aim to share the valuable insights gained from these studies. But first, let’s take a quick look into the current travel website trends.

Make your travel website a one stop shop

One of the top trends in the modern travel industry is the transformation of tour operators’ websites into a “one-stop-shop” hub.

This is both a strategic path of development for many companies and a frequent request from users. After all, it is much more convenient to plan your trip in one place.

This trend leads to the fact that websites are transformed into complex, highly loaded systems that must accommodate and process a large amount of information that includes the tours themselves, tickets, hotels, discounts, and third-party providers.

It is important not just to process more data, but to offer it to the user in a clear and convenient form as well.

Offering a blend of both online and offline services

Another hot trend is the intermarriage of the travel websites online and offline operations. Despite the desire to move most of the processes into the digital sphere, often some users end up completing the booking not on websites, but in the sales offices or through a manager’s call.

Therefore, when designing a tour operator’s website, it is important to consider the user journey that maximizes the amount of information about the trip a tourist can get online.

Ideally, users should have no questions throughout the entire booking journey yet end up making a purchase thanks to information-packed, yet seamless processes.

Creating such a well-optimized service will not only reduce your workload but cut operational costs as well.

Now, let’s move on to the gold chase we promised to share earlier. So, with regards to website design in the travel industry,…

What Is Important to Users?

What makes them pick your competitors’ sites and not yours?

Well, we conducted a survey of travel website users. In this survey, 24 customers of tours and travel companies were interviewed face-to-face, 70 others filled out an online questionnaire. In the end, they highlighted the things that interest them the most and those that annoy them in equal measure.

What’s important on the main page?

To begin with, let’s define that we are working with two types of audiences: “warm” — those who are already familiar with the brand and are ready to book a tour, and “cold” — users who are unfamiliar with the tour operator.

As such, it is important to structure the narrative in a way that takes into account the interests of both audiences. But how do you do that?

From our case, we will divide the blocks into two types: “warming” — where we provide maximum useful information for “cold” users, and conversion — where the “warm” user is ready to make a booking.

The main features that interest users on the main page are the filters and the ability to allow them to choose what they need without too much fuss. Note that this is important for all types of customers.

Promotions and special offers, news, and descriptions of hotel services — these are the parameters that help to warm up “cold” users, by supplying them with answers to interesting questions necessary for decision-making.

There are many other blocks that are important for both “cold” and “warm” audiences, and we will discuss them in detail later on.

Streamlining the Customer’s Journey

It is very important to understand how users navigate through travel websites so you can create an optimal path that leads to a seamless browsing and booking experience.

To demonstrate the purpose of the blocks, we have categorized them into two groups: warming and conversion.

The warming elements, represented by hearts, help users make choices, reinforce those choices, and create emotional connections.

On the other hand, the star blocks are conversion elements that allow users to move on to the next step, which is either booking or directly purchasing a tour.

Based on our scheme, you can observe that users often follow this route: main page — selections by filter sets — tour page.

The tour page serves as the key page where the conversion process begins. It is essential for all users to arrive at this page in order to select a tour and eventually proceed with booking and purchasing.

Nevertheless, other blocks are equally significant. If they are not well-developed, fail to provide adequate information, or result in dead-end pages or poor designs, users will simply leave the site without completing their journey of purchasing a tour.

And guess what, we have plenty more interesting details regarding how to design a high impact main page! Stay tuned, we’ll share it very soon!

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