Promoting Your Travel Business on the Internet


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Promoting Your Travel Business on the Internet

  1. 1. How to promote your travel business on the internet Steve Carson
  2. 2. Why should your Travel Business have a website?
  3. 3. 2/3rds of travellers plan their vacations online
  4. 4. Why Have a Website? Your Business is open to the world 24/7, 365 days a year A website is an online brochure/catalogue that can be changed at any time Provides instant gratification for users Great way to gather information and statistics about your market Fantastic opportunity to cater to niche and micro- niche markets
  5. 5. General Structure of a Professional Website Design - you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Consider redesigns every few years. Use Flash sparingly Images - quality images are a must for travel sites Videos - consider adding videos to your site Content - well written, up-to-date content. No spelling mistakes or typos. Consider translation by a native speaker.
  6. 6. General Structure of a Professional Website Simple Booking Process Avoid need for registration and login Include About Us and Privacy Policy to reassure users Include Testimonials
  7. 7. Usability "On the Web, usability is a necessary condition for survival. If a website is difficult to use, people leave. If the homepage fails to clearly state what a company offers and what users can do on the site, people leave.If users get lost on a website, they leave. If a website’s information is hard to read or doesn’t answer users’ key questions, they leave. Note a pattern here?"Jakob Nielsen
  8. 8. Why is Usability Important? Web usability issues account for $25 billion in lost sales every year. (Zona Research) On average e-commerce sites could increase sales by 79% with a usability redesign (Jakob Nielsen) 58% of users who experience usability problems on a website do not return (Forrester Research)
  9. 9. Basics of Usability Consistency of presentation and controls Calls to action – make sure users can access key content or tools relevant to their visit quickly and easily. Logical organization of information and a clear site structure Contextual navigation – breadcrumb trails, on/off states in navigation menus so you know where you are.
  10. 10. Basics of Usability Continued... Efficient navigation – the 'Three Click Rule', users should be able to find whichever information they want within three clicks. Search – many users go straight for the search function when coming to a new website. Make sure that your search returns relevant results and if possible that these results can be refined and filtered. Speed – users will desert websites that are slow to load.
  11. 11. Web 2.0 – User Generated Content and Social Networking
  12. 12. Social Networks Facebook, Twitter and smaller social networking sites are hugely popular, using them you can leverage the power of digital word-of-mouth. Consider a Facebook page for your business and a “Like us on Facebook” button so users can promote you to their friends. Consider a Twitter account for your business. Tweet special offers, seasonal observations, news etc. - reward loyal customers with coupons.
  13. 13. Social Networks continued... Use Facebook and Twitter to strengthen relationships with existing customers and to create a community around your business. Add sharing links to key pages on your site. 'Share this page on Facebook/Twitter and the other sharing sites. This enables people to quickly share your content with others
  14. 14. How Much Does a Website Cost How long is a piece of string? You can expect to pay from around 20,000 THB for a very simple site to 500,000 THB for a very complex one
  15. 15. Keeping Website Spend Low Website must be built Content Management System so you can add/edit/delete pages, images etc at will without paying a Programmer. Show Web Designer examples of sites that you like Spend time getting the design right before building the site. Rebuilding can be expensive. Clearly specify any functionality. Vague specifications will lead to a lot of rework.
  16. 16. Keeping Website Spend Low For a new website consider a phased approach – no need to go live with 1000 features, release core features first and new features incrementally. “Release early, release often” Use open source technology – such as Plone, Drupal, Joomla, and MySql. These are often better than paid products and come without the need for expensive licenses.
  17. 17. Maintenance and Ongoing Costs Hosting – beware of false economy as page load speed is important. Support – backups, emergency maintenance. Downtime may mean you miss bookings. Clearly define the support agreement you are getting from your web supplier Third party services such as booking engines often come with a monthly charge.
  18. 18. Testing Testing should be done pre-release and on an ongoing basis - it is hugely important for high quality websites Check for dead links, spelling mistakes Check functionality of booking forms, contact forms and all site functionality. Consider test scripts that can be repeated Cross-browser and cross-device testing - how does your site look on an iPad? What does your site look like on the new browser Google Chrome?
  19. 19. Search Engines in Brief Google and the other search engines are critically important to the success of your website. Know which keywords you are targeting and make sure that website copy includes them. Make sure that the HTML code behind your site conforms to Web Standards like XHTML and is Search Engine Friendly. Ask your web developer to confirm that this is the case. Get other websites to link to yours. Consider hiring a professional
  20. 20. Monitoring the Situation Get Google Analytics installed on your site – you can monitor where interested users come from, what keywords they searched on, bounce rate and many other useful statistics. Study these statistics and use them to improve your site – if 90% of visitors to your site come from France then maybe you need a French translation.
  21. 21. Mobile Internet: The Future The mobile internet – how does your site look on an iPhone or a Blackberry? Consider a mobile optimised version of your website. Consider iPhone/Android/Blackberry Apps to make life easier for repeat customers.
  22. 22. ANY QUESTIONS?