Historically, travel advisor websites have been cluttered with loud colors, deeply discounted vacations, and a myriad of ads for various travel suppliers often placed by hosted agencies.
If a potential client didn’t click away within seconds of landing on the homepage, they’d scroll down to find dry sales copy and 1980s stock imagery (deeply lacking in any diversity of age, color, or body shape).
The websites that host agencies give to travel advisors are both a gift and a curse.
They are a gift to travel advisors who are bootstrapping their new travel startup and don’t realize there are other cost-effective and easy options. They are a curse because the websites never truly reflect the niche of the business or the ideal client it is targeting, and they don’t help travel advisors grow their own business.
Above all, the biggest mistake that most travel agency websites fail to make is consistently adding copy (words) and images about the destinations and experiences they want to sell, which are in direct alignment with their sales goals.
For example, if you want to sell a lot of a specific resort group that has properties in Los Cabos, Cancun, Punta Cana, and Negril, those are the destinations that you would focus on producing content about. You’d take a deep dive into everything about them from the experiences that you can have there, the food you can eat, the things you can buy, and so on.
And if those reasons aren’t enough, here are a few more to explain why you should be shining the spotlight on destinations and experiences on your website.
Positions Yourself as a Destination Expert
You should have two main focuses for your business:
Putting destination and experience content on your website lets your audience know you are knowledgeable about specific global destinations. If you specialize in beach vacations in Mexico and the Caribbean Islands, your website should be filled with beautiful images and itineraries that include places like Playa Del Carmen, Montego Bay, and Antigua (or whatever you sell).
Experts are easily able to build a healthy book of sales for their niche when they stay focused and show their focus.
Help your audience create and complete their travel bucket list
Travelers want to be inspired, and they’re eager to learn about new destinations. They want to know about all the ways they can connect with the destination and its culture.
Every traveler has a bucket list. It is a list of destinations and things they want to do before they kick the bucket (or if you feel that’s too morbid before you move on to the next destination).
You probably won’t be surprised that most travelers know where they want to go but have no clue what they’ll do when they get there.
What if you took it one step further for them and actually listed out experiences on your website that your audience may have never heard of?
If your audience is interested in culture, include an Australian itinerary that features a trip to a sacred space to watch an open-air aboriginal theatre production that transports them to the 1800s Australian ‘Dreamtime’. This is an experience they can not have anywhere else in the world, so let that be clear in your marketing. It is an experience that is unique to Australia’s culture and heritage.
Listing out experiences allows your client to have a preview of what it would be like to work with you, establishes you as the expert (again), and brings them closer to pulling out that credit card.
Remove Supplier Information
There is a tendency for advisors to load up their websites with supplier logos and all kinds of credentials (random letters) and badges.
If you’re using supplier logos, remember that these are likely brands that sell directly to consumers. There is no need for you to add their logos, mention their names, or provide links to their websites or social media.
You work hard to drive traffic to your business so that you can book them, not to drive traffic to someone else’s website.
If you have a certification that you feel is relevant such as being a Hawaii specialist or a luxury river cruise line certified specialist, go ahead and mention that (but only if it’s relevant to your niche). So leave that Hawaii certification off your river cruise website.
Having certain symbols on your website gives you credibility. The IATA logo, ASTA/ACTA and CLIA logos, and the travel insurance company you use are acceptable to display in the footer section of your website, as are your host agency and consortia (if needed).
Links to branded portals where you are guaranteed to earn commission are totally ok.
Use Itineraries to Show Audience the Bigger Picture
Your ideal client is coming to you because they don’t have time to plan their trip. They feel overwhelmed. They need your to help connect all of the dots. Travel itineraries not only show off the best features of a destination, but they showcase how potential experiences connect together and give travelers an idea of how much time they would need for a trip of this kind.
A brief, but well-written itinerary fires up your ideal client’s imagination and shows them what’s possible. Don’t include pricing, or dates, just the destination, accompanying list of incredible experiences, and the length of time.
So let’s pull this all together and give you a single task to move forward.
You will never sell what is not on your website. You will never sell what you don’t market. Your audience can’t get excited about or ask you about things that they don’t know about.
You will not hit the goals you set for your travel business if the content on your website is not in direct alignment with your goals. It’s time to go and check your website!
Am I using the wrong language in my content?
If you are a travel professional hoping to work with affluent travelers and high spenders, but you’re getting inundated with bargain hunters and coupon clippers, something is wrong. It very well could be your language.
Check to make sure you are not using any of these five words anywhere on your website or social media:
When you lead with price-centric posts or website content you attract price-centric clients.
You attract people who are chasing deals and want to save dollars. It’s is their primary focus.
So what happens when your favorite supplier drops an incredible promotion into your inbox that you want to share with your email list? If it’s in line with your niche, of course you should share it. But do it without the price-centric language. Emphasize why this experience is so incredible and why your clients shouldn’t miss out without mentioning the fact that it’s a “great deal.”
And most importantly, EMAIL it, don’t post it!
Am I giving out the wrong vibe with the wrong colors?
Think about some of those big brands associated with bargains, deals, and discounts. Sale and discount signs are always in red.
Think of the brands associated with the fast food outlets you drive past and grocery stores you frequent… they ALL have red in them… Target, KFC, McDonalds, Pizza Hut, Ralphs, Vons, Jimmy Johns, Del Taco, Burger King, KMart, Walmart.
The color red may be bright and bold, but it’s also risky and associated with danger and anger.
Color science matters and consumers respond to colors in very specific ways without even realizing it.
Banks and airlines almost always feature blue… same with social media icons that want to be trusted? Why? Blue is the color of trust.
Green will be seen around anything health and wellness-related. Yellow around friendship
The brands you love never choose their colors by love or mistake.