There's no secret about the importance of web design in ensuring your business' success. If you're in the travel and leisure industry, this can be particularly true.
A unique market with numerous challenges for anyone trying to make it, travel requires a combination of stellar selling skills and spot-on expectation management. This can be quite a delicate balance to achieve.
Well-designed travel sites are not only rare but, more importantly for business owners, challenging to design. Often requiring advanced functionality, a high level of adaptability, and near-constant updates, it's clear that they necessitate a professional approach. Moreover, they require business owners to have a strong understanding of what they need and want in terms of both appearance and functionality.
With that in mind, it is crucial to have a resource to draw inspiration from. The following are some of the most well-made travel websites in the industry, spanning several niches. If you're redesigning or looking to develop a brand new website, then they're more than worth checking out.
Aesthetic Appeal & Visual Branding: onefinestay
Aesthetics are seemingly hard to measure, which is why so many travel sites tend to go with proven-to-work practices, templates, and web design trends when choosing the look for their website. The thing is, however, the success of your professional endeavours will rest on the shoulders of the right aesthetic choices.
The visual elements you choose for your website have many implications. First and foremost, a positive first impression will allow you to prove to potential customers that your business is worth their time. Moreover, being visually unique will help you set you apart from your competition. Then, of course, there's the question of brand positioning: research has shown time and again that visual elements of web design determine the trustworthiness of your entire business.
With all this in mind, it is evident that you need to make the right aesthetic choices for your travel brand.
Before you start thinking about what you want your website to look like, take the time to consider the core principles of your business:
• What is your mission?
• Who are your customers?
• What's your unique value proposition?
A travel site that does a stellar job of staying on-brand with visual and web design elements is onefinestay.
Centred around luxury travel rentals, every aspect of the brand's homepage exudes refinement and elegance. The chosen imagery is reflective of their offer, the layout and typography are refined, and the layout naturally follows the customer's buying journey. Simply put, it's a well-designed travel site that manages to look just the way it should for its intended purpose.
Stellar Copy & CTA Use: Visit Idaho
Of course, it's not just visuals that will impact the performance of your website. How you communicate your message is going to be of importance as well.
Finding the best possible way to present your services and word your calls to action will, inevitably, affect the extent to which potential customers turn into buyers. Moreover, your website copy will impact SEO and will help your website rank higher on SERPs, thus driving organic (aka. free) traffic to your business.
If you take a look at the Visit Idaho website, you'll see that it does a stellar job of communicating the potential of the state's offer. The Outdoors page, for example, relies on a combination of images and snippets of information. It gives insights into the available activities and uses creative CTA buttons that compel visitors to find out more about Idaho's offer. This approach is paired with a user-friendly interface and a simple design, making for a complete travel website experience.
Source of Valuable Information: The Adventure Junkies
Of course, it's not a bad thing to remember that there's more to building up a successful business than branding.
For a travel site to be truly helpful, it must offer more than just sales messages. It must also provide value to customers in all stages of the buyer journey. With this in mind, it's not a bad idea to develop a strong content marketing strategy, and, perhaps, even make it a part of your branding.
The Adventure Junkies is a travel business that rests on the idea of making adventurous travel accessible to anyone. To drive the message home, they have centred their homepage design around the idea of offering information and guiding potential customers towards more enjoyable travel experiences.
What's interesting about their design is how it efficiently mimics their mission; that is, it provides helpful information in different formats. The homepage is broken up into several segments covering the most relevant magazines, videos, and books an aspiring adventurer might want to read.
The entire ordeal is topped off with a Get Inspired segment that offers web visitors the chance to sign up for a weekly newsletter, making for the perfect combination of content and email marketing in service of ecommerce.
Best UX for Driving Conversions: IMG
The final example of a well-designed travel website comes from a business that understands just how impactful user experience is for conversions and sales.
We know that consumers want quick access to information. Furthermore, we're aware of the fact that they value website usability over aesthetics. So, it's quite important to consider how you can make your travel website the ultimate answer to their needs.
Optimizing for mobile traffic, paying attention to loading speed, and doing your best to simplify all conversion processes are great places to start when looking to improve UX.
What IMG does particularly well on their Travel Insurance page is offering a complete user-centric experience.
The landing page includes all the necessary information a potential customer could want when making a decision.
• There are well-placed, well-worded CTA buttons in highly-visible places.
• The page incorporates a comparison of three different plans along with their features and price points.
• There is an easily-accessible contact form, and a phone number customers can call.
• The page makes use of social proof to further drive conversions.
• Finally, there's a FAQ section that answers a variety of questions a potential buyer may have.
As you can see, there are different approaches to developing a well-designed travel site.
For businesses who want to get the absolute most out of their homepage, the key isn't just to focus on looks. Instead, it is to take functionality and performance into account as well.
The four examples listed above all focus on different aspects of web design. Their greatest achievement, however, is a strong command of their target audience's needs. Moreso is their willingness to meet those needs head-on with effective and beautifully packaged solutions.