Lots of people are relying on travel websites for their travel needs.
From plane tickets to hotel bookings and everything else in between, travelers now have the option to customize their travel experiences.
Any travel booking website can get you from point A to point B, but the best ones will get you to your destination just the way you like it.
According to Booking.com’s Global Director of Customer Service James Waters, personalization is key.
As we operate in an industry that is incredibly personal, emotional and complex, maintaining the right balance between genuine human interaction and efficient automation is something we’re always trying to fine-tune and optimize throughout every stage of the consumer journey.
Now, I know what you’re thinking:
Creating a travel booking site that accepts bookings and reservations in real time requires technical know-how.
Imagine: booking reservations for different destinations – from a swanky five-star resort in the Bahamas to a cabin retreat in North Carolina – is no easy feat even for advanced developers.
However, regardless of your lack of knowledge for developing this type of site, this guide will teach you everything you need to know about creating a travel booking site that will help travelers plan their perfect trip!
Five easy steps to creating an online travel booking website
Choose the right platform
The first step to creating any site is to choose the right platform or Content Management System (CMS).
For beginners, WordPress is a perfect choice. Not only is it easy to navigate, but it’s also packed with tons of features that will help you create an excellent web experience for your potential customers.
Other free platforms might save you a bit of money on the get-go, but you might get frustrated with their lack of functionalities.
Come up with a unique domain name
Next, you need to come up with a unique domain name that visitors will easily remember. If you already have a company name, it’s perfectly fine to use that as your domain name. But if you really want to make a striking impression, choose a domain name that’s smart and catchy.
Your domain name should also give visitors a clear picture of the services that your website is offering. This way, they will know beforehand what to expect when they visit your site.
Once you’ve determined your domain name, claim it on Namecheap. It offers the best prices for your domain name of choice.
Once you have a platform and a domain, the next thing that you need to look for is a place to put them on the internet. If you want to have full control and ownership of your online travel booking site, you have to get it self-hosted.
There are tons of trusted hosting companies out there so make sure to choose the one with the highest reliability, and that will also give you the most value for your money.
In fact, according to Matthew Woodward, expensive doesn’t always mean best!
It’s best to proceed to choose your web hosting with caution. Aside from referring to trusted reviews, talk to their customer support and get an idea on how they treat their users. Sometimes, the only thing that separates a web hosting provider from a great one is their support team.
Use an efficient theme
The success of your travel website depends mainly on how well it works.
While your website’s design also plays a vital role in getting people to trust your brand, its functionality will ultimately earn you a loyal fanbase.
That said, you don’t have to worry about the available functions in a theme. It’s even better if you can find a theme that is minimalist and has clean code. The Genesis Framework and GeneratePress are examples of such themes.
Another feature you need to look for in your WordPress site’s theme is speed. Conversion rate plummets if your site takes a while to load. In fact, more than a quarter of your visitors will leave your site if it loads more than five seconds.
Both themes above, due to their tight code, load faster than their contemporaries.
However, having a minimalist travel website might not appeal to your audience. You might want to consider using a page builder plugin for your site. They work well on the two mentioned themes and others.
They help you create pages using a drag-and-drop builder function. There’s no need for you to worry about coding. These plugins help you focus on making a better-looking travel site for you without compromising its speed.
Set up your booking system
Now comes the meaty part.
Most travel sites allow you to book flight reservations and travel accommodations using their search platform.
It works similar to a self-storage aggregator where you can search for the most convenient storage spaces near you.
In this case, the platform will compare prices for your flight and lodging from different airlines and booking agencies.
This is their business model – the more customers they refer to airlines and agencies, the more they will earn money.
Of course, you want to give your visitors the best and most seamless experience when booking their flights and hotels.
In this case, you would usually reach out to different travel affiliate programs and include their offers on your site manually.
If you don’t know yet, this is a complete pain in the ass and a waste of time.
There is no way you can stay on top of all these affiliate programs. Not to mention, you need to set up the affiliates properly so you can correctly earn from each transaction.
This would require coding and design experience to do, right?
Thankfully, that’s not the case!
Travelpayouts help you create a white-label travel search engine for your site.
You can design the search engine to match your site design for better branding.
Once users type in their destination, the results will show the prices from different airlines and agencies. It also features the best offers, baggage allowances, customizable filters, and more to help your visitors find the best flight and accommodation.
The platform also signs you up to affiliate partners so you can earn a commission from every successful transaction on your site.
The more people book on your site using this platform, the more you will earn!
You’d think that building a travel website requires technical experience and know-how. Judging from this post, that’s not the case.
It follows the same process as building a website. The only difference is you need to set up a white-label booking search engine on your site to mimic successful travel sites like Trivago and others.
The next step is to get some visitors to your website who will start making bookings. If digital marketing seems a bit challenging for you or you just don’t have the time to do it yourself, a provider like Trafficora will help you execute your inbound marketing campaign.
But before you get there, you need to establish the foundation of your travel site as stated above.