What should a Travel Agency website look like?

We've been told that there is a huge online opportunity for many years, but many travel agencies are still wondering how to make the most of the apparent opportunity - many have tried with varying amounts of success..

The choice has always been to either set up something simple that supports footfall, or alternatively choose to specialise and compete with tour operators on their turf - something that traditionally has required a large investment in time and money.

Our approach is different. 

We know that there is no hard and fast rule for every agency. Your website must play to your strengths and your customer journey from website to shop or online enquiry should be smooth and easy for the customer and the agent. 

It's essential that you choose a development partner who understands travel and can call on their experience to help you invest your hard earned money wisely.

Store Location Niche

Some agencies thrive on locating their store in just the right place for great footfall - offering a wide range of products to suit the geographic market. Their website needs to support their agency, providing contact details, store location and special offers for their market. There is no need for complex product information as there would be too much to add and maintain. A healthy facebook page and regular special offers with clear calls to action is essential.

The website can be very simple and relatively inexpensive for example - www.howardtravel.com 

Product Niche

Some travel agencies have specialisms, and many have developed their businesses into niche tour operators by creating product lines, specific deals or just great brochures targetting a particular niche (for example Cruises, or Safaris). To represent your product well enough to compete, you need to spend a lot of time managing that data. That's where TravelZen, our product management CMS can help - by providing specific product administration, date search and more for a wide range of products, you can create a site which can generate 1000s of online enquiries.

We have a number of examples from a simple brochure website which supports distribution - www.vacationstoamerica.com, To highly content rich and complex websites which generate 10,000s of visitors per month through SEO and deliver high quality enquiries - www.healthandfitnesstravel.com 

Market Niche

Travel Agencies who target a specific market segment are similar to those with a product niche, however there are a few key differences. Very high end travel agencies will require a very sharp design, branding is all important so a custom template is a good idea. That branding can be applied to a simple or product led website - see www.kirkerholidays.com for an example of a tour operator who has a particular look which reinforces their brand to their very high end and well educated market.

Guide pricing and options

Every website is different, and the cost will depend on your specific requirements, the design and your budget, however here is a guide to 3 common types of project, their features and an approximate cost.

Simple website supporting footfall niche or store

  • Customised from an existing template
  • Editable by you and your team
  • Page Builder*
  • Simple enquiry form
  • News / Blog
  • Facebook widget
  • Landing pages
  • Contact us / Location page
from £5,000

Simple product led website with search

  • Customised from an existing template
  • Editable by you and your team
  • Travel Zen**
  • Asset Zen integration***
  • Enquiry form
  • Page Builder*
  • Simple enquiry form
  • News / Blog
  • Facebook widget
  • Landing pages
  • Contact us / Location page
from £15,000

Advanced website with custom design

  • Full design process, custom template
  • Editable by you and your team
  • Travel Zen**
  • Asset Zen integration***
  • Advanced enquiry, or booking forms
  • Integration with third party systems
  • Custom development
  • Page Builder*
  • Simple enquiry form
  • News / Blog
  • Facebook widget
  • Landing pages
  • Contact us / Location page
from £TBC

*Page Builder - a tool for building responsive pages without the need for HTML knowledge (this page is built using page builder!)

**Travel Zen - Mr Zen's product management component which enables customers to manage tours, itineraries, accommodation, dates, prices and availability (if required).

***Asset Zen - Mr Zen's image management tool which provides an image library for your business and helps you use those images online. 

FAQs

How long does it take to build a website?

This depends on a few factors - there are certain aspects of the development that we can estimate easily because it's stuff we do day in, day out, there are other aspects that are much harder to estimate because the either involve third parties or custom code that hasn't necessarily been fully specified at the point of making the initial estimate.

Design - The design phase is hard to estimate because it involves a lot of input from the client and / or third parties and will also depend on the number of templates required for the site - we've been through design phases that have lasted 4 weeks to 6 months!

Build - The build phase is easier for us to estimate - usually 2 - 3 months for a relatively simple website up to 6 months for something larger and more complex.

Custom Code - This is usually only required with larger websites and again it's difficult to put timescales on it because there are usually many factors and parties involved and would be something we would discuss on a seperate basis.

Tip - Generally it's not a good idea to set an arbitrary deadline for a web project if you can avoid it - state clearly the commercial benefits for hitting a certain date, and we will take that into account. It's important not to short cut the development of your website which will last for many years for the sake of a few days or weeks at the beginning.

What do I need to budget for the ongoing costs?
Is there a minimum term?
My current website developer has tied us in so we can't go elsewhere!
Once I have a site, can I keep adding to it / upgrading?
I can get a website from my cousin Barry for peanuts - why should we come to you?
My local website agency has given me a competitive quote - why do we need a travel expert?
How much does it cost to build a website like (Expedia / Travelocity / AirBnB)
What part do I need to play in the website build / how much time will I need to book out?
What is your availability like?

So What’s Next?

Send us a note and we'll get back to you!