Why isn’t your travel site converting?

Nagging doubts about the performance of your website? Think you might be losing out on revenue? Are users getting frustrated and going to your competitors?

The answer is probably yes to all of the above. Trust me, (and we work with leading travel brands day in, day out, you are not alone. At 3Sixty, we transform digital performance for our travel partners. Years of digital, UX, design, and travel sector experience, combined with research, hypothesis implementation, data insight analysis, and a lot of user testing, and we still aren’t perfect, far from it. We make mistakes, have A/B tests that fail, there are always opportunities to improve.

But if you are following these conversion friendly tips, you’ll be doing alright by my book.

Reykjavik, Iceland. 3Sixty team trip, March 19.

1.) Get the foundations right. Page speed is a huge influencer on customer experience and conversion. Mobile is the main offender, last week the head of travel at Google presented the hard-hitting stat that 53% of mobile users leave your website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. For those that stay, each second counts. For a simple test; use Google page speed insights which is free and it comes with recommendations. https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights

The other big foundation is having a responsive website that works on all major devices, it’s not negotiable it’s vital. If you don’t, and you have a poor mobile experience, I promise you, you will be losing a load of sales. It’s now fairly widely accepted that lots of research starts on mobile, but we are seeing transactions growing at a huge level too.

Whilst I don’t fully agree with this quote from Travelport (not to say they are wrong, but it isn’t reflective for us yet), we are seeing mobile revenues and transactions getting much closer to desktop levels. Furthermore, traffic is already typically higher.

Mobile eCommerce transactions are expected to surpass desktop for the first time in 2019 Travelport, 2019

2.) Understand your analytics. What is the user journey? Where are the drop offs? What are the key exit pages? This can teach you so much around where the stumbling blocks are, focusing your attention.

Tailored content is great, but don’t get too personal too soon.

3.) **Personalisation__. It’s another obvious one, but relevance is vital. We are increasingly time poor with increasingly greater expectations. Serving up relevant and ‘tailored’* content is key. *_don’t be creepy_

69% of travellers are more loyal to travel brands who personalise their travel for them_._ Google Data 2018

4.) People based imagery. Another huge conversion booster. Seeing real people having a great time on holiday, on a trip, in a hotel bar, on a cruise ship — it really helps. Ensure the imagery is both aspirational but realistic, it needs to be reflective of your audience.

5.) 3rd party integrations. Use 3rd party integrations to make data capture or payment easier. Facebook, Gmail, Twitter, social sign-ins etc save time and drive conversion.

6.) Trust signals. Whether that is awards, media quotes, key stats, it’s important that (especially for new or challenger brands) you provide trust signals that provide the user with confidence.

7.) Super clear CTA’s (calls to action), each page should have a focus, what do you want to the user to do? Ensure the CTA is clear, has standout and supports this next step. If the key next step isn’t obvious for the user, you’re failing. Please note, pages with 5 big CTA’s on one page doesn’t mean 5 X the conversions. A good example from Tui highlighted below — utilising a few of the tips in this article.

8.) Stay above the fold. Is there a fold? There was, then there wasn’t and now there is again. It’s gone full circle, but behaviours change. We use CrazyEgg analytics and can see that whilst some users do scroll and engage, many don’t, key messages and CTA’s need to be above the fold.

9.) Create urgency. Countdown timers work, they really work. If you have an expiring deal, that little timer will drive action. If this isn’t relevant, scarcity works well too — ‘only 4 left’, ‘7 booked this hotel’, however, it needs to be believable. I recently attended an event at Google, run by SearchStar, whereby CRO specialist Ryan Webb was also driving this point home; if there has been ‘1 left’ for 4 months straight, you risk losing not only the prospect, potentially brand credibility, equally, it’s just plain wrong!

10.) Social proofing. Testimonials, ratings, or guest feedback is always recommended with the caveat that your ratings need to be good; if they aren’t then let’s face it, you have a bigger conversion challenge ;-)

11.) Multiple methods of contact. Digital conversions are great, low effort, low admin, but the fact is, some people need that one to one interaction, be that a phone call, a store visit or a live chat. Make it easy for the user by providing all the options, chatbots could be a good back up for out of hours if set up correctly.

12.) Tailored landing pages. Creating focused landing pages be that certain holiday types, regions, scenarios e.g. French holidays for families, or informed by localisation e.g destinations that fly from Bristol. This relevancy will be rewarded with a more engaged audience, not to mention a pat on the back from the SEO team.

These are just quick tips, a checklist of items to work through/or used to appraise your own website. We do in-depth reports that analyse the performance of websites for both travel brands and investment firms. We’d always recommend conducting user testing, but there are quicker and cheaper ways to get feedback too.