The anatomy of an optimised tour itinerary page
The itinerary page is the most important part of a tour operator’s website. This is the end point for the entire customer journey to purchase; the moment of truth when customers either decide to “Enquiry Now” or bail out and head to a competitor’s site instead.
Considering the investments made just getting people to this final hurdle, the quality of the page is of paramount importance. What happens on this page will make or break the months and years of marketing efforts that brought someone to this point.
For this reason it’s essential that you pay extra attention to the design and testing of these pages to optimise their performance – a process known as conversion rate optimisation (CRO).
In our own CRO experiments for travel brands of all shapes and sizes we’ve identified a number of core elements that run across all high performing itinerary pages.
[Note that here we’re only looking at design elements and on-page features – there are numerous other factors to CRO such as load speed, mobile UX, the quality of your content and messaging, and of course the quality and competitiveness of the product offering itself.]
All other things being equal, every successful itinerary page we’ve seen includes the following page elements:
Main contact info in the header: Putting your phone and email details up here is a no-brainer, especially for your mobile and tablet visitors. Using a click-to-call HTML tag allows a frictionless conversion point for mobile visitors.
A bold headline that hammers home the USP: This is the biggest and most emotionally-charged purchase decision that many consumers will make all year. It’s also takes just milliseconds for visitors to get the first impressions from your page. That makes grabbing (and keeping) their attention with a short and emotionally compelling introduction absolutely essential.
A descriptive, unambiguous subtitle: Immediately after the strong first impression it’s important to follow up with a crystal clear summary of what’s on offer: the tour destinations, experience, number of days and, critically, the price. For this first “headline” price, typically the lowest per-person rate is listed without any extras or inclusions, i.e. the lowest possible rate that can be accurately listed. The “From only…$” format works fine for this.
Main content blocks: These vary according to the nature of the tour/experience but generally consumers would expect to see a brief overview followed by more detailed information on the itinerary, accommodations, additional services, etc. Towards the end after the product and offering has been laid out, the detailed pricing is broken out, including variables for accommodation tiers, occupancy, etc.
[NB. It has become fashionable to organise these blocks into tabs to minimise page depth and scrolling and help keep important elements like contact forms higher up the page. The tradeoff is in requiring visitors to click to view content. Good design and copy are needed to reduce friction whatever layout is used.]
A sidebar sitting alongside the main product content is the main driver of conversions (and ultimately revenue) from the page. Given that Western languages scan from left to right it’s logical to place the main product information to the left and the intended action/outcome to the right.
The sidebar is focused around a booking or reservations form, which should always be cushioned by social proof features to reduce anxiety and instil confidence and reassurance in the brand: testimonials, a guarantee, a 5* Trip Advisor icon, reviews, etc.
Beneath the contact form should be a “soft conversion”, i.e. a pathway for visitors who aren’t ready to take the plunge. This could be navigating to similar tours, share/email the page to a friend, download trip notes/brochure, etc.
[NB. A fixed sidebar that scrolls down the page with the user is an effective way of keeping the main conversion point within view at all times. It’s also important to check your responsive CSS doesn’t simply hide the sidebar on narrower screens.]
At the end of the page is a second booking form, with more fields for necessary information. Below this form is space for accreditations, memberships, consumer protection logos and anything else that is likely to provide extra reassurance.
Perfecting an itinerary landing page is part science, part art. There’s no substitute for a compelling offer and powerful content, but that must be reinforced with a page design that is empirically tested and continually optimised. After all, you’re spending time and money getting people to these pages, it’s important to know they’re working.
How about you? Drop us a line if you’d like to check and optimise your own tour page performance.