Product pages are the most important part of any ecommerce website, and for travel agencies and tour operators that generally means the tour itinerary pages. This marks the end point for the entire customer journey to purchase, the moment of truth that consumers decide either to click “book now” or bail out and head to one of your competitors’ sites instead.
Considering the investments in traffic generation and prospect nurturing required to get people to these pages this final hurdle can make or break all your prior marketing efforts. For this reason travel brands should pay significant attention to testing and optimising their product pages to deliver more sales or leads – 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 high performing itinerary pages. Note that this deals only with design elements and key page functionality – there are numerous other factors critical to page performance such as load speed, mobile compatibility, the strength of your text and image content and of course the quality and competitiveness of the product offering itself.
But all other things being equal, virtually 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 even easier conversion point for your 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 web visitors to get their first impressions from a 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 legitimately listed. The “From only…$” format works fine for this.
Main content blocks vary according to the nature of the product 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 from the page, and ultimately revenue for your business. It doesn’t seem to make much difference if the sidebar is situated on the left or right, although given western readers scan from left to right it seems 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.