Interest in travel continues to rise. From families planning extravagant getaways during festivals to singles hiking on the mountains, travel has grown a quite a bit in the last few decades, and along with it, so has the medium of doing business in the travel niche. With the ever-increasing adoption of “online” business strategies, many travel industry businesses like hotels, adventure getaways, tour companies, vacation rentals and hostels can earn higher revenues. If you own a travel business and still do not have a modern website using the WordPress CMS, now is a great time to go online. In this article, we describe how and where to start building a travel site.
Elements to Include
Before you start building your travel industry website, you need to consider the essential elements of your business. To start with, you should be prepared to include all the marketing elements that can help you build your brand presence online. You'll want to include links to your social network profiles, customer testimonials, and an introductory blurb about your company.
You'll also want to identify which features to include to make your website helpful and convenient for your users such as maps and imagery on your site to help your customers make reservations, find details about your travel getaways and get your contact information. If you want to accept online payments, you'll also need to research payment gateways.
Tell Your Story
Engage your customers by connecting them to your success journey. Narrating your story is a key element of any online marketing campaign. Starting from “how your business came into existence” to “the success and popularity you gained,” gives your customers a way to build an emotional connection with your business. Long-standing businesses have the benefit of going back generations while highlighting company history and milestones. Young business startups can instead describe the story of how the business was born.
Visual content is a significant advantage of modern marketing. Visual storytelling options can leave a more memorable impact on your customers. There are many timeline plugins available for WordPress that can help with your storytelling. Timeline Express is one of the best plugins enabling you to develop a great vertical timeline. You can use this platform to help lay out the history of your travel business to your clients and target audience. You can get the basic version of this plugin for free, which includes many exciting features like CSS animation, customizable date, caption and image for individual timeline entry. The pro version is available at $39.99 and gives you multiple-sorting capability, timeline and category options.
Responsive and Detailed Getaways
In addition to telling your story effectively, for business growth, it is important to relay and sell positive, quality travel experiences to your customers. Should your travel WordPress site need to showcase details of holiday packages and destination details, one optimal way to do so is again by implementing a visual approach. You can use a plugin to build beautiful, stellar looking albums and photo galleries for your clients. One of the best plugins for creating responsive photo galleries and albums is Gallery Bank. With Gallery Bank, you can make a thumbnail size collage framework of images.
Additionally, if you would like to include your Instagram promotional social media profile on your site, you can use plugins like Instagram Feed. You can get this plugin for free and start displaying content from your publicly visible Instagram profiles. This plugin can connect more than one social profile to your site in multiple, customizable grids. In addition to the travel experiences, you could also add featured getaways with details.
To allow your customers orientation and insight into nearby areas, you can add custom Google Maps and location pins. With the help of plugins like Stellar Places, you can easily set up a platform within your travel site where your users can pinpoint important locations, sort pinned locations and display sites for business.
Reservation and Travel Booking Plugins
Besides providing relevant information about your business, you'll want to make sure your travel site offers travel booking and reservation options for your customers. A reservation plugin can easily be installed for in-house reservation setup. One of the best reservation plugins, perfect for start-ups and smaller businesses, is Booking Calendar. With the help of this plugin, your visitors can check the availability of hotel rooms, building units, and vacation houses, and complete their booking in less than a minute.
Most of the travel business giants use top tour and travel booking software like Checkfront, TourCMS or TrekkSoft. If these software programs are within your budget, nothing could be more beneficial. Each of the plugins are developed for seamless integration with your WordPress travel site.
Many types of travel business need a method for their website to accept payments since travelers tend to prefer the convenience of paying online. To integrate payment in your travel WordPress site, WooCommerce is a solid choice. According to a survey conducted by BuiltWith, WooCommerce offers both the basic and advanced functionalities necessary for an e-commerce site. Regardless of the number of services you have, this plugin can handle all of your payment requirements, including report generation, inventory tracking, major areas of payment and tax handling.
As per the E-commerce Usage statistics by BuiltWith, top in E-commerce by the week beginning 28 August 2017:
Another recommended plugin for more streamlined travel businesses is the Simple PayPal Shopping Cart. This plugin is useful for installing the “Add to Cart” button to any page, post or sidebar. Also, it aids in routing all your payments via PayPal. As the PayPal brand is highly trusted and widely-known, this lends credibility to your online payment collection.
Grab Customer Attention with Social Visibility
Social media accounts linked to your website can give visitors additional information about the identity and quality of your travel company. Connected social media accounts can also further drive traffic to your travel site. Social media is a proven way to acquire customers. The addition of social media integration and client testimonials help build confidence in your business. To accomplish this, there are some great free plugins like Strong Testimonials. You can get the license for pro version of Strong Testimonials in just $89 per year. You can easily customise this plugin according to your needs, display excerpts, display reviews and show customized picture thumbnails. This plugin also allows front-end submissions by clients. Another good plugin for social media integration is Monarch Social Sharing. This plugin is already integrated into more than 80 modern WordPress themes.
Get a Suitable Theme for Your WordPress Travel Site
When selecting a theme for your WordPress travel site, it's best to choose one that already possesses all your desired features or one that is easily customizable. One of the best options for the tourism industry is Elegant Estate. This theme is integrated with ready-to-use location mapping, gallery, testimonials and booking forms. You can also install and activate social media and other e-commerce plugins in few clicks.
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For $69 a year, you can get Elegant Estate license that includes full access and premium support.
Some other jaw-dropping WordPress travel themes for hotels, travel agencies, hostels and other travel businesses are:
#1 Travel Tour
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A WordPress theme focusing on the travel and tourism industry, it is fully SEO optimized and compatible with many useful plugins like WooCommerce and Page Builder.
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Kallyas is a visually eloquent and sophisticated WordPress theme, designed especially for the travel industry. This theme features a top of the line image gallery and Google Maps API integration. Also, Kallyas is equipped with SEO measures, which can help you widen your audience reach.
#3 Travel Time
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Travel Time is a flexible travel agency theme for WordPress. If you are looking to improve affiliate income, this theme is the best choice for you.
The travel industry is one of the fastest growing with increasing connectivity to technology. If your travel business is not online, you may be missing many potential customers every day. With the above guide, you can easily setup your travel WordPress site and reach more of your target market.