Making your website look like Google for travel booking might seem like a smart move: minimal color, minimal graphics and nothing superfluous to the task of searching. And for many travel customers it’s probably not a problem. They just want to find a hotel or holiday at the cheapest price and in the quickest way. They’ve done their research elsewhere. But some online travel customers don’t experience it that way.
Captain Conversion ran a user research study recently, testing 5 popular travel booking websites. And we found an interesting objection: Some participants felt one of the sites – Lowcostholidays.com – was too simple, too plain and boring for a travel site:
That’s the plainest of them all. There’s not much colour in that. I think that’s less attractive. You like seeing a bit of colour; you’re looking for a holiday.
You want it to look holiday-ish.
Taking context into account
There’s a difference between searching the likes of Google and searching for travel. A lot of the time people are searching Google for something mundane. Maybe it’s work-related. Maybe it’s symptoms of an illness. Maybe it’s just the name of a website they want to visit.
They’re not on Google to feel excited and inspired. They just want to get the information as quickly as possible. And Google does a great job of that.
But it’s different when people search for travel. Going on holiday, staying in hotels and exploring new destinations are interesting. People look forward to these things.
And some customers want travel sites to reflect that emotional desire. Maybe it’s with imagery, graphics, ‘holiday-ish’ colors, words or whatever else. They want the site to excite and inspire them, to make them look forward to booking a trip.
Which obviously works in your favour, as your travel site is likely to get more bookings if you evoke the right emotions and get people excited about booking there – rather than the plain and boring place they’ve just been.
Is your travel site stripping off too many emotional layers in its design, leaving it naked on the beach without a towel?