Enhancing capabilities of your website
As a travel company, your website is your one of the main marketing tools at your disposal. But soon you realize that having a decent website with latest content alone is not sufficient to grow. There is much more you can do to enhance what you can do with your website with minimal investment. Here we outline some of the tools or services that you can add on to your existing website and enhance what it can do for you.
Online/ Offline chat
These have been around for some time now, but still a useful way to have direct interaction with your customers. If you cannot have online chat then you could go for offline chats where customer will be presented with a question to which he or she may respond with basic query they would have about your services. That way, you could gather details of potential customers and expand your network.
Having an online live chat is not feasible for most of the companies for obvious reasons; hence there are few chatbot programs that are available which help you automate the chatter experience. Basically, you would pre-define the questions and few actions based on customer replies. That way, the site becomes interactive, you gather the information from your customers and control how the customers navigate the website and get most out of their time on your site.
Social media plug-ins
Like, Comment, Share has been made possible by social media companies to integrate on websites; apart from that you may also have live feed of your social media account stream on the website. That way whatever you post on Facebook for example, would also appear on the website simultaneously, allowing your customers to view latest posts on the website itself.
A CRM may be integrated in a website for multiple purposes on various levels, but one of the basic integrations is to have customer inquiries fed directly into your CRM system. That way, it directly gets into the sales work-flow and avoids overhead of data entry.
You may use Google Maps or any other free map service for this purpose, but having an interactive map for your itineraries, showing all the locations and nearby attractions definitely has a visual appeal while selling the tours online. Depending upon your website traffic and number of hits to the maps application, you may purchase a paid version of maps service provider. Anyway, the services are quite cheap and their free access quota is also quite large. Unless you are expecting huge traffic, a free account would be sufficient for most cases.
Payment gateway integration
If you have customers that are not local, I think it is a must these days to have an online payment option available on your website. The most basic and inexpensive way to implement this is to have a simple payment option, when clicked redirects user to the payment screen where user puts in payment amount and makes the payment. You would need to choose any payment gateway service based on their transaction rates, popularity and ease of integration.
This is really not an integration, but putting in analytics code from Google Analytics etc, in order to track your website visitors and usage etc. Without this all the efforts you take on your website basically goes unmeasured and loses its purpose. So having an analytics tool integrated in your website is a must-have for any travel company.
If you are already maintaining a blog elsewhere, you may consider integrating it into your website. If you are not, then you might think of building this feature into the site itself or have a Wordpress like blog developed and link it with the website. Either way, a blog helps manage all your articles in one place and helps you establish as a thought leader in your space.
Shopping cart is really for e-commerce like websites that sell merchandise. However, you may want to have shopping-cart-like feature where customers choose various tours or experiences which they can add to the cart and make a purchase in bulk. Although purchasing experiences online would require checking availability in the back end, you may keep those experiences that do not require availability checking with the suppliers. It really depends on the type of services and tours you sell, that would decide whether you can have a shopping cart.
Advanced integrations would require a separate article to go into the depth of what and how you can integrate, but below are some of the high level options that you may have on your website.
* Booking engine widgets
* Booking engine integrations
* Customer login and transaction management
As you can see, some of the tools are to improve your productivity, few are to improve conversion and some of them are to provide value-add to the website visitors. Depending upon your goals you may choose few of these and enhance the existing website.