Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I may get a small commission if you decide to make a purchase through my links, at no cost to you.
Having a captivating online presence is like having a passport to success. A well-crafted website can showcase your expertise, inspire wanderlust, and connect with travelers and, more importantly, potential clients.
Most travel agents don’t have a storefront anymore, so our websites are our virtual storefronts, open 24/7, ready to entice and help inform potential clients about how we can make their lives (or at least their vacations) easier.
If you’ve ever considered creating your own travel agency website, this post is for you. We’re taking a look at the steps that go into creating your very own website.
But not just any website. You need a website that both looks great and captures the secret sauce that makes your travel agency unique. After all, if your website could describe any travel agency, it probably won’t sell many people on what makes you and your agency special.
Just like a well-planned itinerary, this guide is structured to take you through the essentials of creating your travel agent website. It’s not every little step, and any time you get into the world of technology you’ll find bumps in the road. This is high-level, but intended to give you an idea of how to get started on your travel agent website.
First steps for building your travel agent website
First things first. You need to own a domain name that matches your business.
If you haven’t purchased your domain name yet, start with that. It should be as close to your travel agency name as possible, and preferably a .com address. If the exact name isn’t available, is there something you can abbreviate that would still make sense as a name?
You can find out if your desired domain name is available by doing a search with a domain name registrar like GoDaddy, NameCheap, or Google Domains. Once you determine your domain name you’ll want to go ahead and purchase it. Normally a simple domain name is around $10-15 per year, but each is different.
Once you have your domain name you need to take care of the basics, like setting up a professional email address.
Soapbox warning - Do. Not. Use. An. Email. That. Isn't. @yourbusinessname.com!
Yes, I know I’m shouting a bit here, but this is for all you in the back! Don’t do it!
Having a free email account like firstname.lastname@example.org immediately marks you as an amateur. That’s the last thing you want if you’re trying to build a business.
It’s a small investment of time and money to purchase your domain name and have an email address that matches set up. Do not skip it.
Once you have your domain name, head over to social media and create accounts on every social media network you think you may ever use. Maybe you don’t think right now that you’d use Pinterest or LinkedIn, but it’s free to set up the account and claim the name.
You really don’t want to decide later to use them and find out the account name is already taken.
Establishing your online identity
Ok, now that we have that out of the way, let’s figure out what makes you and your travel agency unique.
Before you put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) you need to understand the identity of your travel agency.
Are you cute and sassy? Refined and cultured? All about relaxing in the sun with a margarita in hand?
There’s no right or wrong answer, but your travel website needs to be a reflection of your overall brand identity and communication style. Maybe you know right away what that identity is. That’s great!
If you’re not sure, that’s ok too. But don’t skip this step. There are a lot of travel agencies out there, with countless options for travelers. You need to know how you stand out from the crowd. In other words, you need to know your Unique Value Proposition.
Or, as a business mentor of mine calls it, your “Unique Awesomeness Proposition”. Because being awesome is even more fun than providing value.
Take a few minutes to brainstorm. What makes you and your travel agency special?
Maybe it’s your extensive knowledge of and experience in a specific destination. It could be your in-depth understanding of how to travel with a special needs child. Are you trained as a sommelier and specialize in wine tours to old world wine regions? Or are river cruises or food tours all you do?
Whatever it is, there needs to be something that sets you apart from every other travel agency out there. This isn’t the time to be modest. Be as specific as you can and write down exactly what makes your agency awesome.
That special something that sets you apart is going to become the cornerstone of your online identity. Embrace it, celebrate it, and let it shine through every aspect of your website.
Designing an engaging travel agent website
The most important thing you need to keep in mind when it comes to design is that you’re not the one who will be using your website.
Your customer is.
Put yourself in their flip-flops or hiking boots and think about what they want to see and experience. Make sure your website is easy to navigate, with intuitive menus and clear calls-to-action that put the user experience first.
Nobody wants to get lost in a labyrinth of links! Keep things organized, use descriptive labels, and ensure your travel agency website design makes information easy to find.
Be clear and concise
If you want people to schedule a consultation with you, you should say that. Your call-to-action, or CTA, shouldn’t be “Start creating lifetime memories”. Who the heck knows what that means or what they should expect when they click that link?
Instead, be super clear. If you want them to schedule a consultation, say “schedule a consultation.”
Being clear wins over being clever every day of the week.
You’ll also want to keep your design clean and clutter-free. White space is visually appealing, so make sure to keep enough space between blocks of text to allow breathing room.
Paragraphs should be short and to the point, and headings should be skimable.
If someone went through your website and only read your headings, would they understand what your website is about and what step they should take next? If not, they should.
Use a visually appealing theme or template
If you’re creating a website using a website builder, like Wix or Squarespace, find a template that works for you. It doesn’t have to be a specific travel agency template, and I’d go as far as to say it shouldn’t be. I’ve looked at their templates for travel websites. They’re… less than ideal.
Instead, find a template that has a basic structure that works for you, and customize it from there.
You’ll also want to make sure your pictures are stunning. You can use your own, or use a stock photo site. Not sure what stock photo site to use? Here's how to find outstanding photos and videos.
Another thing you’ll want to consider when it comes to selecting your theme or template is the overall spirit of your travel agency.
Are you going for a tropical paradise vibe or an urban chic atmosphere?
Browse through the different options and let your creativity guide you. The most important things to consider are if they allow for captivating imagery, well-structured layouts, and are compatible with mobile devices.
After all, a website that looks fabulous on a desktop should also shine on a smartphone or tablet.
Give your visitors a visually stunning experience that makes them feel like they’ve already embarked on a memorable journey and you’re more likely to turn that website visitor into a paying client.
Customize your website to reflect your brand
Once you’ve chosen a theme or template, it’s time to add your personal touch and make it uniquely yours.
Think of your website as a canvas for your travel agency's brand. Customize the colors, fonts, and imagery to reflect your brand identity. Incorporate your logo, tagline, and any other visual elements that make your brand instantly recognizable.
Be consistent with your branding across all pages, creating a cohesive and polished look. Oh, and here's a pro tip: sprinkle a dash of personality into your design.
Whether it's through witty copy or playful graphics, let your brand's character shine through. Remember, your website should feel like a warm greeting to travelers—a virtual handshake that says, "Welcome adventurer, you belong here!"
Create compelling content
The words on your website are referred to as copy. It is content that is designed to inform, persuade, and entertain your website visitors, turning them from visitors into customers.
Your copywriting should be like a skilled tour guide, enticing and captivating your audience. Craft compelling descriptions that paint vivid pictures of the destinations you offer.
Speak directly to your target audience, understanding their desires, aspirations, and pain points. Use persuasive language to convey the unique benefits of choosing your travel agency.
Whether it's the thrill of adventure, the relaxation of a luxurious retreat, or the joy of discovering new cultures, make your copy an irresistible invitation to embark on the journey of a lifetime.
Use captivating visuals
A picture is worth a thousand words, but when it comes to travel, it might be worth a million dreams.
Capture the imagination of your website visitors with stunning photos and videos that showcase the beauty and uniqueness of the destinations you sell. Let them feel the warm sand beneath their toes, taste the exotic flavors, and hear the sounds of distant cultures.
From vibrant cityscapes to serene beaches, use visuals that inspire wanderlust and ignite a sense of longing in your audience. After all, travel is about creating lifelong memories, and your visuals should be the first step towards that unforgettable experience.
Humans have been telling stories since the dawn of time, and the power of storytelling still resonates today. Your travel agent website is an opportunity to weave narratives that engage and connect with your visitors.
Share captivating stories of travelers who have ventured into the unknown and returned forever changed.
Paint a picture of the immersive experiences your travel agency offers.
Dive into the history, culture, and traditions of each destination, transporting your audience to a different time and place.
By incorporating storytelling techniques, you create an emotional connection that goes beyond transactional interactions. Remember, many travelers aren’t looking for a trip. They’re seeking a transformative experience.
Compelling stories can ignite that spark of curiosity and inspire them to choose your travel agency as their guide.
Optimizing for online discovery
There’s a myth in travel agent website circles. “If you build it, they will come.”
Actually, it’s a myth in baseball, but you get the point. ⚾🧢
If you want people to actually find your website, you need to make sure you understand Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
In simple terms, SEO is like a map that guides search engines, such as Google, to show your website to people looking for your services.
It involves optimizing different elements of your website to improve the visibility of your site in search engine results.
Keyword research and on-page optimization
Keywords are the secret sauce of SEO. They are the words and phrases that travelers type into search engines when seeking travel inspiration or planning their next adventure.
To harness the power of keywords, start by conducting keyword research specific to your travel niche. Identify popular search terms that align with your offerings.
Once armed with these keywords, strategically incorporate them into your website's content, including headings, page titles, and body text.
This on-page optimization helps search engines understand the relevance of your website and improves your chances of appearing higher in search results.
Build a network of relevant and authoritative backlinks
Imagine your travel agent website as a well-connected traveler who has friends all over the world. Backlinks are like those friendships—they represent other websites linking to yours.
When reputable and relevant websites link to your content, search engines view your website as trustworthy and authoritative.
Building a network of backlinks can be achieved through various strategies, such as creating valuable content that others want to share, guest blogging on authoritative travel websites, or reaching out to industry influencers for collaborations.
Services like HARO (Help a Reporter Out) can really help you develop your backlink strategy. Reporters looking for sources to quote will send a query out, and you can reply with information that they can use in their story.
If you provide high-quality information you may be cited in a story, with a backlink on a website that would otherwise be almost impossible to get on your own. This is how my travel website has been linked to by Forbes, The Washington Post, Travel Weekly, NerdWallet, the Associated Press, and dozens of smaller, local news sites.
Remember, quality over quantity is key when it comes to backlinks. Aim for links from reputable sources that enhance your website's credibility and boost your online discoverability.
Launch and promote your website
Now that you have a site, it’s time to put that baby out into the world!
But before you do, you’ll want to test it. Think of it like trying on your travel wardrobe before you go on vacation.
Go through each page, test the buttons and links, and make sure everything is working smoothly.
Don’t forget to test your website on a tablet and phone, preferably a couple different tablets and phones to make sure it works the same on each. Enlist a couple family members or friends to test for you as well.
If you find any bugs, glitches or broken links, make sure to fix them before you officially go live with your site.
Unveil your website to the world
The moment has arrived - it’s time to unveil your travel agent website to the world!
Just like announcing your travel plans to friends and family, spread the word about your website launch. You can share the news on your social media channels, send it out in an email to your existing clients, and let everyone in your network know that your new website is live.
Be proud of your creation and make some noise about it! After all, you’ve put in the hard work. It’s time to celebrate and invite others to join in on the fun.
Continue your marketing journey
Launching your website is just the beginning of your online marketing journey. To reach a wider audience and attract more clients you want to work with, you’ll want to promote your website through other channels as well.
One way to do that is through email marketing. Build a mailing list with an email service provider (I use and recommend ConvertKit) and send out engaging emails that showcase your travel offerings, share exciting travel tips and content, or provide special offers and exclusive promotions.
Nurture your email subscribers and turn them into loyal customers who keep coming back to you for more travel adventures.
The more experience you get marketing your travel agency, the more momentum you’ll build. You increase your travel agency’s visibility, and create a buzz that draws eager travelers to your virtual doorstep.
The bottom line
Now it's time to put your newfound knowledge into action. Take the first step and start building your travel agent website.
Remember, it's not just a website—it's a platform to tell your story, connect with adventurers, and bring their travel dreams to life.
So, go forth, create, and conquer the digital world. Your website awaits, and so do the countless travelers seeking their next extraordinary journey.
Not sure you’re ready to take this website journey on your own? Check out The Savvy Travel Advisor's website copy and creation services here.