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Have a Booking Engine on Your Travel Agency Website? It’s Time to Take it Off

Last Updated February 22, 2024

One of my pet peeves when I visit a travel agency website is seeing a booking engine.

But I have to remind myself that many host agencies encourage their travel advisors to have a booking engine. Their thought is that it makes it easier for the advisor to sell travel if the customer can do some of the booking on their own.

Which tells me something that’s vitally important to your business.

Your host agency most likely doesn’t understand small business marketing. And that’s a huge problem for you if you’re relying on them for your website or other marketing materials.

I know, saying they don’t understand marketing is a pretty bold claim, especially seeing as they probably have at least one, if not multiple, well-paid marketing professionals on staff.

But there’s a huge difference between creating marketing materials for a big company and marketing a small business.

Big companies are based on mass marketing.

There’s a reason it’s called “mass”. It’s a shotgun approach, to lots of people, in hopes that it resonates with a small percentage. That small percentage, when you’re talking about thousands of people who received it, can still translate to a lot of sales.

Small business is the opposite. In order to succeed with your marketing, when you have a list of dozens or maybe hundreds, you need your message to resonate with a large percentage of the people who receive it.

In order for that to happen, it needs to be unique, and filled with the one thing that sets your travel agency apart.

What sets your travel agency apart

A travel agency website with a booking engine

There’s one thing that sets you apart from every other travel agency or travel advisor out there.

That thing is you.

Your style. Your brand. Your understanding of your clients, and your delight in serving them.

No one else has your combination of skills and experiences, personality and passions, and that’s what makes you different.

When you put a booking engine on your website, you’re undermining the very idea of why someone would use a travel advisor. For personalized, knowledgeable service from an expert.

If they want to book something themselves, they can easily go to a large OTA, Costco Travel, or AAA and build the entire trip. But they aren’t. They’re coming to you.

Not only that, they’re on your website, which probably means there’s already some relationship there. Odds of some random person on the internet stumbling across your website and immediately deciding to book their trip there are so small they’re laughable.

Having that booking engine makes it more likely that you’ll end up having to solve someone’s problem that was created when they messed up their own booking. Instead, have them contact you so you can go over the details and make sure everything is booked correctly in the first place.

What to put on your travel agency website instead of a booking engine

If you have a travel agency website with a booking engine, most likely it’s created for you by your host agency. It’s time to ditch that website.

Go to Canva or a simple landing page builder like ConvertKit. Create a single page site, with just one button on it. On that button, put the words “Schedule a consultation”.

That’s it. That’s all you want someone to do. Instead of using a booking engine, you want your clients to talk to you. Every time, no matter how simple the trip may seem.

Because your personalized approach sets you apart from every other travel advisor. It’s the reason they started working with you in the first place.


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