Five Ways to Improve Your Corporate Travel Agency Web Site

Web sites and online media are rapidly becoming standard channels for businesses and customers to connect with each other. Your site needs to be both a sales and marketing channel and a customer service front. Even if you don't use social networks or other forms of Internet marketing, you at least need a solid Web site to establish your brand and presence. But how well is your current site doing? Here are five ways to improve your current site. [more]

Talk to your most important clients. Get their feedback. Ask them what would be nice to have on your site, or what they found confusing or difficult when they saw it for the first time. Best case scenario: They'll be pleased you bothered to ask and offer you lots of insights you might be unaware of. Worst case: They'll tell you they love your site and don't change anything. That's not so bad, is it?

Talk to your front-line staff. Clients might not always be forthright, or they might not realize what they struggle with on your site, but your sales and customer-facing staff might. Ask them, what questions do clients ask a lot? Is there anything that would make their jobs easier? Sometimes all it takes is putting a brochure online or adding in some content that is missing. You don't know if you don't ask.

Less is more. Look at your Web site with a discerning eye and ask yourself the following question for every page or section: Is this really adding value? Your customers are busy people, and our attention spans are getting shorter and shorter. So cut out the fluff and get to the point. Now, that's not to say you shouldn't explain things where required, or should rush something through the site. But where you've got two paragraphs, could you explain the same thing in one? Would a picture explain it even better? This concept applies to your whole business, not just your Web site.

You're not an amusement park, so ditch the roller coaster ride. As previously mentioned, some travel Web sites go a little overboard with the widgets and features. Don't do that. There's nothing to stop you from being professional and fun at the same time, but when customers can't find the answer to their questions because the images keep distracting them or the music is too loud, they'll start to reconsider why they're doing business with you.

Realize the Web site will never be 100 percent. Despite your best efforts, your site will never do everything it needs to do. To compensate, make sure that every page has two things: A search field and contact information (or a link to a page with contact details). This means a user, when frustrated, always has a familiar place to turn to. Another top tip: Make sure that when your search returns no results, it offers the user a link to your contact page so they can get in touch.

~ Andy Hayes is the managing director of Travel Online Partners.