WTM – Travel web design is maturing

Peter Matthews, managing director of brand and design specialist Nucleus, discussing the design aspects of online travel at the Travolution@WTM conference last week, said the travel industry had become more discerning design-wise.

“Now, good design is the constituency of all of us. And good design doesn’t have to cost more than bad design.”

Conversely, he suggested, we now have too much choice. “There’s too much stuff – we have so much choice we don’t know what to do with it. And online, consumers vote with a click.

“We’ve all become ‘bouncers’ – someone who lasts less than 15 seconds in a session. We’re in the business of instant gratification on the Web now, with almost no margin for error.”

Moving forward site design, he suggested, required some key principles to be followed:

  • Get the brand proposition right. Some brands fail to clearly differentiate the proposition, and don’t deliver anything of value, and a brand gap equals a failure.
  • Understand how consumers consumer. 80% of the time, a travel search starts with search.
    Make design a compelling user experience. Introduce people to more relevant points deeper in the site. It’s not necessary for everyone to visit the front door of the homepage.
  • Make sure it’s built to work. Nucleus, which has also developed its own luxury travel site, Luxury Explorer, is now outsourcing some of its technology development to India-based consultancy Tata.

Future travel site development, he suggested, should include the ability to save bookings for 24 hours; more use of Ajax (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML), a web development technique for creating interactive web applications; and greater adoption of video in sites.


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