Travel-Related Websites That Really Engage Their Customers

travel-related web sitesThey all talk about it. “Like us on Facebook,” “Follow us on Twitter” and “Read our blog,” say travel-related websites selling everything from guidebooks to airline flights, gear and gum. Many give us little reason to like them, follow them or do anything other than buy their products on the way to the next online destination. But some travel seller sites actually do put some time and effort into creating a reason to visit other than to buy something.

The task of buying a hotel room for a night is easy to define. The short list of variables includes location, price and availability. Easy. Any number of search sites can gather that information, whirl it around and present viable options. Hotel.info does more. On their blog we find The Ultimate Guide To Cooking In Your Hotel Room that brings us unique, interesting content that in and of itself is a good reason to visit their site.A Different Kind Of Hotel Search
travel-related web sitesProviding step by step directions and video, Hotel.info teamed up with chef Nicola Whistle (the Secret Restaurant) to hack hotel room food. Using things commonly found in a hotel room, like a shower cap and iron, Chef Whistle cooks up some delicious dishes. Poached egg on toast with steamed asparagus for breakfast? Cooked in your hotel room? Yes indeed, it can be done and visiting hotel.info shows travelers exactly how to do it. Visitors to this site actually have a reason to like, follow and maybe check in with their #ultimatehotelguide hashtag from @hotelinfo_EN on Twitter from time to time.

Still, visitors would probably leave the Hotel.info site if their search results were not productive. Running a test search, Hotel.info vs. Kayak, Travelocity, Hotels.com, Expedia and others, results were similar but engagement was not. They all ask for our like and follow but only Hotel.info had additional content worth a look.

15,000 Things To Do On Planet Earth
Another travel buy site that earns our vote is Viator. This travel tour buy site caught our attention last year with their “Win Your Dream Travel Job” contest that had four winners tasked with traveling through 20 countries in 60 days in both North America and Europe, and documenting their adventures on camera. Viator also earned likes from cruise travelers, saving them money with Viator Shore Excursions offering more than 500 shore excursions in over 80 of the most popular ports around the globe. But more moving past simply selling tours, Viator engages site visitors with features like inviting travelers to submit photos and a rich library of tour-specific videos.

Selling a no-wait Skip The Line Guinness Storehouse Entrance Ticket for visitors to Dublin might be reason enough to buy. But Viator builds on that value with recent photos and a short video that is an accurate representation of the tour. A new Viator Tours & Activities App makes finding and booking activities for almost any given destination we might visit while traveling easy too, with more than 15,000 curated trip activities in hundreds of destinations including photos, video and reviews.

Clicking a “like” or “follow” button takes just a split second. But consider that click as a vote and be sure your vote counts. The best travel-related websites not only offer good pricing but come equipped with unique content that makes for a better overall value.

20 Useful Online Travel Resources

Online travel resources, like sleeping in airports, help make travel easier and cheaper.We all do it. We hear about a new website that is supposed to be this or that and we sign up for it. At first we’re skeptical or excited, or both. We begin to fill out our profiles and then we get distracted. We never return to said site. Other times, the exact opposite is true and we find our lives turned inside out because of a website. Had it not been for Craigslist, my life would be very different today. I jotted down the URL in early 2003 when I began a search for a new apartment in New York City. Since then, Craigslist has helped to shape every aspect of my life. I’ve found jobs, furniture, pets, housing, gigs, bandmates and roommates on Craigslist. By extension of a roommate found on the site, I found my husband. It’s no stretch to say a website can change your entire life. And by the same token, a website can completely gut and renovate the way you travel.When I came across Golden Book Traveler’s list of 20 Best Travel Websites On The Internet (because the Internet is where websites live), I continued reading past the headline. Some sites listed are ones I stand behind fully. Others are sites I’m now eager to use, including Airbnb, Couch Surfing, Hostel World, Road Sharing and Sleeping In Airports. This list seems promising to me.

Read it in its entirety here.

'Sleep Box' Opens at Moscow Airport

Women travelers have the world at their fingertips with Pink Pangea’s website

I’m usually allergic to pastels and anything labeled “women-specific,” but Pink Pangea has won me over. The new women’s travel site was launched in June, by world traveler Rachel Trager and two similar-minded female friends. The trio work for an organization that finds overseas volunteer/internship placements for young adults.

Named for the supercontinent that existed 250 million years ago, Pink Pangea is essentially a forum for women’s travel concerns, tips, experiences, and photos. As such, it contains helpful background information and advice on specific destinations and cultural mores.

Says Trager, “We were frustrated that existing travel guides presented–at best–a paragraph that dealt with women’s concerns or non-specific travel information. We know that there’s a lot more information that women need in order to have secure and fulfilling experiences abroad. The hope is for Pink Pangea to help make countries around the world more accessible to women travelers.”

Trager fell in love with travel after working on a kibbutz when she was 18. Since then, she’s traveled extensively by herself, as well as with her brother, friends, and boyfriend. It was while visiting her brother, who was studying Arabic in Egypt, that she first experienced some of the obstacles faced by female world travelers.

“In Cairo, I was scrutinized by my brother’s landlord, who was concerned I was his girlfriend, which would mean that I’d be forbidden to stay with him. In Morocco, I grew tired of the attention I got as an American woman in pants and bought a jalabiya to cover up.” Despite the frustrations that inevitably occur, Trager says, “I travel because I’m interested in seeing how and where other people live. It’s incredibly energizing to realize how large the world really is.”

Popular tags include “modesty,” “safety,” “transportation,” and “shopping.” Even I’ll admit you can’t have a site devoted to women without mentioning shopping; in this case, there are some great tips on regional-specific souvenirs, food, and bargains/rip-offs.

Because this is a public forum, the writing runs the gamut. You’ll find the odd, underage-drinking-in-foreign-country, or “I smoked too much hash in an ashram while journaling”-sounding post, but in general, entries are well-written, informative, entertaining, and often thought-provoking. Lots of cute pics, too.

Big Earth Productions launches travel website

Big Earth Productions, responsible for gripping travel documentaries such as Long Way Around and Long Way Down, have just launched a new travel website.

It’s designed to be a one-stop experience for finding information on adventure travel all over the world, providing tips on permits, visas, shipping, and transport. But they’ve gone beyond that to create an online community where people can share advice photos, and video.

BEP has filmed epic journeys starring Charley Boorman and Ewan McGregor riding around the world on motorcycles, rickshaws, boats, and everything else imaginable, but especially motorcycles, which are the perfect vehicles for just about any terrain. Not surprisingly, there’s a lot of emphasis on motorcycles here, with an entire section dedicated to Two Wheel Adventure, so if you want to do your own international Easy Rider epic, you’ll be set for information. The Cargo section will tell you what permits you need to get your bike to, say, Senegal. They’ll tell you all about pet visas too.

A lot of their pages rely on public participation, so at this early stage some elements are a bit spotty. A video page encourages people to upload shots from their trip and offers advice from documentary filmmakers on how to get the most out of any video camera in adverse conditions. The TV section includes clips from Big Earth Production’s documentaries. My favorite is series of crashes from the Dakar Rally. Did that guy really think he’d save his burning bike by throwing sand on it? Feel free to upload more of those, guys.

One page that holds a lot of promise is a clickable map of the world that aspires to have travel anecdotes and information for every country. Some countries don’t have much yet, but they will fill in with time. Since membership is free, you might want to head on over there and add your own content, but be sure to come right back to Gadling because, in the words of my three-year-old son, “we’re pretty cool.”

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Online bookings just got cheaper!

Online travel deals just got better. Even though airlines are tacking on extra fees, fares have been plunging for a while now, so it still cuts in favor of travelers. Travel websites have started to get in on the savings, too. Several sites are ditching their booking fees – at least temporarily.

Orbitz, Travelocity and Expedia announced yesterday that they are waiving their booking fees. For Orbitz, this is a permanent move. In the hypercompetitive world of online travel sales, these guys are doing everything they can to get your travel dollars. So, if you’ve been waiting to save even more money on travel – as if the dirt-cheap fares aren’t enough – the deal just got a little better!

[Via BloggingStocks]