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.

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]