Travel agents who clearly define their specialty and have links to social networking sites have the best chance of attracting customers to their websites and keeping them there, said technology expert Scott Klososky at the Travel Weekly Virtual Leisure Summit.
In addition, Klososky said good websites have clean graphics and a limited number of fonts and colors.
Companies that update their own web content through content management systems have a better chance of boosting sales through their Internet presence, Klososky said.
Hard-to-find contact information, unwieldy URLs and a distracting use of Adobe Flash are among the most common mistakes travel agencies make when designing their sites, added Klososky.
"You need to understand what's unique and show that immediately," said Klososky. "When somebody comes to a site, you have between 20 and 30 seconds to keep them from bouncing [to another site]."
As part of the session, Klososky analyzed several travel agency websites submitted by Virtual Leisure Summit attendees.
Klososky complimented Salty Dog Cruise and Travel's website for its clear display of a contact phone number, but said the site had too many font colors and a cheap-looking "Guest Book" link.
Magic Carpet Travel's site has pleasing use of white space and graphic shadowing while clearly demarcating its constituent base, but failed to pitch what's unique about the company.
Green Roots Travel has a modern, effective design while using a limited number of fonts and clearly identifying its constituents, Klososky said.