What is the secret sauce for turning a visitor to your website into a customer? As we all know, getting people to your site is the first step, but how do you engage them in wanting to buy? With the U.S. anticipating strong demand for holiday travel and into 2015, how does an online travel company grab the shopper to make that purchase?

The key is experience optimization, by which we mean examining the experience of potential customers on your website and making improvements to address:

  • Visual appeal;
  • Ease of use;
  • Readability;
  • Navigation; and
  • Personalization.

As more people continue to research travel options online, making the purchase process more fun and easier can help attract and retain those customers during the busy holiday season. For example, Tnooz recently summarized consumer survey data on how consumers prefer to book with online travel agencies.

Among the aspects shoppers said they enjoy are personalized recommendations that fit their pricing and travel preferences. While providing relevant purchase suggestions includes collecting data from customers, it also involves presenting the offers in the right format and throughout the purchase path on the site during the shopping process.

Another tactic for attracting customers is to make special offers to first-time customers or even extend an offer to a returning customer. This type of incentive can inspire a shopper to try something new with you, like booking a travel package.

What shouldn’t be downplayed is making the shopping experience easy and enjoyable for the customer. No one wants to hunt around, click a million buttons and remain confused or reluctant to make a purchase. The basic tenets of good website design apply and resonate with customers as they consider spending on their travel.

Sure, customers may be looking for a travel deal but they also want to purchase from a company that is competent and reliable. As the old adage goes: “the customer is always right” especially when deciding to buy. What are you doing to make this process easy and attractive?