When it comes to finding the best vacation package available, the first place that comes to mind are travel websites that compile information on air travel, hotels, and car rentals. These global distribution systems—or simply central reservation systems—will access the resources made available by major airlines through internet gateways made accessible to consumers.
With the emergence of travel websites in recent years, there has been an increase in travel website competition, and also an increase in the need for better website design to attract customers. Although the efficiency and results of these search engines are still the most important, the design employed will help these travel websites gain an edge in the industry.
Below is a list of travel websites that I believe are the best based on their design alone. In other words, I cannot guarantee the prices generated by these websites will give you the best bargain.
A popular choice among travelers is Hipmunk, the consumer-oriented online travel company. Co-founded by Adam Goldstein and Reddit co-founder Steve Huffman in 2010, Hipmunk has become a well-known travel website in the industry, averaging 130,000 visitors a month. So what makes this search engine so popular? I would argue that it is mainly because of the Visual Organization employed by the website. In other words, the content and data provided by the website are perfectly ordered to be presented to the audience. In addition to the perfect structure of the content and blocks, the site employs a friendly color scheme.
Similar to Hipmunk, Kayak is another popular choice among travelers. Simplicity is key when it comes to Kayak. The website is so plain and straightforward that even non-tech savvy individuals will be able to use this search engine with ease. This website is a great example of simple design outweighing the need for aesthetics. To sum it up, Kayak allows customers to search for travel packages without having to be overloaded with information and visuals.
Although Momondo does not sell tickets directly, it does a great job in providing all the details of available travel packages by directing the users to the correct travel providers. The first thing that comes to mind when visiting Momondo is the use of colors and contrast. Although I am usually against the usage of so many different colors, Momondo has done a great job incorporating them all together. Additionally, Momondo has a great choice of photographs that match well with the colour scheme of the site. To sum it up, the combination of the vibrant colours creates the feeling of elegance for the users.
An emerging flight search engine in recent years is Skyscanner. Since being founded in 2001, they have been recognized by the industry by receiving various awards over the years as one of the best travel sites available. Their ability to find the lowest flight fares has garnished much attention and an average of over 30 million visitors per month. The website is beautiful and clean. Although not as elegant as Momondo, it also promotes a great choice of colors and imagery. I really like the theme of the website; just like their brand name (Skyscanner), the cloud background will make a user feel like they are actually travelling in the sky. And last but not least, the site is fully responsive!
Like Hipmunk and Kayak, Dohop is a another travel website that offers a very clean and simple interface. By minimizing the amount of text and colours, users are able to easily navigate through the website and search for flights that meet their needs. Although Dohop may seem very plain and boring (and it is), they offer a special service to other site owners. Dohop packs an affiliate program where people are able to set up Dohop’s flight search on their own website while earning revenue from the traffic generated. I would not have listed this website if not for this unique service offered by Dohop!
In contrast to the other travel sites referenced in this article, Lonely Planet is NOT a search engine optimized for reservations. Instead, Lonely Planet is the “largest travel guide book publisher in the world.” The usage of photography and typography is simply amazing; it is pretty much the sole reason why I had to add this website to my list. As a guide book, the site has to be visually attractive to the consumers before the content is even read and I believe Lonely Planet has achieved that. In addition, the theme and organization is also stunning. It is obvious that the developers have put time and effort into creating this website.