So far we’ve established that you can still successfully build a travel website, exploiting the fragmented state of the travel market and using one key tool – you, your experience(s) and your passion for your destination. That's something Expedia will never be able to match, and your visitors value.
You’ve also evaluated a few potential money-making schemes to make your website earn money, ensuring that in whatever way you plan to pay your bills, it should be diversified to spread risk.
So now let’s look at solutions to build a travel website. I’m going to talk you through several methods to build a travel website and turn your knowledge and passion into a profitable online business.
** For each system perform a S.W.O.T. analysis - Strengths, Weakenesses, Oppurtunities and Threats.
Your Travel Business
YTB or 'Your Travel Business' is a big company when it comes to selling travel. It consists of subscribers who get to their own websites complete with a reservations system for the whole world of travel and the ability to make money from encouraging new members to subscribe.
I found this video via a few Google searches. I’ve embedded the YouTube version of it. Take a look and see what you think; it’s about 10 minutes long but you’ll get the jist of it quite quickly.
Pretty exciting eh? That’s what I thought…
… until I looked into purchasing it. Firstly, the price - $500 + just under $50 per month just for a website business? I know I could build a travel website with less than that. Sure, you get backstage access to the travel industry but it seemed a little excessive.
But if it’s profitable, then surely the start-up fee wouldn’t be a problem.
My issue was with the set up of the organization. Try clicking this link which takes you straight to the homepage for Your Travel Network. I landed on a page prompting me to enter the name of who referred me.
So you have to sign-up to a members scheme to join? Without condemning the company there and then, I Googled ‘YTB scam’ and got presented with a range of mixed reviews on YTB, some claiming that it was an illegal pyramid system. Others supposedly doing quite well out of it … are they legitimate claims I don’t know. Perhaps they’re only making money out of referrals?
Apparently, they’ve been investigated. I had a quick nose through their
fact check for some reassurance.
Legitimate or not, I’m not sure. Worth some private investigation – but be wary.
I stumbled across this video on YouTube which I found so perceptive and in tune with my recommendations to build a travel website so far, I had to share;
Whether YTB works or not isn’t important; pre-fabricated ‘clone’ websites aren’t usually going to be successful without pouring money into buying traffic – in which case you need to factor this into your start-up costs.
Why are pre-fabricated websites a bad idea?
Google punishes duplicate content for starters so you’re unlikely to get any search engine traffic. If your website is an exact, or pretty much exact clone website then it adds no value what-so-ever to a search engines index.
Search Engines need to provide the best, most relevant websites for their surfers so they continue to use them and are more likely to click on their ads – that’s their business model. Your website must add value to the web.
Secondly, you’re competing directly with competitors from the same company selling them – the company selling pre-fabricated ‘cash-ready’ websites doesn’t care about your success. Its only interest is in increasing its own subscriber base, because that’s how they make money!.
Third, pre-fabricated websites mean you can’t pour your heart and soul into your business which means so much to your human visitors – and at the end of the day, that’s what is the most important to you. A search engine robot is hardly going to book a holiday in the Costa del Sol is it?
Finally, there’s not much value in adding yet another travel agent business to the internet. It’s not like the world needs another travel agent – and you’ve got the likes of Expedia to compete with too.
YTB made the point of ‘Mum winning every time’ versus Expedia. Why not recommend Expedia via their affiliate program – or anyone else for that matter – and save yourself the expense of buying and subscribing to YTB.
YTB is exciting – but so is the whole travel industry. You need to keep level headed when making business decisions. Build a travel website that works FOR you!
Start a Blog
You could build a blog about your destination, offering readers regular dated updates about your adventures in your chosen destination. A blog stands for ‘web log’ and consists of a series of dated ‘posts’ or articles by the blogger.
A blog would offer your regular following a great insight into your destination of choice. But there’s the problem – you need to get a regular group of followers. Without traffic to your blog your online business doesn’t exist – a shop without anyone going in it?
Stand alone blogs can be incredibly successful for some, but the effort required to build-up and maintain a loyal following of viewers takes effort and consistency.
Don’t take my word for it though - I’ve never built a stand-alone blog – my blogging experience consists of merely a tag-on to my existing sites. That’s what works for me.
As a travel expert in your own niche, a blog could be a great addition to your website. Say you build a travel website that covers the basics about the destination, and your blog is part of your website and covers your personal adventures? You could even integrate the two!
So far, a stand-alone website built upon your own first-hand experiences and sheer passion for your destination seems to be the best concept of producing a travel website.
Earlier on in Part 1, I mentioned Site Build It, and how myself and over 40,000 others have built successful online businesses from scratch. Site Build It thrives around content-based websites – so perfect for travel.
I also mentioned Anguilla-beaches.com, and how it was created by a 14 year-old girl using Site Build It. Well, Nori Evoy – the girl who created Site Build It is in fact the daughter of Ken Evoy, the Founder and Chairman of Site Build It.
Anguilla-beaches.com is used extensively in showing SBIers how to build websites through the Action Guide – the step-by-step walkthrough on how to use SBI’s tools to build successful online businesses. If a 14 year old can do it, so can you!
I suggest having a quick explore of Anguilla-beaches.com and getting some ideas on how what she’s done to build a travel website. Where is she making money? How does she build credibility? What makes her website so unique and appealing – why would someone benefit from using her site and not Expedia?
Go back to that little text file you downloaded on the first page of this guide and add any more ideas you come up with. If it’s turning into a little essay or just a few notes, that’s fine – no one’s going to mark you. It’s simply to make life easier when it comes to producing your website.
Now are you ready to follow the video tour and see how SBI will help you build a travel website - your travel website where you can pour out your passion and love of your destination and earn substantial income at the same time.
This is the short video introduction to the full video tour.