The “Contact Us” form on a tourism website is one of the Tourism Website Big 6 (Must Have) sections that include Travel Products, Pricing, Booking, About, and FAQ. I plan to outline each of these in a separate posting, but for now let us focus on the all-important contact page. Travel companies are in the business of providing services to people while they are away from home, whether for vacation, education, volunteering, or a business trip. Therefore when designing a Contact Us form you must take into consideration the fact that they are less likely to be sitting at their home computer.
Contact Tourism Website – Offer Both Web Form and Email Address
Why you may ask? Here are two scenarios that a traveler may encounter when trying to get in touch with you to ask questions, make a booking, change a booking, or confirm reservation details.
Scenario 1: Customer is at an Internet Cafe or using the public computer at their hotel and needs to send you pick-up instructions for their upcoming tour.
Since this is not their own personal computer or device security and privacy are major concerns. It is safest for your customer to use a web-based form to send you a message while at a public computer. They may not feel safe logging in to the personal email account on this computer and risk exposing their password, so a Web Form is the best option for this scenario.
Scenario 2: Customer is reviewing their travel documents and realizes their booking confirmation does not match their trip itinerary.
This customer may need to forward you a copy of the booking confirmation from the travel agency and add their own notes to explain the situation. Utilizing email software allows the customer to have a written record of the correspondence in case it is required in the future. They will be able to attach relevant travel documents and even CC their traveling companions to coordinate resolving the problem. Contacting you directly via email is the best option for the scenario.
Tourism Business Contact Us Page Best Practices
Here are some popular tips on how to design the perfect contact page, geared toward websites that offer travel products and services and take bookings. Not all the items on this list will apply to your business, so adapt the rules based on whether you are a place to stay or eat, a destination or attraction, or operate local tours.
Contact Us Web Page Elements
- Include your full company name and mailing address to show that you are a real business with a physical location.
- List your telephone number or if you do not make it public, give a professional reason why you prefer online communication only. List your time zone and the hours of operation for calling or returning phone calls.
- Offer a link to your FAQ page to remind visitors that many common questions have already been answered.
Contact Us Web Form
- Use the absolute minimum number of fields to collect their contact information and the reason for contacting you.
- Skip the “(*Required Field)” limitation on all form fields other than Name and Email Address.
- Have your form validate the email address field (but no others) to ensure data entry accuracy.
- Navigate to a “Thank You” page upon clicking the Submit button to make it crystal clear that the user’s message has been successfully sent.
- In your “Thank You” message, remind customers of your office hours, typical response time, and alternate ways to get in touch.
- If for any reason the form submit button triggers an error, display a friendly message including your email address plus everything the user had previously entered on your form so it can be copied and pasted manually to an email message.
Clickable Email Address
- Make your email address clickable (using the HTML mailto: link tag) so that users on a small mobile device do not have to memorize it or fumble with copy/paste.
- Briefly list what details to include in their message in case you require extra information to handle customer matters promptly.
- Use an email address that is unique to your Contact Page, so these messages can receive an auto-response message and be filtered for special handling.
Other Ways to Contact You
Social media and mobile devices are a part of everyday life and this opens up new opportunities for the traveling public to reach out to you from anywhere in the world. Your job is to make it as easy as possible for visitors and customers to send you a message (and share with their friends and circles) using their preferred methods of communication. Here are some ideas that you can put into practice to go beyond the basic “Contact Us” page and prove that you are a Trustworthy tourism business.
- Direct Message (DM) to your Twitter handle.
- Posting to your Facebook wall or via private messaging.
- Sending a message to the Google+ page for your tourism business.
- Text Message (SMS) to your mobile phone.
- Online chat during stated business hours (AOL, Yahoo!, Windows Live Messenger, Google Talk, ICQ, etc…).
- Leave their phone number so you can call them back – use Skye or Google Voice for low-cost international calling.