No matter the time of year, people are often looking to travel. The long summer months prompt travelers from all over the world to head to exotic locales and live new experiences. During the cold winter months, many people will head home for holiday celebrations or seek someplace warm to get away from it all. No matter how you look at it, traveling is a big business, and much of the preparation for a trip, big or small, happens online. The opportunities to attract new audiences are there, so grabbing their attention through a travel aggregator website can be viewed as a smart move.
What is a Travel Aggregator Site?
A travel aggregator is a website that finds availabilities and prices of travel offers across many sources and aggregates them all in one place. This helps users find the best prices out of all of the results the aggregator found. That way, it’s easy for consumers to know that they are booking at the lowest price.
Travel aggregator websites are very much like content aggregators, only focused on traveling. They take data from a variety of sources stretching across the internet and place it in one easy-to-access site for visitors to use. Some of these sources can come from airline companies, hotels, and travel agencies, and they all serve to inform the site visitor about anything from plane tickets to upcoming forecasts.
You’re likely already somewhat familiar with content aggregators in general. They take content from the internet and put it on one site, usually focused around a single topic or subject. This saves visitors from having to go to every individual site about a subject and instead puts everything within reach. Think of it like a hub for a topic that searches the whole internet for the best material related to that topic.
It benefits both the original source and website aggregators. Both will receive traffic, provided the content is good. Some of the most popular content aggregation sites include Popurls, WP News Desk, and Alltop.
Content aggregation is extremely convenient for visitors, and this is where you can capitalize with a well-designed travel aggregator site of your own.
Creating a Travel Aggregator
Since you’re reading this article, you’ve probably made the decision to create your own travel aggregator website, but you’re not exactly sure how to do it. You already have the basic idea down — a focus on traveling — but after that, there are many more choices that need to be made. Every good site will need to start with a plan, and executing on that plan will in many ways be the key to success.
What to Include
One of the biggest decisions you need to make is what you want to aggregate from other travel sources. Do you want an aggregation site that focuses mainly on flights? That’s certainly possible and very helpful for travelers. There’s plenty of data available that you can aggregate. Or perhaps you’d like to be known as a flight and hotel aggregator. That would require getting data about hotels in all sorts of locations throughout the world.
Are you going to include other travel topics, like content from travel blogs? That’s another decision that has to be made. All of these decisions will affect how your website is put together as well as how audiences will think of it. Plan now for what you want, and you’ll be able to start building the site more efficiently with an effective course of action already in mind.
Build With a Foundation
You don’t have to look too far in order to get started on your travel aggregator site. You can begin with a foundation that has already worked well for a lot of people. That foundation is WordPress. It’s well known that WordPress is used for creating almost any kind of website you can think of, so it probably shouldn’t be a surprise that it can be used to create a travel aggregator site. Think of WordPress like a toolbox, one that comes with a variety of useful tools that can add to what you’re trying to build.
An example of one of those tools is called a theme. WordPress themes have popped up all over the place and can be used in a variety of ways. For your purposes, finding themes dedicated to travel will be the most beneficial. Take one theme for instance: Pilgrim. This theme is a flexible component that has a large number of free features such as custom fields, group buying engine, filtering by distance and geolocation, and much more. It’s a theme that has been designed specifically for use in all things travel-related. Using a theme like Pilgrim can help you get a head start on creating your travel aggregator website. You can add your own unique flourishes here and there as well, but a theme is a great foundation to build upon.
Going with WordPress themes are WordPress plugins. Plugins are components that are easy to add to your site that give it more capabilities that will impress audiences. A WordPress plugin like TourCMS has features which allow users to book online safely which can really help take an aggregator site to the next level.
Build Your Own
While WordPress is a solid foundation, you can always try to build your site from scratch. The main advantage to doing this is that you get to use your own style, ideas, and features. There’s no need to conform your vision to a pre-existing theme or plugin. The possibilities for what you can do are almost endless. There is a downside to this strategy, however. Building your own site from the ground up will take more time, and if you don’t have any developer experience, you’ll have to pay more. Even so, some of the drawbacks may be worth it if you want to execute on your unique take on travel aggregation.
Getting the Data
Building the site is only part of getting everything set up. You now need the fuel that will help run this vehicle, and that comes in the form of data. Aggregating that data will be a major part of what separates your site from others. One of the best ways to get data is through web scraping using web extraction services, like what is provided with Import.io.
This type of tool will go through designated sites to extract vital data and collect them within your database. Unstructured data is turned into something you can use and present to visitors. This can happen automatically, so your site will always have the latest information. Having this feature is what will turn your travel aggregator website into a real destination for people wanting to find out more about their travel plans.
Like content and search aggregators, travel aggregators can be a valuable resource for people who are always on the go. Sometimes there’s just nothing like taking a nice vacation, but it can be tough to relax when expenses pile up and plans change. Your travel aggregator website can mean the difference between a stressful trip and one that people will talk favorably about for many years to come.
There are certainly challenges to creating an aggregator site, but the benefits of doing so can be very enticing. Follow the tips and advice given in this article, and you’ll quickly be on your way to providing something very useful and advantageous for those who are looking for travel information. Get started now and create something you’ll be proud of.
Learn more about how online travel companies are benefiting from Import.io’s Web Data Integration by reading the solution brief.