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Web design & development overview

The key thing to remember with TourCMS web design & development functionality is - like most other aspects of TourCMS - you can use just the parts you need, perhaps starting off small with a simple integration and building up in following seasons.

There are three main ways that companies use TourCMS:

  1. With no website integration (just using TourCMS as a back office bookings management system)
  2. To add an online booking engine to an existing website
  3. To fully manage your website – including pages, content, images etc

This page mainly deals with your options for #3 above, however there are some other more general tips that we hope you will find useful. If you are just starting out or looking to optimise the ecommerce aspects of your business you may be interested in downloading our free (really - there's no form to fill in or anything!) 55 Travel ecommerce tips book.

Use TourCMS only, or together with another CMS?

While TourCMS is a fully fledged website content management system (in fact it can manage multiple websites, each with a different design, subset of products etc). There is not much you can't do with TourCMS (for a travel website!). However, that is not always what you want.

When to choose a different website CMS

  • If you have less than 20 tours - and it is easy update your website manually
  • When you are working with a web designer who is more comfortable with a system they know (if they know WordPress they might like our WordPress Plugin)
  • If you have an existing website and just want to get up and running with a new booking system - not an entire website (yet)

When you are working with a 3rd party CMS (for example Squarespace or Drupal) the booking engine links can be hard-coded into your website. These links are tour specific (not date specific) so very little administration is required in order to keep the links working OK.

You could also use the Live XML API to pull live pricing details into your existing website.

When to choose TourCMS as your website CMS

  • If you have many dates for multiple tours - if those dates become unavailable - your website will be updated to reflect latest lead in prices or availability
  • If you are running a multiple website strategy - TourCMS will help you keep on top of having all your pages showing the correct products
  • If you want to produce documentation (such as pre-departure booklets) that contain tour description content (however nothing stopping you putting this content inside TourCMS for incorporation into your documents - and not using TourCMS as your website CMS)
  • If you have a large, complex, website and would benefit from 100% integration between your CMS, your booking engine and your reservation system

Some companies choose to use their own CMS for their first "season" with TourCMS. Then, later, they move to full usage of the TourCMS content management system. There is no commercial incentive to either use or not use the TourCMS web CMS - the functionality is part of your account regardless.

There is also a "middle route" - you could have some of your pages on your website managed by TourCMS, others by another CMS. For example you could have dates & prices pages managed by TourCMS.... so they are kept consistent with your booking engine and reservation system.

I want to use TourCMS to manage my website, what are my options?

TourCMS Templates are the standard way of doing this, they support all of the key TourCMS functionality and can be managed from within TourCMS itself (no need to log into another system). For more detail see the table below, you can hover over the headings down the left hand side for more detail.

Above all though if you are unsure or would like to check with us please do contact us, if you have wireframes or mockups of your new website we're more than happy to take a look.

TourCMS Website Integration Methods
TourCMS Templates XML API WordPress Plugin
Booking Engine Yes Yes Yes
Search Engine Friendly Yes Yes Yes
Standard Descriptions Yes Yes Yes
Custom Description Fields Yes Yes Yes
Multi-language / currency Yes Yes Yes
Non-product content Yes - Yes
Live prices / content - Yes Yes
Multi-account sites - Yes -
Third party themes - - Yes
Example sites Egypt Uncovered
Actief in Tsjechië
Gray Line
Macs Adventure
Waterplay USA
TourSift
Rosehill Travel
Omega Tours
Plan My GapYear
Skills required to build site HTML, CSS
(any web desginer)
HTML, CSS, Programming (e.g. PHP / .Net / Java) WordPress Template Development

What is a multiple website strategy?

For both SEO and market positioning reasons you may choose to run multiple websites. TourCMS can handle this. You could distinguish websites by:

  • Product – e.g. one website for tours to one country, another website
  • Marketplace – e.g. one website selling in USD to North American customers while another website sells in Euros for European customers
  • Customer – you could point your “best” customers at a different website (or the same website using different links to an almost identical booking engine) – and sell at different prices (markup / markdown)
  • Language – e.g. one website in English and another booking engine in Dutch
  • 3rd parties – you could send TourCMS web pages to 3rd party websites (like one of your top agents for example)
  • Legal entity – you can have different sales tax setup for different websites – so you can have one of your companies selling via one website while another trades via a 2nd website.
  • You can add / remove products and change prices between websites – but availability is shared between all websites.

Each TourCMS account level allows at least two websites, however most companies just look to manage a single website (at least initially!)

More information