Why should you develop your tourism/travel website in Drupal

To attract customers, all travel agency require a website which will attract customer to various services provided by the agency. Agency may be a transportation company like bus operator, airlines, travel aggregate websites,  tour operators or hotel and restaurant chains.  So there are multiple content management system where agencies can use maximum area of website in effective way. Here I am explaining How Drupal can be used for such a website where agencies can list out various services and manage content and assets in an effective way.

Drupal is an open-source  Content Management System for creating rich digital experiences that inspire travel and engage consumers throughout their journey, from finding offers  deals and destinations to booking.

Drupal have versions from 5 to 8 and new version is Drupal 8 which haves lots off new features.

Drupal 8 takes a content management framework to ever greater heights for users, administrators, and developers. There’s a seriously sharp focus on user-friendliness, but content presentation, new ways to create data structures, build APIs, multilingual capabilities, and the delivery of mobile accessibility out of the box

Why Drupal

Drupal has great standard features, like easy content authoring, reliable performance, and excellent security.

Drupal 8 is mobile first in its approach. All the built-in themes that come with Drupal 8 are responsive, along with an admin theme that adapts to different screen sizes, and a ‘Back To Site’ button to go back to the front page. Tables fit into any screen size without a hitch, and the new admin toolbar works well on mobile devices.

Drupal 8 boasts extensive multilingual features right out of the box. The admin interface has built-in translations. You can also create pages with language-based Views filtering and block visibility. Translation updates from the community are automatically facilitated.

The Media module in Drupal 8 provides an extensible framework for managing files and multimedia assets, regardless of whether they are hosted on your own site or a 3rd party site – it is commonly referred to as a ‘file browser to the internet’.

With multiple content managers managing content, building the website and CMS in Drupal with its built in validations, simple workflows and customisable roles and permissions was an obvious choice.

Structure of websites

Next we are looking in to what all are thing needed in each page and how it can be implemented using Drupal.

I am starting with home page of a travel websites. As every body knows home page is the page where users are first landed. So we need links to all pages from home pages. Also major services and offers need to displayed in a attractive manner in website.

In digital world image and videos are important as this attract more customers to the site. There are lot of contributed modules which will help to crop and display images in Drupal.

We will list things needed in home page and other pages

Main Banner

This banner may be the main attraction of your service . this may be the tourist locations and other important information’s. You can provide multiple banner images which will be sliding in each second.

Special offers

Offers section is a main part of travel website. Offer should be displayed in home page and in other inner pages.

Other Services

this a  block where you will be displaying other services offered by Agency. This may be slider of images and titles which will be linked to other pages in same website.

Contacts

Most of the travel agencies have offices at different locations. If contacts details are less and not frequently updating we can use  blocks in Drupal. If contact details are more than 10 we have to create a content type for contact.

Now we are going to admin part of Drupal and see how we organizing and managing above  contents at Admin side.

After login you can see various sections at admin which can be classified in to below sections.

Structure and Content Types

In Drupal, contents are grouped and named it as content types. By default Drupal have article and basic content type.

Content type can be accessed from admin under structure menu. This is the part  you can add type off content with fields, in our case we have below content types .

  • Special offer
  • Contacts
  • Destination
  • Banners

Here you can add multiple fields for each content type.

Content types are  building blocks of Drupal allow you create and manage complex data structures with an easy UI.  Each content types and its fields have settings which you can customize using user friendly UI.

In our case we need title and image  field and an body field. Body field contains details of offers or contacts or detail information of destinations.

Also scheduler module (https://www.drupal.org/project/scheduler)  is very useful, this will helps to schedule publish and unpublish of each content type. We can enable scheduler functionality for each content type. Suppose A particular offer or banner should be shown during particular period. So for this we can specify publish and unpublished date , Drupal automatically publish and unpublish on specified time.

If we see content types at admin screen , you can see two content types already there. That is Article and Basic Page content types. This content types can be used for creating static  pages.

Now we have created content types with corresponding fields.

Also Image widget module(https://www.drupal.org/project/image_widget_crop) is a very use full module which will help to crop images specific to different views.

Taxonomy

The Taxonomy module is part of the core Drupal functionality, so is pre-installed with the Drupal platform. it allows you to sort all kinds of content into classified clusters.

The Taxonomy’s work is based on vocabularies, which are big groups of data. Each vocabulary contains a set of terms. The content is finally displayed as a well-organized system with themes and subthemes.

Here we can use taxonomy for grouping special offers and banners in to a particular locality or category. So we need to a vocabulary Say banner type with collection of terms such as region1_banner,region1banner, or anything like that. See this article to achieve localized pages in Drupal.

Now we have created content types and taxonomies. Admin user can add all content through Add content page in Admin . Now we have all Content types filled with data.

In below section going use this data display in various places.

Views

Views is a core module in Drupal 8 and an UI-driven query builder, to generate dynamic pages and blocks that can be reused throughout your site.

The views module allows administrators and site designers to create, manage, and display lists of content. Each list managed by the views module is known as a “view”, and the output of a view is known as a “display”. Displays are provided in either block or page form, and a single view may have multiple displays.

In travel sites there should be different pages with different filters that list different offers and services. Normally in travel websites this will include images , description and link to detail page.

For achieving this  we have to create views with filters that enable users to select what category they want. Designers can modify rendering templates of views in which ever design they want. Same way for blocks also we can modify rendering template.

Main advantage of views module  is without knowing any coding, any one can create  pages and blocks  using View configuration window, which Drupal internally execute as complex SQL queries.

User management , permission and roles

Drupal allows you the ability to assign a user one or more roles, and to have different permissions then assigned to each role. By default a Drupal user will include values like usernamestatus, timezone, etc, however you can also with the help of Drupal’s Field API add your own custom fields to your user accounts.

Contributed modules

Drupal have large developer community which provides lots of contributed modules. In Drupal you can easily install contributed modules using backend UI interface.

Web form

Web form is contributed module makes easy to build simple to complex forms easily.

it makes it easy to make any and all kinds of forms on your site.

Conclusion

In this article in I explained how we can use Drupal CMS to manage contents travel agency websites. If you explore contributed modules in Drupal you can see how fast we can develop a fully functional travel website using Drupal. You can see my other articles to create local websites to achieve more localized experiences in travel websites.

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