With standards increasing and quality-looking web design becoming more accessible, having a website that communicates professionalism and trustworthiness is more important than ever. It can be the difference between getting that booking or losing out to a larger tour company. Often the first thing potential guests will do before deciding on what tour company to book with is a quick Google search. If the search results show anything that brings the business’s professionalism into question, it will be an instant deterrent. Of course having a website and online presence (Google My Business profile, social media accounts, online reviews) is the first step to showing the world you are a legitimate business. But once you take that first step, there’s a few elements of your website that you’ll want to make sure you are implementing, as skipping any of these may make users question your legitimacy and trustworthiness.
Start by checking these 3 tips for making your tour business more professional online:
Professional Business Email Address
If you’re a small business or just starting out, you may be tempted to use your personal account or a free email account option for your business communication to save costs. However, when you use a generic email domain (that’s the part that comes after the @ symbol – gmail, hotmail, yahoo, aol, etc), customers may second guess the legitimacy of your business. For one, it’s quite common for hackers or scammers to send spam emails using a generic domain. If a customer receives an email from someone they don’t know with a generic address, they’re more likely to think it could be spam.
In addition to indicating that your business is legit, using a custom domain for your email is an easy way to market your company and makes your brand more memorable. Each time someone receives an email from your company, they’ll see the domain name and remember your business.
If you’re a company with multiple employees, this should give you even more incentive to invest in a custom domain email. When each employee has a standardized email address with the company’s domain, you don’t have to worry about certain emails accidentally getting flagged as spam. Additionally, when an employee leaves your company, you can simply remove their address, ensuring ex-employees don’t have access to sensitive information that could jeopardize your business.
For all these reasons spending the extra cash to have a professional email with your custom domain name is worth the cost. If you’re not sure where to start setting up your custom email, one of the most popular options is Google Workspace. Their business starter subscription includes a custom domain and starts at just $6.00 a month. There are more cost-effective email hosting providers out there too, such as Zoho Mail or Namecheap and some website hosting companies even offer free email domains included with their plan. With plenty of options out there for a relatively low cost, there’s no excuse to not have a custom domain email address that shows your business is trustworthy and professional.
As a tour operator, you may think offering high quality customer service, perfectly planned tours, affordable prices and experienced guides is everything you need to sell your tours. Well, that’s just not the case these days. Throughout history, especially in the US, citizens have used their purchasing power to express their identity, take stands on issues and demand change from companies and corporations. Though the first fair trade shop in the US was opened back in the 1950s, with the rise of social media, the idea of consumer consciousness has erupted in the past 15-20 years. Today, the majority of consumers want to spend their dollars at purpose-led businesses whose values align with theirs.
According to a global survey conducted by Accenture Strategy, which included 30,000 participants across 35 different countries, “62 percent of [consumers] want companies to take a stand on current and broadly relevant issues such as sustainability, transparency and fair employment practices.” Around 40% of participants reported they would walk away from a brand whose identity didn’t line up with their values.
For this reason, your about us page can be a deciding factor in whether a customer books with you or another company. Consumers want to know they are supporting real people and not some money-grubbing corporation that’s just out for profit. The about us page is an opportunity to put a face to your brand, share your values and your purpose with your customers. Are you a family oriented company or veteran-run business? Are you passionate about social justice or the environment? Do you value your employees? Whatever your values and purpose may be, consumers want to know! Take advantage of the about us page and tell us who you are – your business will look more trustworthy and you just might get more bookings. For an example of an about us page that does a great job of authentically sharing its company story, take a look at Secret Paradise.
Clear Communication & Authenticity
When building and styling your website, you may think having the most cutting edge web design features, appealing luxury photos, or fancy fonts will make your website stand out. While these things may make your website pop, if you’re not accurately and authentically representing your business, they aren’t actually helping you sell tours. Keep in mind that the ultimate goal of your website should be to clearly communicate your offerings, the trip details and make booking easy for the user.
Here’s a few dos and don’ts to consider that will help present your tour business clearly and authentically through your website:
- Use photos that are low quality, don’t accurately represent your tours or stock photos showing people that would not actually take your tours (photos of teen models smiling when your demographic is middle aged married couples, for example).
- Use fonts that aren’t easy to read at first glance (too small, too thin, a light color or lack of contrast with background, intricate font, etc.).
- Make your website hard to navigate by having a convoluted booking flow, confusing menu or missing or unclear trip details.
- Use high quality photos, ideally real photos taken on your tours that show real people enjoying the experience as well as photos of the activities/places you’ll see. If you are a new business and do have to use stock photos, use ones that represent what guests will see or do accurately.
- Use easy to read fonts and clear language. Try to answer commonly asked questions or concerns in your trip details and itineraries, so users can move straight to booking. Content marketers recommend writing for an 8th grade reading level.
- Make your website easy to navigate by having a logical booking flow and easy to find booking button (using a booking software can help with this), a menu that lays out the website structure and is easy to navigate, and a logo that takes you back to the homepage when clicked.
If you keep these website do’s and don’ts in mind and focus on clarity and authenticity when designing, styling and writing your website content, you’ll make booking easier for customers and come across as a more professional and trustworthy tour operator.
There’s a lot that goes into starting a tour company and it can be quite overwhelming to keep track of every element of the business. For first time business owners whose forte is sharing their favorite places or story telling, what makes a company appear professional and trustworthy online may not be as intuitive. That’s why Tourism Tiger offers a new business package. Reach out to us today and let us help you create a professional website, so you can communicate what makes your company unique, get bookings online and bring your tour business to life.
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