This is part 1 of a 2-part series on blogging for tour operators.
“To blog or not to blog?” That is the question a lot of tour operators face and one we at TourismTiger answer time and again when consulting with new clients, whether they are established tour operators or are just getting their business off the ground.
The truth is that there is no “right” answer. As a tour or activity operator, there’s no need to blog; your main focus is and always should be on creating and leading the very best tours and activities for your customers. But your online presence can be integral to attracting a steady stream of customers and, ultimately, help you stay in business.
Ideally, you already have a website that is working for you. We at TourismTiger know this is the #1 most important way to establish your presence online, increase bookings, and put a face to your ratings across the web. But where a website is finite, a blog is infinite and presents ever-growing opportunities to build relationships, establish yourself as an authority, and increase your rankings on search engines. Here are a few more ways blogging can be a valuable addition your website:
1. Highlight your unique selling point by showing, not telling.
Where your website gives little bites of valuable but easily-digestible information, your blog can illustrate some of the things that set you apart from other tour operators in your location and help readers choose you. Are you a family-run or family-focused business? Are your tours highly customizable? Are you dedicated to environmentally-friendly tourism? These are niches and USP you can easily highlight on your blog.
2. Prove what you know without giving away your secrets.
As a tour operator, you are equipped with unparalleled expertise on your destination. Share the wealth! There’s no need to reveal your tour itineraries; there are plenty of other topics to cover (we’ll cover those in part 2 of this post!). Blogs are a great opportunity to establish yourself as an authority in your field, be it all-things-tourism in X, or something more specific like cycling, hiking, or kayaking in X, etc.
3. Create more opportunities to convert site visitors to customers
Every single blog post can and should include a CTA, or Call to Action. A Call to Action is a prompt (a phrase, a button, any device at all) that urges readers to do something. In this case, you should be urging readers to visit the rest of your site, check out your tours, or book a specific one. You can do this in the middle of the post or at the end, but it should always be introduced organically. Here’s a great example of a CTA in Devour Tours’ blog post on Eating Gluten Free in Madrid:
“Want an all-encompassing gluten free experience? Our food tours are completely adaptable for gluten free guests! So you can join in all the foodie fun, without the worry of not having appropriate alternatives to suit your dietary needs! We hope to see you in Madrid soon!”
4. Boost SEO and get on Google’s good side
The more pages you have on your site, the more Google trusts you. In many cases, Google also loves fresh content as it’s likely more relevant to searches than something possibly “outdated.” Since the amount of tours you offer is finite, a blog is a great way to create more pages for your site. Also, blog titles can be optimized to show up as results for highly searched terms. “Things to Do In X,” “Where to Eat in X.” Many tourism-related topics have built-in keywords. Read this article to learn a bit about the basics of SEO.
5. Save your own time answering FAQ
Your site should have an FAQ section that answers questions you are frequently asked about your tours. But all too often, tour operators’ inboxes are chock-full of inquiries about general information about your town: “Where should I stay? I only have a few days, where should I go? What should I do on X day of the week?” These questions aren’t necessarily about your tours, but they’re ones you probably have answers for. Rather than answering each inquiry individually, you can write a blog post on the matter and send the link to anyone who still inquires about this. Having these posts on your blog and indexed in Google means two things: More people will find your site and fewer people will ask you the same repetitive questions.
6. Build relationships with others in your destination and industry
This is always a good business practice. Blogs give you a chance to give shout outs to local businesses (you could totally write a blog post just featuring your favorite local coffee shop, why you love it, what makes it so great) and ways to engage with other tour operators in other destinations. Maybe you’re a bike company in Austin and you see a bike company in Asheville (like Flying Bike Tours) is doing something really cool, like lending out an old fleet of bikes for charity rides. You could write them a private message telling them how much you love their idea or, better yet, you could give them some exposure and write a blog post about how much you love the idea and maybe even ask your readers for other ideas for how you can build and improve your community.
7. Build rapport with potential customers
Before a trip, many travelers will do some research starting with a simple internet search. If you’re hitting the right keywords, you’ll likely show up in those searches. The sooner you get on a traveler’s radar, the longer they’re thinking about you, the more they trust you, and the more likely they are to book with you.
8. Give them something to talk about
Blog posts are great fodder for social media. Your articles are a great thing to post on your own social media channels, which open opportunities to engage with readers in a more personal way (social media is definitely more personal than email) and make it easy for people to share your site.
We hope we’ve given you some things to consider and ultimately help you decide whether or not blogging is for you. If you’re leaning towards blogging, stay tuned for Part 2 of our Blogging Guide: What to Blog About!
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