As I’m writing this, the world is still recovering from the first wave of coronavirus in some parts, and is entering its second wave in others. There are varying international travel restrictions in place across the globe. If the majority of your guests have traditionally been visitors to your location then shifting your focus to ‘staycationers’ is a must. At the start of the pandemic we wrote about attracting local customers(opens in a new tab). But as time has passed, it’s important that your website be adapted to reflect this. Accordingly, here’s a list of tweaks that I recommend you make to your website to attract more locals.
Get The Right Product
First thing to do is make sure your product actually appeals to the local community. If you offer rafting trips or escape rooms, then it’s likely that you’re already ticking this box. If your tours are city center walking tours the challenge is likely much greater. You could create new itineraries aimed at people who want to gain a deeper understanding of the history of their area. If there’s a twist you can offer such as photography tours, then that can give you more traction with this market too. Name these news tours ‘…for locals’ (or similar) so people know that the tour is suitable for them and not just aimed at out of town visitors. This will also help you appear on search engine results.
Target Different or New Groups
If you don’t already offer bachelor/bachelorette, team building/corporate activities, school/educational trips then now is the time to. There’s loads of great resources out there to brainstorm(opens in a new tab). Again, for optimized visibility and relevance, build these additional pages separately on your website, adapting your content to the respective audiences.
Offer Gift Certificates
Let’s face it, international visitors are extremely unlikely to buy gift certificates. Conversely, a tour or activity voucher is a great present to give to someone who has been stuck indoors and looking to make the most of their local environment. Make sure that you’re putting them prominently on your website. Don’t be tempted to just place a button in your menu linking straight to your booking software, this deserves its own pride of place. Building a page on your website dedicated to gift certificates, helps you to appear on search engine results too! This page is a great opportunity to explain why a gift voucher with your company is a wonderful idea. It’s up to you to show people why it’s worthwhile for someone to gift the experience of your tour!
Build Category Pages
If you don’t already have category pages built on your site, then look to add them. A category page is relevant if you have multifaceted tours eg. you may offer tours in both Manhattan (2 tours) & Hell’s Kitchen (3 tours) with dedicated tour pages for each. A category page would be dedicated to ‘Tours In Manhattan’ or ‘Tours in Hell’s Kitchen’ with an overall description of the tours and the area, along with links to those tours. Again, this will help with your search engine optimization. Further examples of category pages to separate your products, aside from location, would be ‘Private Tours in Manhattan’ as opposed to ‘Group Tours in Manhattan’ or ‘Walking Tours in Manhattan’ in contrast with ‘Bus Tours in Manhattan’ etc. In this context, if you have curated multiple tours for the local market then ‘Manhattan Tours For Locals’ would make a great category page.
Build ‘How To Find Us’ Pages
If you’re outside of town and looking to attract city dwellers then make it easy for them to find you. Aside from your contact us page, build a page (or pages) giving information on arriving from these locations for example ‘directions from Santa Barbara’. Again, this will help search engines recognize you as being relevant to that audience. As with the category pages above, ensure you link to the tours or products available for that location.
Optimize your Pages
Ensure your page titles (H1 headings), metadata and slugs (tourismtiger.com/this-part-is-a-slug) are all descriptive of the page content to aid with search engine results. You can use an SEO keyword tool to discover what people actually search for. If you don’t have access to one and don’t want to pay someone to do it for you then just go with terms that feel natural. SEO is a whole world of its own(opens in a new tab), but this will all positively contribute to it.
Reassess Your Content
Review the testimonials and photos on your website. If you do have some testimonials that obviously come from locals then look to upload them to your site. The same applies to photos – there’s sometimes obvious ‘tourist vibes’ when it comes to fashion etc.. So try to select content from visitors who are ‘like’ your new market.
Display Address Information
Ensure that your FULL address is visible on both your contact page and in the footer of your website. When locals are searching for things to do in the area, search engines will prioritize local results. The same applies to your Google My Business profile(opens in a new tab). If you don’t have one then get one, and make sure your profile is complete. This will ensure that your business shows up directly in Google Maps.
Display Phone Number(s)
Locals are a lot more likely to want to speak on the phone than international guests are. Without factors that other travelers face such as international call charges, time zone changes, language difficulties etc. it’s a much more appealing option. Whilst contact forms, a booking engine, and email contact details are still extremely important, make sure that your site visitor has the option to call you if that’s their preference. Ensure that your business hours are visible to avoid any disappointment.
Link to Partners
If you have any preexisting relationships with other local, respected businesses then building a ‘partners’ page is another great idea. Using their reputation, along with your own can help build stronger brand credibility and recognition. Locals are much more likely to recognize and identify with these businesses than visitors. The other benefit is that they can also backlink to your website from their own, helping you with your own search engine optimization.
Write Blog Posts
If you’re not blogging already then now would be a good time to start. Or if blogging is not your thing let us take care of it for you(opens in a new tab). If you are blogging then think about what your new market is searching for & how you can help them. ‘Top 10 things to do in Melbourne’ ‘best restaurants in Sydney’ ‘5 bucks party ideas in Adelaide’ etc. This can be a great opportunity to promote yourself and the partners that you work with, or even treat it as a chance to show off your local knowledge.
Start an Email List
The local market is rife for repeat visitors, and an email list(opens in a new tab) or newsletter helps keep you front of mind as well as giving you a captive audience you can directly reach out to. You could use this to offer money off their next visit through a redemptive coupon. Set up a sign up section on your site using third party software integrations such as MailChimp.
List Your Website
Reassess the OTAs that you’re currently working with. Locals in your area may be more likely to visit Groupon, Red Letter Days, or RedBalloon as opposed to other platforms such GetYourGuide etc. Research your local market and find out what works for you.
So there are my 13 steps that you can take to adapt your website for locals. All these steps are relatively straightforward and you can hopefully implement them yourself. Please let us know if you have any questions or difficulties following them.
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