[This is an updated version of a post published in 2018]
According to UNWTO, travel in 2023 started strong, with statistics and data indications demonstrating “tourism’s unique ability to bounce back” international tourism is well on its way to reach full recovery, and expected to reach pre-pandemic levels come 2024. This is fantastic news for the tourism sector as noticeably the world’s citizens are more motivated than ever to pack their suitcases and visit corners of the globe, other than their home country. The question is: as a tour operator, how do you ensure that you win the business of these prospective visitors rather than seeing them go to a close-by competitor?
There are numerous ways for your company to improve sales (including online marketing, engaging in social media, offering added value, and so on), but the content on your site goes a long way to attracting potential clients, easing anxieties and establishing value proposition. If you’re struggling to write quality content, fear not! Below are a few tried-and-tested techniques that we use at TourismTiger to create tourism websites that sell!
Before you type a single word, you’ll need to do a bit, or a lot (depending on how established your business is), of groundwork. Don’t begin writing until you’ve thought about who you are as a business, where you sit in the market, your customers’ wants and needs, and your current downfalls.
1. Find Your USP (unique selling point). Think about what makes your company tick. Perhaps you’ve found yourself in a saturated market and are struggling to find your unique selling point – this requires a bit of research but there is always a way to differentiate yourself. Think about your guides, location, awards, reviews, safety standards, sustainability practices, customer service, an easy booking system, or the value you bring to your clients. There is always something that distinguishes you from the crowd. Find it and highlight it.
2. Listen to Your Customers. If you’re an established business, the enquiries you receive are vital to understanding your tours and your clients. As a general rule of thumb, the fewer enquiries you receive, the more efficient your website is. If you’re finding that enquiries are coming in thick and fast, you could think about including an FAQ section on your tour page to address those questions/concerns before the client even has to click elsewhere. See an example on one of TourismTiger’s sites here: Northwash Outfitters. The easier your site/content is to navigate, the more action your ‘Book Now’ button will get!
3. Do Customer Research. Your branding affects the kinds of clients you attract, of course, but the clients who are booking with you are the real reflection of your company. If you’re an established company, pay attention to demographics, and you’ve got your market. Once a business has a good understanding of who they are targeting, it becomes easier to write content that is appealing and successful in generating sales.
4. Stalk Your Competitors. Keep a close eye on what your competitors are doing. Pay attention to the type of content they are publishing (images, videos, blogs, articles). What kind of tone do they adopt? How do they address their customers? There is an infinite amount you can learn by staying in tune with the marketplace. Recognise that established competitors (and especially high-rankers) have put in all the research and work – study their strategy, and if it’s useful, why not try to implement it yourself?
5. SEO Research. A quick Google search can reveal your main competitors. If they’re high on the list, they must be doing something right! Pay attention to wording in their headlines and tour descriptions. An excellent resource for sourcing keywords is KWfinder. Knit these words into your headlines and URLs, but keep wording clear. Additionally, off-site SEO has a huge impact, much more so than optimizing headlines and URLS. Our blog post on off-site SEO gives more insight on this.
1. Be Clear. The number one rule for website content. Nobody wants to trudge through large chunks of uninspiring text. The purpose of a tour operator’s website is to convey essential information about the tour/experience. Your prices are what they are for a reason; be proud of them, and let the user find this information fast. From there, they can assess whether your option is a viable one and continue reading your tour page content. Text should be scannable. Break content down into bite-sized sentences; bullet point trip details, bold the important stuff, establish the highlights of the tour and make them the first thing the eye is drawn to.
2. Brand Yourself. Hopefully by now you’ve locked down your business and established a clear agenda. It’s time to spread the message about who you are. Emphasize your brand in your content – WHO you are, WHERE you are located, WHAT you do, WHY you do it, and HOW you do it. Before I book with a tour operator, I want to have a clear understanding of the company and what they offer. Customers need to be convinced of your credibility. Show them you know what you’re doing. Here is an excellent example of a TourismTiger website that achieves this: Select South West Tours.
3. Speak to Your Target Audience. Are you a luxury tour operator or a budget experience? Your content should appeal to the customers you wish to attract/your current client base. Understand exactly who can benefit from your experience and speak to their wants. Be honest about what to expect – don’t try to woo with frills, just show the value they get from you. View an example of one of our sites which clearly outlines the experience (comfort of the bikes/types of wineries), while marketing towards a more mature, high-end market here: Explore Marlborough.
4. Address Fears. This is where customer research comes into use. Use questions you’ve received from prospective clients and address their hesitancies and fears. Establish credibility and reduce anxiety. Adventure companies should emphasize safety records. Long-running companies can mention the date of establishment or awards. Smaller tour operators can highlight the fact that they’re family owned.
5. Compare your Tours. It’s not only important to differentiate your company in the market but also to distinguish between the experiences you offer. Each of your tours should have a unique selling point – including key details at the top of each tour page to outline specific experiences is one way to help visitors decide which tour is for them and encourage booking.
6. Emphasize the Experience. Use sensory words. Evoke the sights, sounds and smells your guests will encounter. While you need to include essential details clearly and concisely, don’t be afraid to show visitors a good time and play around with your content. Use descriptions and phrases that reflect your customer. Break up your content with maps, images, and videos to bring your site to life.
7. Integrate Videos. Video can show off your brand personality to differentiate you from your competitors, and allows viewers to get a feel of the experiences you offer by seeing them in action. According to Video Marketing Statistics provided by Wyzowl, 89% of people say watching a video has convinced them to buy a product or service. Video content was also found to be considerably more memorable than text or images. You can find an example of a video setting expectations on one of TourismTiger’s most recent sites here: DC Party Boat.
8. Celebrate Your Successes. Reviews, media mentions, partnerships – share your successes with your customers! If there’s a lot of happiness, why not spread it! There is a difference between establishing credibility and bragging – don’t say it yourself, show your visitors (through reputable third parties) the value they get from you.
Now it’s up to you to blow potential customers away with your incredible content! If you don’t feel like the right person to do it yourself, we’ve got you covered! Contact us today to get a new site with fresh content that will get your website visitors clicking that “Book Now” button.
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