It was a beautiful, sunny day in the town of Sintra, a hot spot in Portugal full of royal history which really must be visited.
As I was exiting the train station, several operators were waiting at the exit to try and pick up passengers and hopefully take them on a day tour.
I don’t know about you, but when someone you’ve never met before tries to sell you something…you’re not likely to buy it, right?
You can probably imagine what happened next: I looked the other way and kept walking.
It makes sense why this wouldn’t work OFFline, so why are you doing this ONline?
Think about it: the basic rules of trust and relationships continue to exist regardless of where or how someone finds you.
So why are you expecting random people to just visit your website and buy on the first shot?
Sure, some will. And those people have likely already found amazing reviews or heard great things about you.
Well, they’ll be juggling your tour or activity against the five other things that they could be doing that day or week.
The tour vendor standing outside the station is WAY more likely to sell me on her tour if I already know some things about her.
And this rule stands true for a lot of others out there too. So much so that marketers have been following a similar philosophy, known as the KLT principle, for years.
It simply states that in order to get people to purchase, they need to know you, like you, and trust you.
So how can you possibly hope to achieve a sale upon the first interaction a user has with your website? Sure, it happens now and again, but taking such a passive approach will leave a serious amount of sales on the table.
There must be a better way.
The better way is a concept known as the ‘funnel’.
And regardless of whether you’ve heard of funnels or not, you have one. Everyone in business has one! And the more you are aware of it, the more you can improve it.
The process of taking someone from never having heard of you to being a raving customer is a delicate, slow dance. Few people will get married after the first date. And few people sign up for your tour and activity just because they visited your website once.
We need to win our visitors over, and not just on the first visit, which is the ideal scenario. We need to keep our visitors coming back and get them on the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th visit.
Let me paint this picture for you with a few scenarios.
Jill likes to research well in advance and pick the best option. This means that she makes a shortlist of cool looking tours in a spreadsheet and eventually picks a tour from that shortlist.
While she’s making this decision, she’s seeing ads for one of the tour companies on her short list. And you know what? She’s also receiving emails from that same company. She even opened one and got an amazing tip for an off-the-beaten-path restaurant.
Which tour do you think Jill is picking?
Wayne visits your website while searching for activities but has opened five other tour websites at the same time. While navigating through them, he gets distracted and forgets to look at the sites he has opened.
Wayne then sees ads for one activity company. What perfect timing! Then, when he’s back to looking at TripAdvisor again, one name in the top five stands out. He recognizes that name! He doesn’t even remember how he does. But he knows that that one company seems well-known, and the rest don’t do much for him.
Which activity do you think Wayne is picking?
I could invent these scenarios all day long, but it’s likely that you’re now getting the point:
The key is RELEVANCE.
I guarantee that there is nothing more valuable than getting access to your guests’ email addresses. By delivering a steady stream of value-driven emails, you’ll build up your credibility and relationship with your audience — all key factors they will use when deciding on a tour.
The same can be said for advertisements. If people know your brand and have visited your website, they will take more notice of your ads, and it will be much easier to sell your tours to them.
So if I only show ads and send emails to people who have already visited my site, by definition I’m only advertising to people who have already shown interest in my service. BOOM!
This is what a funnel is all about: showing the right message at the right time and guiding people to booking.
How far along is your tourism sales funnel?
Access this short checklist to find out!
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