When it comes to generating more conversions from your site, few things attract the attention of experts more than the humble ol’ button. Yet, if you look a typical tour operator website, it’s probably the thing that has received the LEAST attention. What gives? For many people, the booking button – the most important thing on your entire site – is left as an afterthought.
First Things First: You Do Have A Booking Button, Right?
I’ve lost count of the amount of tour and activity operators who don’t have a booking button.
If you want to get every booking you can, the first thing you need to do is make sure people don’t have to do extra work to pick you over someone else.
If there’s ever been a golden rule in selling, it’s this:
Don’t Make People Work To Buy from You
Many – if not most – internet browsing is distracted. People are working, cooking, watching the television, on the toilet or even playing with their kids while browsing the net.
What this means for you is that your website must guide them through the process. Every step has to be SO obvious that an 80-year-old, half blind, drunk, sleepy, barely-speaks-English visitor could use it. What I’m saying is this: have a bit of empathy for the person visiting your site. Unlike you, they’ve never seen it before, so put a booking button on there to make it obvious.
The Booking Button: Bigger Than Godzilla
Get yourself an unmissable booking button.
Here’s a few tips:
1. Make it obvious. The booking button needs to be the most clearly identifiable part of the page. If someone were to take their glasses off, they should still be able to identify the booking button.
2. Use contrasting color. The color of the booking button needs to stand out in a big way. It should be the one time you see that color on that page. TripAdvisor uses a contrasting yellow on their site.
Stop worrying about the color, as nowadays it seems like there’s a new ‘best color’ almost every single week! Just make sure it stands out. As Julia from tour booking software company Xola writes about calls to action (CTAs):
‘Although there is not one, foolproof, CTA color, one thing is certain: The color of your CTA must stand out from your background.’
3. Use imperatives such as ‘Book Now’ as opposed to ‘Bookings and Inquiries’. People need to be guided through the booking process — our lizard brain is looking for pointers as to what to do next. When you sit down to analyze a website, yes, ‘book now’ means the same thing as ‘bookings and inquiries’ does. But that doesn’t mean they both have the same effect! You need to make the exact action expected of your visitor blindingly obvious.
This is example from Paddleboard Orlando nails most of the points mentioned above, although they would do well to get rid of the aggravating exclamation mark.
4. Write in the first person. For example, ‘Book My Tour’ as opposed to ‘Book a Tour’. We used to recommend using ‘Book Your Tour’ but a few tests around the internet have shown that ‘my’ generally beats ‘your’ as a best practice.
‘A great rule of thumb when writing a call to action is to make your button copy complete this sentence:
I want to ________________
That little trick is how we get buttons like Find Out How to Ride a Bike and Make Sense of My Finances Fast. It’s also how we avoid buttons like Register to Learn More…because no one wants to register to learn more.’
5. Create a sense of urgency and immediacy. For example, ‘Book My Tour Now’.
6. Fear of missing out. If possible, squeeze a bit of FOMO in there too. That’s why my favorite booking button text is something like ‘Book My Spot Now’, ‘Book My Place Now’ or ‘Reserve My Place Now’. For some reason, the word ‘spot’ makes it feel like there’s just one seat for me and someone could snatch it away, which is why it’s my favorite.
7. Make it pop out of the design. It should stick out or be surrounded by a lot of whitespace. Make it so that your brain cannot ignore it.
Two Additional Tricks To Close People Who Are On The Fence
Trick One: Click Triggers Give Them the Final Nudge
Just near the booking button is an empty space and opportunity.
Click triggers are little things you put near the booking button to get rid of last-minute anxieties. They’re reminders of why they should book with you. Joanna Wiebe from Copyblogger deserves all the credit for this one.
I’d put two things:
A ‘fear of missing out’ trigger. For example, ‘Hurry’, ‘Tours Book Fast’, ‘Get Your Seat Before They’re Gone’ or ‘Numbers Strictly Limited’.
A ‘confidence’ trigger. Such as a reference to the amount of 5-star reviews you have on TripAdvisor or your money back guarantee. ‘100% Satisfaction Guaranteed’.
Trick Two: The Booking Button Follows Your Guest Down the Screen
Staying with booking buttons for now, did you know it’s possible to make it so that the booking button follows your guest down the screen as they scroll?
For the websites my company makes, the booking button stays ‘sticky’ in the top right of the screen (go to this page to see it in action). This means that it always sits there as a presence, impossible to ignore. On mobile devices, the booking button is designed to stay at the top of the screen and follow them down.
It won’t double your sales or even close to it, but it’s worthwhile. Success online is all increasing things by 1% here or there to a bigger overall result.
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