Travel marketing online is tough and the challenge for you is juggling the running of your tourism business with managing your website and marketing strategy.
The travel industry is very competitive and it’s important that you stand out in the crowded marketplace. Not only do you have to provide a great service to your customers, but you have to manage a website that will attract an audience and convert them into paying customers.
Feeling overwhelmed can really dampen your spirits and make running a business, a very stressful experience. In this article, I want to take off the pressure and offer suggestions that can improve your website, today.
Before we get into that though, there is one task that is imperative that you undertake, as it has a huge impact on your website and marketing strategy.
Define your perfect customers
You cannot put a marketing strategy in place if you do not understand who your ideal customers are.
We discussed this in previous articles on building audiences online, and if you haven’t taken the step to think about your perfect customer then now is the time to create a persona, or as I call them an audience profile.
Most people get hooked up on the demographic information, and well it’s important, but you need to go beyond that.
What motivates a customer of yours to travel? How do they get inspired? Where are they active online when they are going through the research process of booking travel? Do they travel alone, or, with family and friends?
Take the time to think back to previous customers and come up with any trends that you might have noticed, e.g. the audience is booking your tour operator for mountain biking or trekking tours.
After completing my own research on my email list it was apparent that the majority of my readers are either accommodation providers or tour operators, and from this, the content can be more focused on this audience.
Creating a profile of your ideal customer will help you with creating the content on your website and marketing your business to your target audience.
Let’s now get into what you can to do prepare your website for marketing.
Complete a website review
I have to be brutal when I say this – at least 80% of the tourism websites have been badly designed and neglected. It needs to be the cornerstone of your marketing efforts, not just something you create because you feel you aren’t a business without a website.
Think about the customer’s journey on your website and the steps they have to go through to make a booking. If there are too many steps to book then the visitor is going to become frustrated. A poor customer experience is not going to lead to bookings.
These are a few basic things you can address today.
Make sure your website is mobile-friendly
The huge percentage of people now research and book their holiday online, on their mobile device, be it a mobile phone or tablet. It’s incredibly important that you make sure that the website can be used on any mobile device.
Looking at Google Analytics (you have that setup, right?) I am sure you will find that up to 50% of your visitors will be browsing your website on their mobile device.
It’s very frustrating when you have to zoom in and out and scroll around the screen to view content on a mobile device.
Keep it simple
Successful travel brands prefer to keep their website design minimal so that content can be easily found and the booking process is as simple as 1-2-3. Make sure that your audience can find what they are looking for within seconds of visiting your website.
Navigation of the website should be easy, and direct people to the pages where you will inspire and motivate them to book with you.
Buttons, links, or if we are talking marketing industry jargon, “calls to action” are incredibly important to convert the visitors to bookings, but keep it simple.
Start testing and care about the user experience
You are so focused on providing a service to your customers that testing and experimenting your website is probably the last thing you have time for, but if you are serious about increasing the number of bookings on your website then you must put some time aside to optimise your website.
Is your website doing what you expect of it? Is it converting visitors into bookings or email sign up’s?
Tweaking small things on your website like the colours and size of the buttons, making the images larger, breaking up large paragraphs of text, can really increase the conversation.
If you make changes it’s important to measure how effective they have been using tools like Google Analytics, which is an incredibly powerful tool and a topic we’ll cover in a future article. It deserves its own article to be honest.
Your website is the cornerstone of your business
It frustrates me how many people spend hours upon hours tweeting, posting content on Facebook and other social networks but they do not link back to their website.
Posting photos and videos are all well and good, but you want to get people on to your website so that they either sign up to your email list or, inquire about your services.
The bulk of your content should be available on your website so do not miss any opportunity to send people to it. Doing this allows you to track and monitor how effective your content has been to the reader.
It’s important that you do not give out too much information on social media, just snippets to peak interest.
Publish new content regularly
Search engines love fresh content so keep publishing new articles and do not forget to update out of date or inaccurate content to improve the user experience.
Assign some time or a member of staff to update the site regularly because a little effort will go a long way and will make all the difference.
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