If you are an operator or service provider in the tourism sector (whether outdoor tourism/adventure or indoors) you will want your guest to be able book online 24×7. Tourists these days use the Internet before deciding where to go and what to do. There are two big problems that you need to keep working on:
- Getting more online visitors to your website, so that they become aware of what you have to offer.
- Converting a significant proportion of them into paying guests when they arrive at your website. You want to make it easy for them to make a booking and a secure payment before they navigate away and look/book elsewhere.
All this, of course, assumes that you have a strong product/service offering. Whether your venue is a museum, a place of natural beauty or historical significance, is displaying a collection of interesting artifacts, or you are providing some adverture activity such as kayaking, sailing, bungee jumping, flying lessons, diving etc. the challenge to grow visitor numbers is the same. Your product/service is offering value to the tourists who take part, and it also plays an important role in the local community, providing employment and conserving artifacts and the environment for future generations.
There is a growing awareness of the need for sustainable tourism and eco-friendly tourism. People are more aware than ever of the need to conserve resources, protect the environment and to source goods and services locally. Tourism bodies are making awards for responsible tourism and green tourism. If you are operating your tourism business in a green/eco-friendly/sustainable way, then say so! Put that message loud and clear on your website and in your brochures. Indicate what specific sustainable practices you use to protect the environment, select suppliers and in the day-to-day running of your business. Stating this on your website may also improve your search engine ranking and help your web pages be listed when potential tourists search for attractions and activities which are also sustainable and eco-friendly.
Getting more Online Visitors to your Web Site
A key part in growing the number of visitors to your tourist attraction or activity is to increase the number visiting your website. There is no quick and easy way to do this, however, the following steps can help:
- Provide great content on your web pages, that visitors want to read and that will engage them. This content should clearly state why your venue is special and a must-see. Share success stories, photographs and videos. Have a news section where special events or visits by VIPs can be highlighted. Include social media links to make it easy for viewers to “like” your web page and share it with their friends and on their social media channels.
- Keep adding to and updating your content regularly to encourage visitors to come back for more.
- Use social media channels such as facebook, twitter, google+, instagram, pinterest etc. to post messages related to your business and about special events that you are planning, incentives, discounts, competitions, new activities etc. which will help to draw followers to your web site. Use these channels to build up a following and to engage with past and future/potential customers. Be sure to use images and videos in these messages to catch the eye of the browsing reader.
- Attract online visitors from other tourism web sites. Your potential customers are reading tourist blogs, articles related to the place they intend to visit, “what’s on” guides, web pages suggesting places to visit and what to do. The chances are that visitors will find these other sites before yours when they are researching their holiday or looking for something to do. They may not even find yours at all unless you are one of the few major tourist attractions with a big advertising budget. Ideally, you want your tourist attraction listed, recommended and promoted on these web pages. What can you do to incentivise these web site owners to do this for you? Read on.
Incentivising Other Website Owners to List/Promote your Tourist Activity or Venue
If you have a big advertising budget, then this is easy, you simply pay these website owners a big fee, in advance, to do so. That, however, is not an option for many small/medium tourism/adventure businesses. The alternative is to set up an affiliate program with an affiliate network, such as the Vendexo Affiliate Network and to provide some advertisement collateral/material for website owners to use when promoting your business. This typically operates in a “pay-as-you-grow” fashion and is a very cashflow-friendly way of advertising.
The website owners, on joining your affiliate program, gain access to your advertising material and place them on their web pages. They use a special “affiliate link” to direct online visitors to your site, which identifies them as the referrer. This affiliate link can be used as a hyperlink on a web page, and can also be used by them in e-mails/newsletters and other publications to promote your business. If you are using the BookingCraft event booking and ticketing system, then the website owners will also be able place event booking widgets on their web pages, enabling their visitors to make and pay for bookings conveniently.
As you gain bookings from these websites the network pays them an agreed commission (which you specify) on the bookings which they generate for you. The network then charges you on a monthly basis for the referral fees paid out, plus their own service fee.
Your Internet reach is limited. Your time is also both limited and valuable. With an affiliate/referral program you are getting other people and other websites to work for you and to bring you more bookings. As these are bookings which you would not have otherwise got, this approach is a win-win and should be seriously considered and tried out. By placing a code snippet onto their web pages, these website owners can show their visitors all your events, with pictures, descriptions and a booking form, enabling tourists, visitors and holiday makers to place a booking with you there and then, when they are in the frame of mind to do so.
Why not try out this system and see how it can work for your tourism business?
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