Web sites are a major part of the tourism marketing success strategy used by international tourism promoters in the new millennium: tourism boards, Associations, lodging, tour operators, etc.
Big Fat Warning
If your travel web site does not have these four primary elements clearly and quickly represented, you are missing opportunities, losing sales and may not survive in the tourism industry.
1. Creates a desire to use your tourism services, visit your destination or participate in your unique tourism option
2. Clearly informs prospects of travel and service benefits, options, sites, nature/environment, activities
3. Answer questions and concerns a typical visitor may have
4. Motivates prospects to contact you quickly (not your competitor) for more information, travel options and dates, answer questions and address concerns
If your site achieves all these goals, then the prospects that have visited your site will be more excited, motivated, qualified, informed and much closer to giving you a booking or visiting your country.
What percentage of your total website visitors are converting into solid prospects and sale?
Probably not as much as you would like.
This article is not about web design and layout theory, but why the written word and consumer psychology is a prime factor in influencing arrivals and sales from your travel website.
Create a desire to Visit your destination or travel with your company
Prospective travelers may or may not choose to visit your destination based on what they read on your web site – usually just your home page. Read the article Tourist Safety and Security on Adventure Business Consultants, then you’ll know how crucial it is to first communicate to prospective travelers that your destination and/or tour is a safe, secure and fun place to visit. With so many global destination choices online and so much international turmoil, you MUST communicate clearly it is a safe and fun destination quickly.
The best place to first communicate safety, security and fun is on your home page, not buried deep in your site. When someone first comes to your web site, you literally have five to twenty seconds to grab their interest and compel them to want to know more about your destination, tours, etc. If you don’t grab them on your home page, they are gone. Those prospective tourists are back to surfing the web, seeking out a more interesting, compelling tourism web site and vacation destination.
If you look at your log report, (the statistical report that your internet service provider should make accessible to you) that monitors your web visitors activity, i.e. pages visited, length of time on your site, key words used to find your site, etc., you may notice that the majority of visitors may stay less then a minute. On a poorly written and designed web site, maybe less then fifteen seconds. So grabbing their attention and motivating them to want to know more is the first obstacle and opportunity. Testimonials and photos of happy tourist are perfect for communicating safety and experience quickly. Use them liberally.
Tourism Web Site Must Clearly inform
One of the prime reasons people travel is to experience “something different” from their ordinary life and location. Active and ecotourists want to learn about new cultures, see different houses, hear and speak a different language, reflect on ancient religions and buildings, marvel at unbroken vistas, or try a new activity. This is exactly what most ecotourism operator and destinations are selling and what you must communicate to your web visitors.
Too many web sites that give web visitors unknown destinations instead of activities or types of regions. Most people surfing your web site are not going to know, for example, what they’ll find in Hosgol, Khenti, or the Gobi – which are major regions of Mongolia I discovered during two consulting projects I did there for their tourism Association and ministry. You be better off to define what type of regions they are and what they have to offer. Use descriptive words that everyone will understand. For example:
o Horseback Riding
o Horseback & Mt. Biking
o Religious Sites
o Camel Riding
You must use descriptive text and compelling words that paint a desirable mental picture.
Summarize your trips in bullets and short headlines and sub- headlines
Use descriptive verbs and compelling words in the body of the text to give substance and details to the headlines and sub-heads.
Effective Tourism Marketing Web Sites -Answer Questions and Concerns
When a prospective tourist is considering a destination, in addition to types of regions and activities, they have additional questions and concerns that must be addressed to earn their visit or booking. The same holds true with Out Bound Booking Agents, but even more so.
Some of these travelers questions and concerns include:
Safety precautions and procedures o How you are going to protect their safety?
o Length of vacation
o Difficulty of trip
o Travel options to Ulaan Bataar
o Lodging – hotel, camping or Ger
o Food- vegetarian or special restrictions
o Water – Is it safe?
o Medical emergency/1st aide resources
o Qualifications of staff
o Experience level of company
o Exchange rates & procedures
o Times of year to visit
o Group discounts
o Children – minimum age/experience
o Insurance needs/options
o Cancellation policy/minimums for departure
o In-country transportation & equipment
o Visa requirements
o Inoculations/disease precautions
One of the best ways to deal with all the typical questions you’ll get from prospective clients is a Frequently Asked Questions and Answers page – FAQ’s. You should also create a pre-written response E-mail that responds to these questions and more. Testimonials and pictures that address these questions are great too.
Successful Tourism Marketing – Motivates prospects to Buy
Remember that: Marketing is the actions and steps to getting prospective and qualified visitors/clients to call or e-mail you.
Selling is the transference of enthusiasm from you to the prospect.
Sales is getting those prospective visitors/clients to feel comfortable and excited enough about your destination/or trip, to give your money and book a trip.
Your tourism web site quickly communicates that region and your tours:
Are fun, safe and secure on the home and subsequent pages
Effectively answer questions and concerns
Uses a blend of testimonials and images of happy visitors (especially celebrities and/or recognized media)
When prospects call or e-mail, they will far more motivated and excited. If you are excited in your spoken and written words too, then making a sale is ten times easier. If you or a staff member can effectively speak the foreign language of your prospect, can be excited about what you are selling and can ask for the booking, it would be better to schedule a phone call with serious prospects at your expense whenever possible. This will radically increase your odds of converting that web site visitor into a paying client.