Websites are a part of doing business nowadays. Yes, of course a web design company is going to say that. That doesn’t make it untrue! It’s hard to take a company seriously without a website. That said, there is a huge difference between a website slapped together in a weekend and a professionally designed site. They will both get you noticed, but only one in a good way (I’ll leave you to guess which one).
Tourists need to see that you are a professional company. They are likely not from your area, they may not know anyone able to give a personal recommendation, and you’re likely offering similar options to your competition. What’s more, they’ve probably heard the horror stories about shady tour guides who will take their money and run. A professional website gives them the confidence they need to book with you. It shows them that you’ve been around a while, you’re invested in your business, and they can trust you.
Now that we agree that websites are important, it’s time to create yours. Whether you are DIY-ing your website or hiring a professional, here are the must-haves that will ensure your tour company’s website is noticed (in a good way, of course).
If you’re running a tour company and want people to book directly with you rather than with an OTA, you have to make it easy for them. Booking software, reservation system, whatever you call it, is a way to do just that. People are on your website. They are interested in your tours. They want to book with you. But if you’re asking them to email you — or worse, call you! — you’re going to lose customers.
Sure, some people will be so in love with your offerings that they’ll do whatever it takes to book with you. But ask yourself — does that describe most people? Or will most people go to the site that lets them book right away and start getting excited for their tour instead of getting anxious that it’s not booked yet?
Now, if you have highly customizable tours, don’t discount the value of a booking software just yet. Many of the options available today allow customers to customize as they go through the booking process. Even if your chosen software doesn’t allow customization to your preferred standard, you’re still going to be losing customers without one. Get guests to sign up using the booking software and contact them afterwards for more details.
Someone is on your website right now. They have a question and can’t find it in your FAQs (you do have FAQs, right?). What do they start looking for? Contact form!
Someone else is on your website right now. They’re not planning a visit to your area, but they do have it on their bucket list. How can you get in touch and convince them to visit sooner rather than later? Contact form!
Your contact form is a way for you to get information about who is on your site and interested. You can use this information to get in touch right away, answer their questions, and secure that booking. You should also be using it as a way to stay in touch and keep the conversation going. Send them special offers. Send them a regular newsletter with new photos and blog posts. Send them anything relevant to keep your company at the forefront of their mind when they think of your area.
Everyone loves a good photo, and this can be what puts you above your competitors. Offer spectacular views from the top of a mountain? Photos! Offer a rafting trip through thrilling rapids? Photos! Show people exactly what they’re going to get by booking from you. Better yet, show them the best possible version of what they’re going to get. But just having photos isn’t enough. You may or may not be surprised at how far high-quality photos can carry you. For example, take a look at these photos:
Objectively, they’re the same photo. But which Berlin city tour company would you book with? (See what we mean about quality?)
Hire a photographer and get amazing photos from your tours. With those photos on your site, people will see these gorgeous views and exciting adventures and start picturing themselves there.
That should be enough to get you started. Honestly, even doing just those three things should have a positive impact on your website, bookings, and how people perceive your company. For an even better website, you can check out five other must-haves that we deem worthy, or get in touch with the Tourism Tiger team.
Stephanie Fiero is originally from Michigan, USA. She currently works as the Marketing Manager for Tourism Tiger, a web design company specializing in tour and activity operators. Stephanie has lived on four continents in her continuing pursuit of learning a useful second language. Her favorite vacation was Myanmar in 2016 and her favorite tour was Chernobyl in 2013.