The 10 Most Common Website Mistakes Tour Operators are Making (And How to Fix Them)

Your website is one of the most the most important marketing tool for any tour & activity business. Most Peek operators see the majority of their revenue through online bookings.

But are you leaving money on the table? I analyzed 50 tour operator websites on 40 different criteria of mistakes they could be making (yup, 40!). Throughout my analysis I found out 2 things:

  1. There are a lot of amazing tours out there, and I am dying to do them all
  2. There’s a lot of mistakes operators are making on their websites that are super easy to fix  

I decided to focus this post on the second point, and give you a list of the top 10 most common website mistakes tour operators are making, and tell you how to fix them. Check out the following countdown of mistakes, and see what improvements you can make to your website!

Mistake #10: No location listed and/or difficult to contact

19 out of 50 websites had no location listed // 12 out of 50 were difficult to contact

Where are you? Listing your location proves to your customer that you really exist. Simply adding your address to your website earns you that little bit of credibility that might make the difference for a customer to book. Think about it – would YOU book with a company that has no physical location listed?

Also,  make it as easy as possible for your customer to contact you. If you are using a contact form on your website, remove unnecessary required items. If someone wants to know if your tour is wheelchair accessible, they shouldn’t have to select a date just to ask such a simple question. Make it easy! The only required information should be the customer’s email address, and their question.

The Solution: Add your address and remove unnecessary required fields in your “Contact Us” widget

Mistake #9: Have a slider on your homepage

28 out of 50 websites had a slider on their homepage

I’m begging you all to stop using sliders. A slider is a slideshow integrated into your website. What’s wrong with it? They are distracting, and can frustrate the customer who was just looking at that picture, and then it changes. I get it. It seems like a great idea. Doesn’t it allow you to show off more pictures or options? But take a look at this website’s slider:

What’s the problem with it? It slides, the problem is right there in the name! The movement is distracting, and doesn’t give you control over what the customer’s first impression of your website is. Sliders also take a lot longer to load, especially on mobile and having a big black box in the middle of your website is not very impressive.

The Solution: Take out the slider and add an awesome, eye-catching photo instead (with a clear headline).

Mistake #8: Not enough details in your descriptions

28 out of 50 websites didn’t provide enough details in their tour and activity descriptions

Your tour and activity descriptions are your sales pitches to potential customers. Make them strong! Though ordinarily I’d advise you not to bog down your customers with too much information, your tour descriptions are the exception. Lay it out for them. An awesome method to follow is the B.E.T.T.E.R. method. When you’re done reading this, check out this blog post by TourismTiger which explains this method in detail. Owner of TourismTiger and the author of that post, Mat Newton, writes on tour descriptions: “You need to write with detail and follow the principle of ‘more is more’“. So! Fill your customers up with tons of (well-structured) information and then end it off with a testimonial about how great that tour is (and a big, book now button).

The Solution: Add every detail you can think of into your tour/activity descriptions. I highly recommend using the B.E.T.T.E.R method.

Mistake #7: No Picture or Description of the Employees

30 out of 50 websites didn’t have a picture of their employees

Your website gives you an opportunity to begin building a relationship with your customers. Showing off your employees begins that relationship. Plus if your customers recognize their guide from your website, they will feel a stronger personal connection from the start. Is that important? Watch what Chris Torres, expert in tourism marketing with 25 years of experience, says about personal connections:

The Solution: Add a picture of your employees and use their description as an opportunity to convey your company’s tone. Each employee’s description can be used to highlight your expertise (more about that later).

Mistake #6: Costs and Dates of Tours or Activities aren’t clear

31 out of 50 websites had unclear costs and dates of their tours/activities

These are are the two things your customers are going to ask themselves when they are looking at your tours:

  1. When is it?
  2. How much is it?

Your customer’s booking experience should be as simple as possible. Listing the costs and dates at the top of descriptions helps each customer decide which tour works for them. Not putting this information at the top wastes customer’s time, by forcing them to search how much the tour is, and if it is available when they are.

The Solution: Add the costs and dates of your tours and activities to the top of each description. Your customers will appreciate having clear, transparent information. Check out how Felix in Hollywood Tours lists his tour. On the left hand side of his tour page, there is a clear schedule with the cost of his tour underneath it!

Mistake #5: No Testimonials

31 out of 50 websites didn’t have testimonials in their tour descriptions
24 out of 50 didn’t have them on their website at all

What! 24 didn’t have testimonials at all?! It’s soo easy to get testimonials (especially with Peek Pro’s Smart Review tool), and the pay-off is huge. They earn you major credibility, and they provide a look into your tours from the customer’s perspective. They also set realistic expectations for your tours, which deters bad reviews and ensures great experiences. AND they encourage potential customers to stay on your website a little longer, which could increase your bookings. Have I said enough?

The Solution: You should have testimonials located in more than one place on your website; at least on your homepage and in your tour descriptions. Like I’ve said, your tour descriptions are your sales pitches to your customers, and showing a testimonial within them is your evidence that your customer will have a great experience.

Testimonials provide credibility and instill trust in your customers

Mistake #4: Unclear Headline

33 out of 50 websites had an unclear headline

Every website I visited was for an operator I had never heard of or used. Which means I could easily tell how clear each website’s headline was.  Your headline should immediately show what you offer and where you offer it. If not, your bounce rate will go up. If the customer isn’t sure that you offer what they are looking for, they will leave. No one wants to waste their time trying to figure out what you do, especially on a slow internet connection in their hotel.

The Solution: Take a look at your headline and think about if someone organically came to your site. Would they know immediately what you offer and where you are offering it? If not, change it.

Mistake #3: Expertise not highlighted

36 out of 50 websites didn’t highlight their expertise in their tour descriptions
20 out of 50 didn’t highlight their expertise at all

It is easy to differentiate yourself by showcasing your expertise in your field. So why aren’t you all doing it? Read the following tour description examples, and think about which tour you would book:

Tour 1: Join us on a 2 hour tour through our brewery in Portland, Oregon. Learn how brewing has changed over the last 50 years and finish the tour with a flight of three tasters.

Tour 2: Join our Brew Master, John, on a 2 hour tour through our state of the art brewery in Portland, Oregon. John will explain to you how brewing beer has changed over the last 50 years…20 of which he has been brewing! End the tour with a flight of three of our most award-winning beers.

Though the two descriptions have the same information, one showcases the experience of the guide and of the brewery, while the other just explains the tour. I’m willing to bet, given the choice of the two, you’d book tour 2 over over tour 1.

The Solution: Take the time to explain your expertise. Include it in your employee’s descriptions, in your “About Us” page, and in your tour descriptions. I’m repeating myself now, but your tour descriptions are your sales pitches. Make it a strong pitch by showing off why you’re the best!

Mistake #2: No reason to book right now

42 out of 50 websites don’t offer promotions or display how many people booked their tours

Offering a promotion, discount, or displaying how many people have booked one of your tours will create urgency in your potential customers to book now. Our Partner, Sourced Adventures, does this really well because:

  • When you first visit their website, a pop-up appears offering a $10 discount to your first tour.
  • They utilize Proof to show how many people are viewing their website and booking their tours.

Not only does this provide credibility to their business, it helps the customer envision themselves on their activities.

The Solution: Think about the benefit of offering a discount to your customers, and consider what you can afford. If you offer multiple tours, maybe it’s worth it to offer 10% off the first tour someone books with you. Or if you have a significant slow season, advertise a promotion for customers to book during this time. Easiest of all, see if using Proof works for you.

Mistake #1: No Guarantee Offered

42 out of 50 websites aren’t offering a guarantee

Alright. We made it! The #1 most common website mistake that 42 out of 50 operators have made: Not offering a guarantee. I’m not suggesting you tell potential customers that you’ll offer a full refund if they cancel their tour 20 minutes before the start time. However, offering some type of guarantee instills confidence in your customers, and will in turn provide you with more bookings.

The Solution: A guarantee can be as simple as offering a rescheduled tour in the event that their plans change, or where a cancellation is caused by bad weather. This shows your potential customers that you care about providing them the best experience, and you will make sure they receive what they paid for!

Applying even just a few of these solutions will improve your website and increase your bookings. Remember that often your website is your customer’s first impression of your business. It is definitely worth the time and effort to make it perfect!

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