Tourism Tim Warren is no stranger to helping tourism businesses succeed. The founder of Adventure Business Consultants and host of top industry podcast Travel Business Success, Tim and his team have helped thousands of private and public sector tourism & hospitality businesses start, grow, scale and exit profitably. In this post, he lets us in on a few key tips to help capture the attention of your website visitors – and give your sales a boost in the process.

“If only I had a better search ranking, or more traffic to my website, I would surely be booking more trips.”

If you’re a tour or activity operator, I’m guessing this thought has crossed your mind on more than one occasion. It’s natural to think that if your website is more visible, your traffic will increase, and your bookings will rise.

The problem? This is a mostly false perception.

It’s not to say that these things can’t ever give your business a boost. The issue is, things can get real expensive real fast when dealing with search engine optimization (SEO) and Pay Per Click (PPC) marketing.

And the worst part? Many operators are not earning many leads and those all-important conversions from this form of investment.

Okay, so where’s the good news? What should you be doing instead? Well, since it often seems like only the great Google Gods know what’s next in terms of changes to their search engine algorithms, here’s my recommendation:

Focus on learning about the Profitable Powers of Conversion.

In this post, I’ll be laying out some core tourism marketing principles that will help you more than triple your leads and bookings. All without ANY increase in ranking or traffic.

By understanding and applying the following ideas, your tourism marketing efforts will yield a better return on investment — one that you are in control of.

The Profitable Powers of Sales Conversion

Here’s a sad tourism website marketing fact.

You’re probably missing out on 97% or more of potential leads that visit your tour or activity website. A huge percentage of operators websites worldwide, including many I have consulted with, suffer from this problem.

Not sure if this is true for you?

Check out your website visitor stats with Google Analytics. Take a look at your “Bounce Rate”. This is the percentage of people who visited your site, and left in less than 10 seconds. If over 60% or higher of your web visitors are leaving in less than 10 seconds, how can you possibly convince them to book with you?

So, you need more time to show your customers how great your experiences are. But you also need to make sure you’re making those first 5-10 seconds count when someone enters your website.

Before we talk about how to do that, let’s take a look at the possible results from making small, simple changes to your bounce and conversion rates. These three realistic examples show what it can do to your bookings – and profits:

Graphic #1 represents a tour operator with 1,000 monthly website visitors and $500 revenue per booking. Just by lowering the bounce rate from 70% to 50% and increasing sales conversions from a conservative 1% to 2%, increases bookings and revenues 333%. These small improvements that I am going to show you – that you can do too – are worth an extra US$42,000 a year in this example.

Let’s look at two more scenarios to show you how you can increase bookings up to 500%.

Graphic #2 represents an average Peek tour operator or attraction with 5,000 monthly website visitors and $85 revenue per booking. Again, by lowering the bounce rate from 70% to 50% and increasing sales conversions from 1% to 2%, bookings increase 333% with $35,700 in additional revenues. Pretty nice!

Graphic #3 represents the same Peek tour operator or attraction with 5,000 website visitors monthly, $85 revenue per booking. Again, we lowered the website bounce rate from 70% to 50%. But in example #3, we increased sales conversions from 1% to a still pretty conservative 3%. This same operator now sees bookings increase by 500% and a revenue boost of $61,200. Sweet!

These examples show that lowering your bounce rate and increasing your sales conversions means more profits for you. And best of all, this can actually be done while lowering your marketing costs.

All this could mean a 233% – 500% increase in your revenues with 2 simple website improvements.

Successful Tourism Marketing Establishes Trust & Credibility Fast

Ok, so what are some of the ways in which we can lower that bounce rate and increase conversions?

Based on a Nielsen study on effective advertising with over 28,000 Internet respondents in 56 countries, the #1 reason why a stranger might stay engaged in your tourism website, and decide you may be a good choice and want to book is – trust.   

Establishing this trust is called “social proof.”

Remember your bounce rate from above? Well, it means you have less than 7 seconds to establish trust and credibility – especially on your tourism website. This is one of the most important lessons I have learned in 25+ years of helping tourism, travel & hospitality companies worldwide increase bookings, profits and business value. When you can communicate trust effectively and quickly, you will generate more leads and sales. Guaranteed.

I’ve found that a key part of establishing social proof revolves around what I like to call “Credibility Statements”.

Some of the things you need to communicate fast are your:

  • Years of experience
  • Number of happy guests
  • Any special recognition or awards you have received
  • High social media review ranking and any celebrity endorsements

Let’s take a look at some examples:

On this website, Alaska Fishing Lodges, they have managed to convey their depth of experience, satisfied customers and third-party ranking all at the top of their page. This helps to draw the visitor in and immediately gives them credibility.

Why not include some impressive stats too? Customers will feel more at ease – and more confident about booking – if they know that this is an area in which you’re experienced and established.

Don’t forget to also convey this through your Google “snippet” (or meta description), which you can edit through sites like WordPress.

I have also created a free 25 point tourism website marketing checklist to help you build more social proof, lower bounce rate and increase bookings. This quick and easy self-assessment will show you how your tourism website scores, whether or not you currently have a “tourism website that sells”, and what you can do to improve it.

Tap Into the Psychological Triggers That Create a “Tourism Website That Sells”

To achieve a Tourism Website That Sells you must tap into travel shoppers’ psychological triggers around trust. Remember, a large percentage of your website visitors may be leaving your site fast. That means you need to establish trust and clarity in what you do – FAST.

You need to show visitors a few key things within the first 7 seconds of them entering your website. Here are the “Big Three” that you should make clear in this time window:

  1. You are experienced.
  2. You provide quality service.
  3. Their safety is your #1 concern.

Of course, there are a number of ways to boost conversions on your website. A powerful online booking system is also key – particularly one that uses these proven principles within their system.

The good news is that these ideas work across all of your tourism marketing – the benefits extending way beyond your website. These are proven, powerful principles and should be used EVERYWHERE.

They are guaranteed to help you communicate trust fast and convert more strangers into prospects (and prospects into bookings).

The cool thing is, these tips are simple and easy to implement. When you fully understand and apply the power of social proof in your tourism marketing, magic happens.

I would love to hear from you and find out how you have or will integrate “Social Proof” into your tourism marketing and how you scored on the marketing assessment.

Want to hear more great tips from Tourism Tim? Check out the recording of his most recent webinar with Peek, where he gave even more tips on how to increase your leads and conversions.

You can also check out his online course, Tourism Marketing Success, for even more great insight into your tourism business.