More than 80% of prospective tourism customers start their research on the internet. A well designed and maintained website is a very important tool for any tourism business to attract these potential customers and generate high quality leads. Once you build your business website, you need people interested in your services to visit it. You can utilise different online marketing channels from SEO, pay per click campaigns to social media to create a stream of website visitors. But remember all these methods can only increase the number of visitors to your site. But unless you convert these visitors to customers your business will not grow.
You will not be able to convert your website visitors to customers if your website is not designed properly. Without a thoughtfully designed website, generating high quality leads is impossible.
So what are the most important features for a tourism business website?
Design & Content
Always keep fresh content on you site. No one will value your website content if it is not updated regularly.
Photos, Videos and Maps
Photos and videos are the best tools to attract tourists during their initial research phase. A photo or video can offer glimpses of the ‘real tour experience’ to prospective tourists. These visual elements can effectively convey the true ‘spirit’ of tours to customers. The quality of your photos and videos are as important as your website design. Low quality photos and videos will put off a lot of potential customers.
Always include tourists in your photos (do not just include plain destination photos). Add photos of tourists enjoying some tour activity. This will help your website visitors to relate themselves directly to the ‘tour experience’, increasing the possibility of purchase. Interactive maps are also a welcome addition as a lot of people will be interested in them.
Reviews and testimonials
Reviews and testimonials are a great way to show your service expertise and how your customers value it. This can be great way to get boost your credibility in front of potential customers. But don’t overdo this as it may have a negative impact on visitors.
Readability & Presentation
This one should go with your professional website design. The extra mention here is because of its importance. Make sure the font and the colour you use for them matches your website design and colour patterns. Make sure the content on your site is readable and easy for visitor eyes. Non readable content and difficult site navigation will never help your tourism business lead generation process.
Functionality of Your Website
Information on your site should be divided to separate categories. All main categories should be accessible from the home page. The website structure should help visitors to find specific information very easily.
If your site or images takes longer to load, that will be a big drawback. Especially when a user is accessing your site using a slow internet connection. Even search engines will penalise slow websites. So make sure you optimize your site, images and videos to load faster.
Your site should be optimized for different web browsers (internet explorer, Chrome, Mozilla) and display screen resolutions as your website visitors can use any browser and screen.
More and more people are using their mobile devices and tablets to access the internet. So make sure your website appearance and loading time is optimized for these devices too. This is very important for the future as mobile searches are growing at a very fast rate.
Make sure your contact information is available to your website visitors very easily. Display your phone number on top of every web page, easily visible for your prospective customers. Create a separate ‘Contact Us page. Include your complete business address, phone number, email address and chat tool ids (like Skype, Google Talk or Yahoo messenger) on this page.
Contact Us forms and Call to Action Buttons
Don’t think all your customers will call you directly, once you provide your phone number on your website. The number of calls will be low, especially if your customers are outside your country. So provide them an additional option to contact you. A ‘Contact Us’ form will be an ideal tool here, which will also help you to generate leads. A thoughtfully designed data collection form will help you to convert your website visitors to customers. Have a look at a simple contact us form below.
With these types of simple forms you can start a very meaningful conversation with your prospective clients. It will give you enough information to contact your potential customers by collecting their name, email ID, phone number and country. The information or requirement provided in the ‘comments’ section of the form will help you to identify the actual requirement of your customers. This will help you to prepare a proper solution and will help you to save a lot of valuable time during your initial negotiations.
Create a separate ‘Thank You’ page, rather than a ‘Thank You message. This page will help you to accurately track leads from your advertising campaigns later.
Look at the example above. The green button with the ‘submit’ text is called a ‘Call to Action’ button. You can use any suitable wording on this button (it is advisable to avoid ‘Submit’ as your call to action text as this is the text redundantly uses across millions of websites, and lost its charm). You can use ‘Send’, ‘Get in touch’, or similar call to action text.
You can choose any email service provider, but make sure your business email id comes with your official business domain name. For example your business website is ‘www.mytourismbusiness.com’, then your business email ID should be ‘firstname.lastname@example.org. Your potential customers may not take you seriously if your email id is from a generic free email service provider, like email@example.com.
Reliable web host and up time
Make sure your website is up and running every day, every time. This is very important in tourism business as your customers will be visiting your site from around the globe and from different time zones. It will be a disaster when you spend a lot of time and effort to attract your prospective customers to your website and the customer finds your site is not available. This will be more critical when you run search engine marketing ads, pay for each click, and your potential customers see a broken site. So make sure your website is hosted by a reliable web hosting company.
Enable Web analytics
There are some incredible web analytics tools completely free of cost! Use one of them to measure your website and website traffic performance. Information from these tools will give great insights which you can use to optimize your website, web traffic and ultimately your tourism business lead generation.
Now create your user friendly tourism business website and start generating quality leads!