Do you want more bookings (well who doesn’t?) or is your website not generating the bookings you would expect? Here are a few tips that will help optimize your website to make it the best it can be.
- DO make sure your website loads FAST. Website visitors aren’t going to hang around while your page loads – they’ll go back to search results and click the next site if yours is taking to long. You can test you page load speed with Google PageSpeed Insights, the results will also give you many more tips for improving page speed. Often it’s the images and graphics that are slowing your page load speed so you need to make sure these are optimized to the minimum file size that still looks good on screen. Luckily Google PageSpeed Insights will optimize the images for you to download!
- DON’T use a SLIDER. The slider is the rotating slideshow that many websites use at the top of the home page, often using messages overlaid on each photo. Research suggests that visitors don’t read or view beyond the first slide, all those big images slow down your page load speed, and they are distracting and irritating for the user. Instead, use a single large “hero image” with a heading and sub heading that immediately lets users know who you are and what you do.
- DO use lots of PHOTOS (but make sure to optimize them). Great photos will do the selling for you so make sure you use enough on your website. And I mean actual photos of your tours or accommodation (certainly NOT stock images, photos grabbed from the internet, or stolen form competitor websites). Images of real clients having fun with your product are the most convincing.
- DO provide ENOUGH INFORMATION for the client to make a booking. Try to put yourself in the client’s shoes and answer all the questions that they may have about your tour or accommodation. When organizing a tour description page, first summarize the important information such as price, accommodation type and duration so that users can quickly check to see if the tour meets their criteria before reading down to the details.
DO make sure you have a CALL TO ACTION. A call to action is a term marketers use to describe a prompt telling users what to do next. On a tour or accommodation website this might be a big BOOK NOW button, especially if you are using an online booking software service (e.g. rezdy.com for tours or littlehotelier.com for accommodation). For some kinds of tours, a BOOK NOW button might not be appropriate. Instead, your call to action might be a TALK TO US button with a contact form in order to start the sales conversation.
- DO make sure your website is RESPONSIVE. Responsive websites automatically adapt and re-size to different screen sizes, making them usable on smart phones, tablets, laptops and desktops. Why is this so important? Well, according to the Google 2014 Traveller’s Road To Decision Report, 67% of leisure travelers will use their smart phone during the travel process and this number is likely to rise. Equally as significant, Google actively boosts the search engine rankings for mobile friendly websites. If your website isn’t already responsive it probably means a re-design is required; you are loosing potential bookings and need to invest in a new responsive site.
Creating a RESPONSIVE, INFORMATIVE, ATTRACTIVE and FAST website isn’t easy, but it is of vital importance. Here we give you the basics, but of course there are many more tips and techniques for effective tourism websites, and nothing beats designing a website from the ground up with marketing goals first and foremost.
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