Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is a set of practices that help you gain more visibility on search engine results pages (SERPs).
This marketing method can help you increase traffic and sales by positioning your business at the top of Google’s search page.
While the focus is usually paid ads, SEM includes different ways tour operators and activities providers can boost their business’ visibility on Google (or any other search engine). These key tactics include SEO (Search Engine Optimization), Listing with Google My Business (GMB), Reserve with Google, and Google Ads.
In this guide, we’re going to take a closer look at each of these marketing strategies aimed at ranking your business and increasing sales.
Mastering SEO Basics
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) enables you to get potential clients to organically find your web page and click on it. And research shows that 53.3% of website traffic stems from organic search. That shows how powerful SEO is.
This strategy of boosting traffic involves developing one’s website in a way that Google selects it to appear at the top of its results page for certain keywords.
SEO is not a quick fix to getting traffic to your website, but rather a slow and steady process that aims at gaining long-term, consistent traffic.
Why is SEO important?
If SEO takes such a long time to drive results, why then should tour operators and activities providers (and any other business for that matter) spend their time and money on it?
There are great benefits to optimizing your tour website for search engines. These include:
- Increased number of leads – By ranking your business website higher, the chances of getting organic web traffic increases hence more leads for your company.
- Cost-effective channel – Unlike paid ads where you pay for every click on your webpage, SEO lets you continue getting organic clicks at no additional cost.
- Build brand equity – For as long as your site is ranking and you are producing relevant content, your tour/activities business will benefit from more brand credibility – allowing you to attract not only customers but strong talent too.
To effectively optimize your site for search engines, there are several tricks and tips to implement. Some of the most important to keep in mind are the quality of your content and your backlinks.
High-quality content is one of the factors Google looks for in order to rank a site. This is content that answers the searchers’ queries in a clear manner. On the other hand, high-quality backlinks are also key for boosting your rank on the search engine result’s page.
If you want to learn more about SEO for tours and activities, check out our dedicated guide for beginners.
Creating a standout Google My Business listing
Now, if you don’t want to only wait for your SEO efforts to bear fruit, and would like your tour or activities website to rank faster on search engines, then Google My Business (GMB) is one feature you should leverage.
GMB is a free tool offered by Google that allows businesses to create a business profile that also shows up on Google Maps.
If you have a website for your tours or activities company, your GMB profile probably already exists by default, but the information therein may not be all accurate or complete. For this reason, you should claim your business profile and populate it with all the data searchers may need to make a decision about booking your tours/ activities.
Your Google My Business profile should include:
- Your business hours
- Business description
- Reserve with Google details
- High-quality images and videos
- Google reviews
This is one free Search Engine Marketing strategy that can catapult you to Google’s first page sooner and allows you to show up on Google Maps.
Why is GMB Important?
The following are some of the benefits of making a standout GMB listing and using it for Search Engine Marketing for tours and activities.
Firstly, your business listing can help boost your company’s visibility and increase traffic to your webpage. Since GMB profile appears on Google Maps, it offers an opportunity to be seen by about 82% of smartphone users who use “near me” searches when looking for local businesses.
Secondly, having an excellent business profile increases your chances of featuring in Google’s local 3-pack. This is a snippet of the top 3 local businesses that appears at the top of the search engine results page when a buyer searches for a business in a specific location.
Featuring on this list means appearing at the top of the search results which can help you get more traffic and increase sales since 90% of searchers are likely to click on the top search results.
The other benefit of optimizing your business profile is being able to dominate your local SEO. You can optimize your Google business listing by including relevant keywords and content according to your location and business offering.
Lastly, did you know that buyers have a 70% higher probability of visiting a business with a GMB listing? This data is a clear indicator of how important your business profile is in helping you convert more customers.
If you want to get started with GMB, read our article on creating a standout Google My Business listing.
Getting bookings directly on Search Results
One of the ways to increase conversion and get leads to book your tours or activities is by making the booking process easy, simple, and seamless. You can achieve this by allowing for bookings directly on search results using Reserve with Google.
What is Reserve with Google?
Reserve with Google is a service offered by Google allowing customers to search for and book tours and activities directly via Google Search, Google Maps, and Reserve with Google website.
Why is Reserve with Google useful?
Reserve with Google can boost your sales significantly.
Picture a traveller searching for a weekend tour or activity on Google. They spot your boat rides tour company with all the relevant information on that one page, and what’s more, they can make their reservation right there without having to click through one or even two other pages on your website. You have a high chance of getting that booking because Google has helped remove all the hoops that customers have to jump over before making a purchase.
If your business is small and based in a great location with much bigger competitors, Reserve with Google can work to your advantage. In this case, the more strategic your address is, the better.
For example, if you’re selling Eiffel Tower tours in Paris and are located very close to the iconic tower, potential customers are more likely to find your business on Google Maps than some of the bigger companies. Customers can then book directly on Google Maps thanks to Reserve with Google and that enables you to compete with huge tour operators in a way you could never do by trying to outrank them on Google Search.
Lastly, let’s talk about how Reserve with Google levels the playing field for all brands. This is because every company’s listing on Reserve with Google looks the same. So, if your company is still new, small, with a not-so-impressive website, then this benefit is especially for you. Reserve with Google will likely convert users better than if they were to go through your website.
For Regiondo users, you can enjoy all these benefits by getting your business listed on Reserve with Google thanks to our partnership. Join in today, if you haven’t already.
Launching profitable Google Ads
Google Ads (formerly AdWords) is paid advertising on Google’s search result page and/or Google’s network of search partners. With over 63,000 searches every second, every day, Google is definitely one of the best places to position your tour business and boost visibility.
These paid search campaigns are the heart of Search Engine Marketing and, if done right, can help your tour or activities company thrive.
Google Ads are also referred to as PPC Ads (i.e Pay Per Click) because you only pay when someone clicks on your text ad.
So, when we talk about ‘profitable’ Google Ads advertising, we mean getting a good return on your investment (ROI), i.e the money you make from your tour or activities business as a result of advertising is cumulatively more than what it cost you to advertise. And this is very possible if you master Google Ads well.
Why Google Ads are important for tours and activities
Using Google Ads in the tours industry has a number of benefits, the following are the key ones:
1. You can select your target group to show your ads – In a nutshell, Google Ads enables you to show your ad to the right people, at the right place and right time. While creating your campaigns, select your ideal audience and these will be the people who see your ad when they search for what you are offering. The beauty of this is that there’s a higher chance of conversions.
2. Choose when and where to show your ads – As we’ve mentioned above, Google Ads enables you to show your ads at the right place and right time. This is facilitated by the set up of Google Ads whereby you can decide the exact days and time that your ads will show and whether to appear on Google’s search result page or on other websites.
3. Set your budget – With Google Ads, you get to decide how much you’d like to spend either on a monthly basis, daily, or per ad. This enables you to plan your ad spend well and ensure your advertising is profitable for your tour or activities business.
If you want to learn more and get started with Google Ads, check out our detailed guide on the topic.
Analyzing results with Google Analytics
The ultimate goal of optimizing your website and marketing your business is to increase sales and bookings for your tour or activities company. Therefore, analyzing your results and website performance is vital in order to keep track of your progress and understand what’s working and what’s not.
Thanks to Google Analytics (GA), a free analytics tool for websites created by Google, you can analyze your website traffic and track your business performance.
So why is it important to understand your Google Analytics results? Here are some of the main reasons:
- It helps you track and understand your customers’ behaviour
- Gives you insight into whether you’re meeting the needs of your clients
- Helps you assess the effectiveness of all your marketing campaigns
- Opens your eyes to whether you’re effectively spending or wasting your budget
- Enables you to see new growth opportunities
The good thing about GA is that businesses can connect their Google Ads campaigns and be able to see and monitor results consistently. What’s more, you can also connect Search Console to your Google Analytics where you will see queries and get to access information about how well your organic-search traffic is doing.
Mastering Google Analytics will enable you to monitor and optimize all your Search Engine Marketing campaigns and your digital presence in general. If you want to get started, read our guide on Google Analytics here.
There you have it, the complete guide to Search Engine Marketing for tours and activities. We covered the main ways to get visibility on search engines like Google, including:
- GMB listing
- Reserve with Google
- Google Ads
- Google Analytics
We also suggested resources to help you implement each of these tactics with minimum effort.
The next step? Just try out one of these ways and track the results you get.
And if you want to learn more about marketing for tours and activities, download our related eBook on the topic below.