This is a guest post by Mat Newton of Tourism Tiger.
As a tour operator, you’ve probably seen a lot of advice on the internet about how to improve your site. This is great, BUT… all of these posts have one thing in common – they don’t put you in the mindset of your visitor.
It’s one thing to follow a random bunch of tips, but it’s way better if you fully understand WHY you’re making the changes – that way, you’ll know which things to focus on first, and the best way to implement them.
At TourismTiger, our focus is 100% on building tour & activity websites. Over time, we’ve noticed that website visitors tend to follow certain patterns – some potential customers focus a LOT on photos and others focus on price. Some take the time to read every word, while others scroll up and down rapidly looking for certain information.
Over the past 3 years, we’ve come to categorize these people into 5 distinct ‘personality types’ and I’m dying to share these with you, so let’s dive in.
Who Henrietta is: Have you ever noticed that some people who come on your tour & activity seem to be… worried? Almost unnaturally so?
This is Henrietta.
What happens if it rains? Am I fit enough? Am I going to be the only person my age? Is this going to be a waste of money? Is this too scary? What if, what if, what if?
How to sell to Henrietta: Henrietta needs to be comforted. This is why having ‘great photos’ isn’t just the key – another key is to have the RIGHT photos. For example – are people worried that their children aren’t big enough for your activity? Is your visitor concerned that they’re going to get too tired? Show photos of children or less athletic people enjoying your experience.
It’s not just the photos – it’s also about the words. Do your tour descriptions clearly address Henrietta’s worries, in a prominent way? Does your business convey its credibility through its history, reviews, photos, videos, logo, design, etc?
Who Eddie is: Eddie is heavily focused on the emotional experience, the memories, and the stories.
At his core, Eddie is looking to get excited. Which means your photos, video, and descriptions need to make Eddie truly FEEL the emotions that you want him to feel.
Eddie is less text-focused and much more interested in photos and videos. Eddie will look at every single photo you have but completely miss something in the middle of your tour description!
How to sell to Eddie: Simple, yet difficult to execute.
Your tours need to really capture the fantasy of the experience.
A common mistake is for photos to be of a group standing and smiling for the camera. Don’t do this – you need to show people in the middle of the experience, not posing awkwardly.
Photos need to:
- Be professionally taken where possible (don’t take them yourself with an iPhone, this always leads to mediocre results)
- Show people in the process of enjoying the experience
- Show your company delivering the experience and making it special
- Show the context of the experience. That is to say… zoom out a little and show people the full sweep of the activity. Rafting companies make this mistake a lot – 100% of their photos are zoomed in on whitewater.
Example: Check out the site we built for Regiondo customer, Paris Day Trip. Previously, his tour itineraries were all text and no grab. Now, people have a great selection of photos to check out and really imagine the experience.
Who Rose is: Rose is the most common type of visitor to your website.
I’m a Rose! And I get extraordinarily frustrated while trying to book tours online…
Rose is the kind of person who doesn’t want to sit around and read a long tour description – she just wants the key information to make her decision.
If your website is very easy to navigate, Rose will reward you for it. In fact, Rose will actively avoid companies with dated websites, no booking systems, or confusing navigation.
I learned this in my very last job before starting TourismTiger. I was an SEO manager for over 50 different websites and had access to the Google Analytics of all of them. When you have access to so many websites, you learn very quickly what works and what doesn’t!
The biggest lesson? Simple navigation and easy to find information is the winner. Otherwise, you’ll have Rose calling to ask you a question that is ‘clearly answered on the site’. Or more likely, she’ll just give up.
How to sell to Rose: Once Rose has established that you have a credible business (with, say, a quick look at TripAdvisor), you’re in the hunt.
The home page needs to have two things: a very clear headline and extremely clear navigation. Let’s re-visit Paris Day Trip, our Regiondo customer. Notice that the home page is simple and clean? This is so important.
Now, let’s look at one of their tour pages. The gallery and basic details such as price are extremely clear and very easy to locate. This is so important.
Finally, look at their booking process. The booking button is prominent – on both desktop and mobile – and is connected to a live booking system. This means that Rose can check the availability of the tour without having to email or call. She can book straight away! Awesome.
Who Quentin Is: Quentin is the person who makes a spreadsheet with all of their options for each day.
He’s the person who will read every detail just to make absolutely, 100% sure that this is the right company to go with.
That is to say, Quentin is a perfectionist.
How to Sell to Quentin: Quentin will punish you hard for small mistakes – poor logo? Poor photos? Spelling errors? Sale.. gone.
Now, Quentin understands that this is a tour. So they don’t expect War and Peace, but if a company is clearly nailing the details on their site, this will create a feeling of trust for him.
The problem is this – how do I balance the needs of Rose with the needs of Quentin?
If Rose doesn’t like too much text, and Quentin needs a lot of text… what do I do?
Simple – you just need to put the absolute key details at the top and help Rose get the information she needs. The tour description itself should be easy to scan so someone can answer the one question on their mind.
You need to:
- Have detailed descriptions answering every possible question
- Have a full activity description breaking down the step by step
- Make great use of ‘Good to Know’ and ‘FAQ’ areas
- Make sure you get all of your text proof-read by someone else, to catch any errors
- Pay attention to questions that come in via phone or contact form and ensure that you get them answered.
Last, and possibly the most important, is Representative Ryan.
Who Ryan is: Ryan is the person who is booking on behalf of other people – it could be their partner, their family, or a large group.
Ryan’s job is to find a great option that everyone is happy with and thereby maintain their reputation. Ryan knows that if they make the wrong decision, they’ll be hearing about it for months or possibly years after the event.
How to sell to Ryan: If something goes wrong, Ryan needs to justify his decision. This means that your website (and TripAdvisor profile) need to look highly professional and credible.
Clearly display how established and experienced your business is (incredible tours of Sydney since 2002!)
Show how many guests you’ve had – 1500 amazing tours conducted since 2002!
Show your awards
Have highly professional, modern design, photos, video, and logo
You’ll need well-written tour descriptions that are also well-structured
Show the quality of your vehicles/equipment/gear and make it clear that you only use the best.
There’s nothing worse than spending a lot of time and money bringing visitors to the website – then having them leave because of some trivial issue.
It’s hard to feel this issue because on your Analytics they’re just going to be a visitor. These people aren’t emailing you to tell you why they don’t buy. They just leave. And it’s our job at TourismTiger to turn them from a meaningless statistic to a real booking. Appeal to all 5 of the people I’ve talked about and you’ll find your sales getting a nice little boost.
Now that you’ve read this, go back to your website and think about the different mentalities. Is it easy for someone in a hurry to find your information? Are you really doing such a great job of comforting Henrietta?
Put yourself in their shoes and you’ll find a lot of the potential improvements that have been escaping you. Our customers see a typical year-over-year increase in bookings of 20-80% (mostly between 40 and 70%) and this is a key part of our strategy. Hopefully, you’ll see an effect of this order, too.
You might also like:
- How to Increase Website Conversions for Tours and Activities
- The Best Content Management Systems For Tour And Activity Operators
- Online Fraud and How to Protect Yourself with an SSL Certificate
- Website Best Practices for Tour and Activity Companies
- How to Increase Website Traffic for Tours and Activities
- Why Tour and Activity Operators Should Invest in a Great Website