Today, every business needs a website to leverage its online presence.
It’s interesting to think about how times have changed. Just a few years back, most tourists made reservations for activities and tours offline. 2020 marked a change in the right direction, with online bookings now being the norm.
Amid pandemic closures, domestic demand for attractions, tours, and activities rose. This resulted in a rapid shift to online bookings in the tours & activities niche, with most tour operators now selling over 50% of their tickets from their websites.
Europe experienced a 20% increase in bookings and a 37% rise in domestic tourism in 2020. According to TravelPulse, 70% of travelers have massive vacation plans for 2021, so the upward trend is bound to continue. The main travel question has shifted from “How do I get there?” to “What will I do when I get there?”
But just having a website is not enough. Tour operators need fresh SEO-optimized content that will draw the numbers in, creating leads and sales.
In this article, we’re going to tackle practical ways your tour or activities business can effectively use when blogging to generate leads and sales. We’ll discuss mastery of SEO, writing helpful posts, and using videos, among other tips.
How to blog effectively in the tours & activities niche
The coming months could become pivotal for travel since many vacationers have a lot of holiday time. The U.S. Travel Association data shows that close to 30% of travelers have 21 to 30 days of their 2020 vacation days saved up for travel.
Even better, 54% of these prospective travelers have an extra $2000 saved up since they did not travel in 2020. Many of them want to spend this cash in 2021. Below are ways you can leverage your blog for sales and capture more of these unused funds.
Have a well-designed website
Visual media is at the heart of digital marketing. Studies show that 65% of people are visual learners. This aspect of sales is of critical importance to the tourism and travel industry, where for decades, images have attracted visitors to exciting and exotic places.
Long before the internet, postcards, brochures, and flyers were key in decision-making. Sight has always influenced purchases. You want to hold, touch, or take an item for a spin before committing to a sale. Images offer this experience, helping your visitors explore, compare, and feel a location before a visit.
Your images will communicate more effectively than text can. They will bring your list of tours and activities to life, boosting your website’s conversion rates. Use stunning videos and photos on your blog or storefront for more leads.
Avoid stock photos that your competitors might use. To connect to your customers, take professional pictures that capture positive emotions. Use videos and images that communicate joy, happiness, freedom, wellness, or pride.
Let the visual aspects of your website or blog convey a fair idea of what the customer will experience when choosing your offering.
Write helpful posts
Help. Don’t sell.
Create helpful content by identifying your prospect’s needs. This is the key to success, and it will convert your prospects to loyal lifelong customers. Zero in on your customer’s needs through research, web analytics, and questionnaires.
Create content that solves their problems while incorporating the age-old art of storytelling. Your words, together with the pictures and videos, should tell an enjoyable story that stimulates the imagination and drives conversions.
As an illustration, The Journal by Intrepid Travel weaves interesting travel stories that capture the would-be traveler’s attention. They also answer the readers’ curiosities. For example, someone interested in food tours in Morocco and wondering what kind of foods they’ll be sampling can read the post listing ten of the tastiest street foods to enjoy.
Your readers will appreciate any helpful information you provide, as well as any detailed depictions of what they’re about to experience if they book through your website.
Have an in-text call to action
A clear in-text call to action can be all that stands between you and more sales or higher conversion. The in-text CTA is part of the art of persuasive writing. It entices your potential customers to act.
For example, here at Regiondo, we use CTAs to grow our email list and generate demos for our online booking software. If you’re reading this article, we can reasonably assume that you run a tour or experience business (our target market) and you are interested in online marketing – hence we include a CTA like the one below:
Once you download one of our eBooks and agree to be contacted, you will receive targeted emails that will eventually offer you a free online seminar and potentially a live demo with a sales rep, provided you show interest in our product.
Do you see how CTAs work now?
An effective CTA is an invitation. It should be tailored to your prospect’s current interests and it should move people along your sales funnel.
Master SEO & Local SEO
Do you know that 54.9% of all Travel and Tourism online traffic comes from the ‘Search’ feature? Data by Alexa shows that 41% of your website’s traffic will come from referral and direct sources. Overall, 80% of your tours and attractions traffic depends on your search engine optimization efforts.
Good SEO is vital to all travel-related businesses, tours, and activities. Since Google search plays such a massive role in your website’s traffic, your business should focus on earning its top spot on the first search page.
SEO is rapidly changing, and these days it isn’t focused on keywords alone because the algorithms are getting increasingly smarter. Google rewards original and highly relevant content that respond to the reader’s queries.
Learn what people are looking for through brainstorming. Find the most popular buy and research terms travelers use when looking for tours and activities. Incorporate these terms in your content creation strategy.
Perform SEO audits to highlight any crawl errors that affect your page ranking. Fixing slow web speeds will enhance user experience. Many of your visitors will access your website from their phones, and SEO algorithms penalize pages that aren’t mobile-friendly, so make sure to take action if that’s the case.
Since travelers are now focusing on domestic travel, work on your local SEO and send them the right consistent local signals. Add location, business listings, and social proof to your site and update your “Google My Business” account.
Focus on your niche
Your blog should drill down to a specialty and avoid the jack-of-all-trades approach. This strategy will strengthen your brand and appeal to your ideal prospects. Ask yourself what your customer’s age, location, economic status, and interests are, and you’ll know who to address to generate more leads.
For example, family travel will be a busy niche, as large families take vacations to reunite after extended separation. 31% of travelers say that their motivation for travel is spending quality time with their family.
Travelers have become increasingly aware of their environment, fitness, and health choices. Many of them are choosing sports activities when traveling. Biking and mountain bike packing are great niches on the rise. RVing and campervanning niches are on-demand as well.
A great example of a niche tour operator website that appeals to customers’ interests is Context Travel. It focuses on academia and recruits passionate academics as guides for their walking or historical trips.
Narrowing down on a topic lessens competition while tending to the customer’s specific passions. Ensure your website sticks to a particular niche while not being too narrow, and you’ll be pleased with the type of customers you attract.
Create engaging content for email marketing
There was a time when businesses would get away with “email blasts.” Sending mass emails to subscribers is no longer a viable email marketing strategy. You need to personalize your emails to woo your prospects.
Your newsletter should add value and have powerful, unique subject lines. A good email subject line has a promise, is descriptive and short. And great email content will deliver on the promise to the reader’s satisfaction.
Use attractive and creative email design to capture your readers. Ensure the email structure is mobile-friendly because 81% of all emails are read via mobile devices. Next, segment your customer lists and use a personalized approach when engaging your prospects.
Pro tip: Do you know that adding your prospect’s name to your subject lines can increase your email’s open rates?
Leverage the power of video
Marketing and video get along well, especially in the tours and attractions business. Video online is such a staple of this digital era that people between the ages of 18 to 49 watch more YouTube content than cable TV.
Video is so influential in marketing that 55% of buyers use it as a decision-making tool when making online purchase decisions. The demand for video content is so high that 54% of online buyers want more content of this nature on websites.
The attention span of the average online buyer has dropped significantly. This makes video a valuable tool in marketing tours and activities. You can incorporate video into your content creation strategy by creating vlogs, video ads, testimonials, or live streams.
Have a YouTube channel and link it to your blog posts. To create the best tours and attractions video content, capture key micro-moments that target your audience’s imagination.
Go a step further in your niche and create a virtual reality tour. Virtual reality will give you an edge over your competitors. It will also help your customers have a glimpse of their dream vacation and encourage quicker decision-making.
Your end goal is more leads and sales, and investing in your blog will get you there. Launch your blog in the tours & activities niche to help and support your prospect’s vacation needs. Don’t bombard your potential customers with aggressive marketing. Instead, create content that seduces them to take action.
Embark on a content creation and posting routine that provides fresh and evergreen content to increase engagement. Offer tons of up-to-date, valuable insights for free.
In summary, for effective blogging for tours and activities, implement the following strategies:
- Set up a well-designed website
- Create informative and helpful posts
- Include in-text CTAs
- Master SEO and local SEO
- Niche down
- Leverage email marketing using engaging content
- Use videos whenever you have the opportunity