Tourism Business Marketing

7 Critical Components of a Profitable Travel Business Website

On a scale from "open-mouthed-chewers" to "ants-got-into-my-organic-local-orange-blossom-honey" (but HOW did they get onto my kitchen counter without going up the wall?? HOW??)...  how annoying are these lists of "THE TEN CRITICAL THINGS YOU MUST HAVE ON YOUR WEBSITE/ IN YOUR EMAILS/ UP YOUR ASS IN ORDER TO SUCCEED"? 

And yet, here we are, friends. I'm comin' at ya with another. 

Why?

Because I see websites every. single. day. that are losing SO MUCH MONEY because they're neglecting a few basic (and easy to fix) components.

It's like skipping leg day, except it's your sales funnel that's unbalanced, instead of your body (insert awkward gym selfie here).

So, that said... it's not hard to strengthen your website and get more sales online, you just need to make sure your website has these seven keys to online sales *garbled chewing sounds*

1. One clear message

Donald Miller, the creator of StoryBrand, calls this the "grunt test." If a caveman looked at your site for 5 seconds, would he be able to grunt out what you offer & how to buy it? 

The 7 critical things you must have on your hospitality website

This sounds ridiculous, but—we know that the average time on a website is about 8 seconds before people decide it's not for them and move on. If all you have is 8 seconds to convince someone that you're great, your message NEEDS to be simple & clear. Simplicity is the BEST way to quickly help people understand what you offer—and more importantly, remember your offer later when they are ready to buy.

Websites live & die by "Keep it simple, stupid." 

2. Credibility / Authority

What qualifies you? Do you have certifications or many years of experience? Are you approved and recommended by any local tourism boards?

Keep this short. Instead of a wordy paragraph no one will read, list your street cred in a way people can quickly scan and be impressed. Think logos, graphics, bullet points, badges, graffitied wall tags, whatever.

3. Social Proof (testimonials, social media) 

Baaaaah-- 

We humans are a bit sheep-like. We feel comfortable and safe to go somewhere others have already tested and found fabulous. 

And you WANT your readers to feel comfortable and safe enough to book you, even if your deal is adventure travel or other adrenaline experiences. Why? Because they've never met you, or possibly even heard of you before landing on your site, so they're already going out on a limb to hand over their credit card information to you, a total stranger.

That's enough risk for one day.

4. Call to Action

As a former web designer, it's amazing to me how often this is left off. The point of your website is to get sales, am I right? So ask for the sale!

Asking people to buy is not pushy or cheap. People come to your website because they're considering booking you. They actually want to be sold. They're prowling the web because they want to find an amazing place to visit.

Give the people what they want!

5. Lead Capture

Not everybody is going to dive in face-first to your experience. That's ok—you don't have to lose them forever. Give people who aren't quite ready to buy a reason to hear from you again. Maybe you have a downloadable guide to your local area, or a rate just for "friends & family" who subscribe to your newsletter. It doesn't matter what exactly it is, as long as your audience will find it useful and valuable enough to hand over their email address for it. 

Want some inspiration? Here's mine ;)

(See what I did there?)

6. Urgency 

This one can be a little tricky, but done right, it will CHANGE YOUR LIFE. Most folks sitting at home in their underwear, browsing the web, are not really prepared to book RIGHT NOW. They don't have their credit card on hand, they're thinking about grocery shopping, papers they need to grade, etc. So if you don't give them a reason to book today? They won't.

Give them a reason.

(The caveat: don't create false urgency that smells of a scam. More on that later) 

7. Transformation and/or the psychological layer of copy

I've said this before, and I'll keep saying it until you're rich, ok? 

Pretty pictures and a list of features are not enough to set you apart from the crowd. 

pinterest destination stories 2019.png

Some people are good at visualizing themselves working with you. They just "get it" right off the bat, and they can read between the lines to understand exactly what you have to offer.

But most people won't be able to do that quickly, and you need to walk them through it. That's ok! This is exactly what destination stories are for. To simplify this concept as much as possible,  identify your ideal client. Think about the way she feels before booking with you. What stresses her? What is she doing on a daily basis? How does she feel about herself? 

Now imagine she books your signature offer, shows up, and LOVES IT. 

What's she feeling now? What's her average day like? How does it change the way she feels about herself? How do these emotions and changes bleed into her daily grind back home? 

That's a destination story.

If that's a little vague and woo-woo for you, I break ALL OF THIS down into bite-sized pieces and help you implement it in YOUR business through my signature 1:1 program, The Odyssey.