In this day and age, having a website that’s not up to par just won’t cut it. But what exactly makes the cut?

Tourism Research Australia recently released research on the digital uptake of tour operators. The project examined four key topics; the online presence of tour operators, their website adoption and management strategy, their online distribution approach, and their social media and mobile presence. Among the industry sectors surveyed were Tours, Attractions, and Hire & Transport companies.

TRA recommends that updating your web presence and enhancing your website should be a top priority. This is because “more advanced and more frequently updated websites are important in distributing information and driving online distribution.”

So the following 3 policies are suggested:

1. Develop greater uptake of advanced website features and interlink sites

In terms of content, your website should have a clear description of your products and services, along with a photo gallery. If you want to stand out, consider adding video to the mix – only 25% of tour operators currently use them.

In terms of functionality, ease of booking is a priority. You should be able to take bookings through your own website or a third party. However,

  • Almost 90% of tour operators are still taking bookings manually via email booking requests.
  • Only 54% of respondents allow people to check both availability and price of their products and services.
  • Only 46% of tour operators with websites offer instant confirmation of booking.

It would be wise to automate your booking process to keep up with consumer expectations.

2. Increase website optimisation for viewing on mobile devices

Another important trend to keep up with is the use of mobile devices for looking up tour operators. Respondents estimated that on average, 29% of web users accessed their websites through a mobile device. However, only just over half (52%) of tour operators have websites that are optimised for viewing with mobile devices!

In a survey conducted by Google, 67% of smartphone users said they were more likely to purchase from a business’ mobile-friendly site, while 61% said they’d most likely leave a site that wasn’t optimised for mobile.

Because people increasingly tend to travel with smartphones and tablets rather than computers, having a website that can accommodate them is important for selling tours and activities.

3. Increase organic search engine optimisation (SEO) as well as paid search/online advertising

Of those who reported having a website, it was estimated that 48% of website traffic referrals came from search engines. That’s almost half of your traffic! With this in mind, it is important to invest in organic and paid search to drive traffic to your website.

For your organic search efforts, blogging will take you far. Your blog can demonstrate your expertise whilst proving useful to people surfing the web for something related to your tour or activity.

In terms of paid search, you can target specific users (location, country) with an ad for a search term and only pay when a user clicks on it. This is under the PPC (pay per click) model. There are other models that you can choose from, such as remarketing, which allows you to target past site visitors.

Have an online booking capability!

By now you probably understand the significance of having an online presence, and you wouldn’t be alone. Our survey findings from last year revealed that tour operator websites are the best source of bookings among Australian tour operators. This is probably why the majority of Australian Tours (93%), Attractions (89%), and Hire & Transport (86%) companies have their own website.

Yet there are still some tour operators who go without a website. Their main reasons for this are that they are contacted by other means, or the organisation’s too small, or there’s not enough time.

To these tour operators, we advise that you at the very least have a booking site that lists your products and services. That way, you can direct people to your booking site and instruct them to search availability and book immediately from your site.

After all, you don’t want to miss out on that 57% of all travel reservations being made on the internet. Without an online booking site, you certainly will.

If you’re looking for booking software to make your lives easier, then be sure to take advantage of educating yourself on your options. The information in our guide can prevent you from picking software that doesn’t suit your tour or activity business:

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New Research: 3 Ways Tour Operators Can Keep Their Websites Current

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In this day and age, having a website that’s not up to par just won’t cut it. But what exactly makes the cut?

Tourism Research Australia recently released research on the digital uptake of tour operators. The project examined four key topics; the online presence of tour operators, their website adoption and management strategy, their online distribution approach, and their social media and mobile presence. Among the industry sectors surveyed were Tours, Attractions, and Hire & Transport companies.

TRA recommends that updating your web presence and enhancing your website should be a top priority. This is because “more advanced and more frequently updated websites are important in distributing information and driving online distribution.”

So the following 3 policies are suggested:

1. Develop greater uptake of advanced website features and interlink sites

In terms of content, your website should have a clear description of your products and services, along with a photo gallery. If you want to stand out, consider adding video to the mix – only 25% of tour operators currently use them.

In terms of functionality, ease of booking is a priority. You should be able to take bookings through your own website or a third party. However,

  • Almost 90% of tour operators are still taking bookings manually via email booking requests.
  • Only 54% of respondents allow people to check both availability and price of their products and services.
  • Only 46% of tour operators with websites offer instant confirmation of booking.

It would be wise to automate your booking process to keep up with consumer expectations.

2. Increase website optimisation for viewing on mobile devices

Another important trend to keep up with is the use of mobile devices for looking up tour operators. Respondents estimated that on average, 29% of web users accessed their websites through a mobile device. However, only just over half (52%) of tour operators have websites that are optimised for viewing with mobile devices!

In a survey conducted by Google, 67% of smartphone users said they were more likely to purchase from a business’ mobile-friendly site, while 61% said they’d most likely leave a site that wasn’t optimised for mobile.

Because people increasingly tend to travel with smartphones and tablets rather than computers, having a website that can accommodate them is important for selling tours and activities.

3. Increase organic search engine optimisation (SEO) as well as paid search/online advertising

Of those who reported having a website, it was estimated that 48% of website traffic referrals came from search engines. That’s almost half of your traffic! With this in mind, it is important to invest in organic and paid search to drive traffic to your website.

For your organic search efforts, blogging will take you far. Your blog can demonstrate your expertise whilst proving useful to people surfing the web for something related to your tour or activity.

In terms of paid search, you can target specific users (location, country) with an ad for a search term and only pay when a user clicks on it. This is under the PPC (pay per click) model. There are other models that you can choose from, such as remarketing, which allows you to target past site visitors.

Have an online booking capability!

By now you probably understand the significance of having an online presence, and you wouldn’t be alone. Our survey findings from last year revealed that tour operator websites are the best source of bookings among Australian tour operators. This is probably why the majority of Australian Tours (93%), Attractions (89%), and Hire & Transport (86%) companies have their own website.

Yet there are still some tour operators who go without a website. Their main reasons for this are that they are contacted by other means, or the organisation’s too small, or there’s not enough time.

To these tour operators, we advise that you at the very least have a booking site that lists your products and services. That way, you can direct people to your booking site and instruct them to search availability and book immediately from your site.

After all, you don’t want to miss out on that 57% of all travel reservations being made on the internet. Without an online booking site, you certainly will.

If you’re looking for booking software to make your lives easier, then be sure to take advantage of educating yourself on your options. The information in our guide can prevent you from picking software that doesn’t suit your tour or activity business: