As marketers, we’re always looking for ways to prove our efforts are worthwhile, both in terms of time and money. One of the best ways to measure that is by checking out your website’s conversion rate.
The term ‘conversion’ refers to desired actions visitors make on your website. A few common conversions include signing up for a newsletter, downloading a document, or submitting a request for a quote, but the most common (and usually most sought after) conversion is a purchase.
As such, the term ‘conversion rate’ refers to the rate at which visitors make actions you want them to make. So if you have 100 visitors to your site and 10 of them purchase something, you have a 10% conversion rate for purchases (and are thus doing really, really well!). Generally speaking, a conversion rate of about 2 to 3% is what businesses strive for.
What to do when you want to improve your conversion rate? Well, there are many reasons why visitors do and don’t convert, and it can vary from industry to industry, but here are three simple website changes you can make right now to improve your tours and activities website’s sales conversion rate.
1. Improve your product photos
When it comes to travel, images are your image. Purchasing travel isn’t the same as purchasing a new pair of jeans – you can’t try before you buy. As such, the images on your website (and social media) need to do the same job as a changing room with flattering mirrors: make it impossible to walk away empty-handed.
Every product on your website should have between eight and ten high-resolution, large size, professional-looking photos. These photos should illustrate every highlight of your product: a food tasting, a look-out, the equipment (ie. a canoe, bike, or kayak), and people enjoying the experience.
If you have a good camera and can take professional-looking photos, great. If you don’t, hire a professional. Don’t have a lot of money? Talk to a local arts college and see if there are any students looking to add to their portfolio.
We don’t recommend using stock photos because they won’t authentically represent your experience, meaning you’re setting the wrong expectations for consumers.
Once you have your photos, ensure your website is optimised for high quality photos. Ensure the photo size is large, that you have a caption for each photo, and that they’re clearly displayed on your product page.
2. Improve your product description
Much like the images on your website, the product description is the next best opportunity you have to entice people to want to book with you. It’s simply not good enough to write something like:
Join our food tour and try five favourite local dishes. A fun day out for everyone!
Your product description is one of the most important sales and marketing assets you have, so don’t brush it off. “If you don’t provide your visitors with detailed product features, then you certainly will lose your potential customers.” (Marketing Insider Group, 2017). Take time and craft a really great, clear description, because it’s worth it. You don’t have to be great with words to write a strong product description, either, you just need to include:
- Five unique selling points / benefits. Why is your tour / activity / B&B unique? Do you have exclusive access to a certain location? Are you the only property with a certain view? Is your max. group size smaller than the other tours in town? Write down five unique selling points for this product and ensure you incorporate them into the description.
- Five highlights. Similar to unique selling points, but think more about what the customer wants (instead of what you have). Does the tour include a spectacular view? Does your B&B have a dog? Does your activity feature kayaking down two different classes of rapids?
- A story. Why did you create this product? What can customers expect? Why are they going to love it?
- SEO-friendly keywords. Remember that in addition to capturing the attention of people already on your website, your product description can also help draw people in via search engines. Of course, don’t stuff your product description to the brim with keywords, but ensure that you’ve got at least five good ones in there.
- Inclusions and exclusions. Be as detailed as you can so that you manage the expectations of the customers.
A great way to structure your product description is to start with a short intro paragraph (about two to three lines), then list five highlights in bullet point form so they’re easy to read, then continue with a longer, more detailed description that creates atmosphere, establishes the tone, and incorporates your unique selling points.
Pro tip: Don’t give away the farm! You want to walk the fine line between giving customers enough information to convince them they want to book, without giving away your secrets.
Want some more tips? Check out our recent post on how to write a kick-ass tour description.
3. Give people a reason to trust you
In a webinar with Tim Warren, a long-time consultant for the tour and activity sector, his top tip for operators to improve website bookings rates is to convince website visitors that you have experience, you deliver high quality tours and they'll be in safe hands.
To do this, he recommends tour operators to add a "Defining/Credibility Statement" to their websites, ideally above the fold.
This could be a simple statement that says "Serving over 1000 happy guests in 10 years", or "#1 adventure operator in Interlaken since 1990".
To learn more about crafting your "Defining/Credibility Statement", join Tim's class at the Tour and Activity Business School.
4. Get smart about landing pages
Landing pages are one of the most overlooked marketing tactics, which is a shame, because they’re one of the most worthwhile. Landing pages are, literally, the page people land on when they first come to your site.
One of your best opportunities to improve your conversion rate is to ensure that people are landing on your site on the right pages. To do that, you may need to create a few pages.
When you’re putting a link to your site in a social media post, ad, newsletter, or anywhere else, you want to ensure that the link you’re sending people to matches your messaging. The closer you match your link to your messaging, the better you’re managing the customer’s expectations as to what they’re clicking through to. The more you meet your customer’s expectations, the higher chance you stand of converting.
The more steps you create for a customer on the path to purchase, the more chances you have to lose them along the way. For example, if you’re promoting your mountain biking tour in Peru, you want to link to that product’s page. If you just link to your homepage, you’re forcing the visitor to navigate to the product page themselves, which could result in losing them as a potential customer.
If you’re posting about a special deal, you should have a page on your site just for the deal. If you have 10% off all of your tours in a particular country or city, you should link to that country or city’s product page. If you don’t have product pages for different categories of your products, that’s a change you can make to your site right now.
These website changes aren’t difficult to do. Yes, they’ll take time, but it’s worth it in the long run. If you work hard to ensure that you have high quality, professional-looking photos, thorough and compelling product descriptions, and are making smart use of landing pages, you’re four worthwhile steps closer to having a website that converts better.
Want more ideas to help improve your website? Download our Booking Conversion Guide. It comes with a printable checklist too!