This article has been adapted from the original Spanish published by María Eugenia Coppola.
First things first... yes, to err is human. If there's someone in the world who never makes mistakes, it's probably unlikely that they live a very rich life. Saying that, there's nothing wrong with learning from the mistakes of others to avoid doing the same.
For this reason, we wanted to share some of the common mistakes that we've noticed are frequently made by tourism companies. Here goes...
Mistake 1: Trying to please everyone
What would you choose as the best song ever? If you search for it on YouTube, it probably has at least a few thousand downvotes. That's because it's impossible to please everyone!
As with people and songs, brands can't appeal to everyone if they want to remain authentic and interesting. So what to do?
The better you define your target audience, the easier it is for you to focus on offering quality experiences that fit your customers' needs and expectations. One handy exercise we recommend is to create buyer personas. This is a profile of your typical customers which answers questions like...
- How old are they?
- Who do they live with?
- Do they have children?
- What kind of routine do they have?
- What do they do to relax?
- What challenges do they face?
By delving into the life of your typical customer, it will be easier for you to understand what attracts them to the experiences you offer.
Mistake 2: Not having a website with great user experience
Having an online presence is crucial if you want people to find your business when planning a trip to your destination. However, this isn't enough if you want to really pique their interest.
It's important to consider what your target audience is looking for. What will motivate them to book your tour or activity? When you've thought about that, contemplate how you can present your offerings in the most attractive, fast, and enjoyable way possible. Here are some tips...
Make your website intuitive
Say someone clicks on your website to find out more about your vineyard tours. Upon arriving there, is it easy for them to find the information they need, or do they need to click all over your website looking for it?
Keep in mind that your website visitors only have so much attention. If everything on your site is shouting out for attention, visitors may end up feeling dazed and confused. Instead, prioritise the important stuff and take into account what truly matters to people.
To find out if you're succeeding at this, why not do an informal study? Ask a friend to go to your website and book one of your tours. How long does it take them? How would they describe the experience?
To take this further, here's our guide to creating brilliant user experience on your website.
Transform your website into a runway show of the experiences you offer
Did you know that humans process images 60,000 times faster than text? This is worth keeping in mind when designing your website. Show attractive photos that capture people's attention when they arrive on your homepage, or include a striking video or two of your activities.
If you're not sure where to begin, a great starting point is our Ultimate Mobile Photography Guide for Tour and Activity Providers.
Keep your writing easy-to-read
Try to avoid big blocks of text that are tiring to look at, let alone read. Also remember to choose readable and user-friendly fonts, colours, and backgrounds. If you're not sure what people think of your site, ask around for some honest feedback. Your website visitors will thank you!
Mistake 3: Assuming consumers are searching for services instead of experiences
There's a term in the marketing world called "marketing myopia". Coined by Theodore Levitt in 1960, it refers to a mistake that many of us are guilty of. That is, focusing on selling our products instead of fulfilling customer needs.
This can lead to all sorts of negative consequences, not least of all your products losing their power to win people's hearts!
In the case of your tourism business, it's important to keep in mind that your potential customers are people searching for memorable experiences, not services. The focus isn't on us (as brands), but on them. In this story, they are the protagonists.
So, instead of just focusing on the technicalities of your tour or activity (such as when it starts, where the meeting point is), show people how it will make them feel. Full of adrenaline? Relaxed? Like they're having the time of their life? Pay attention to your surroundings and how your experiences make people feel. Think of what customers thank you for after a tour.
Remember: Don't lose sight of the reason why people choose your company instead of the many other options out there.
One great way to do this is putting your storytelling skills to good use. Tell a story about your brand which people can be a part of.
Mistake 4: Only using social media to try and sell
As a brand, one of your main goals is to connect with your target audience. To achieve this, social media is one of your greatest allies! Not only does it allow you provide quick replies to queries, it lets you build a better understanding of what interests your customers and develop your emotional connection with them.
One social network that is particularly advantageous for tourism companies is Instagram. For experienced Instagrammers and newbies alike, our Instagram Guide for Tourism Companies is worth a read.
Keep in mind that while creating a social media strategy is a great way to position your brand, the results aren't instantaneous. You need to give it time and ongoing attention.
Mistake 5: Not offering the possibility to book and pay online
Advances in technology have allowed us to access information about travel virtually anytime, anywhere.
Say I wanted to plan a trip to your destination. I could be planning my holiday on a Saturday night, all the way over here in Switzerland while your office is closed. Once I become interested in your tour or activity, can I instantly book it? Or will I end up browsing for other options and leaving your website?
This is one of the main benefits of integrating an online booking system like TrekkSoft with your website. And good news for you: our team is just the other side of a phone call.
We'd love to talk you through how to get your activities online and bookable to speed up those conversions, whether you're in the office or not.
Can TrekkSoft give you what your business needs?
Written by Lucy Fuggle
Lucy is Head of Content Marketing at TrekkSoft. She tries to read a book a week, travel solo every month, and share ideas on lucyfuggle.com. You can usually find her in Switzerland's Berner Oberland.