10 tips to build a great website for tour and activity businesses

The basics to building a great tour operator and activity provider website

Published by Nicole Kow on Jan 16, 2017

Building a great website for your business is important because, more often than not, it is your first point-of-contact for many of your customers. As they go through the travel customer journey of dreaming, planning, booking and experiencing, you want to be discovered at the dreaming stage, considered in the planning stage, and ready to accept bookings and payments at the booking stage.
In the age of the internet, the forever-connected modern traveller is likely to first discover you online. This is where your website plays a crucial role in guiding the traveller throughout their customer journey. For a seamless and satisfactory experience, you need to consider two things when building your website: usability and user experience.
Web design is important
According to Shari Thurow, the usability of your website considers the following:
  • Effectiveness: Can users achieve their objectives on your website?
  • Efficiency: How quickly can users achieve their objectives on your website?
  • Learnability: How easy is it for users to accomplish simple tasks the first time they encounter your website?
  • Memorability: How quickly and easily can repeat users remember how to use your website in order to accomplish their goals?
  • Error prevention/handling: How does the website help users recover from errors? Does the website implement defensive design?
  • User satisfaction: Do users like using your website and recommend it to others? 
User experience considers the steps taken for users to achieve their objectives on your website. For example, if a customer wants to find the itinerary for your multi-day tour, how can your website perfectly satisfy this goal as quickly and efficiently as possible? The last thing you want is a user giving upon on making a booking with you because it’s tedious to do so. 
This is where user experience comes in. How can your website facilitate users to achieve their goals as quickly and efficiently as possible?
User experience is, therefore, an important part of the customer journey and can be the crucial factor that determines how many bookings you get on your website.

10 quick improvements you can do today
You don’t need to hire a web designer to rehaul your website and improve user experience on your site. In fact, you can make a few small changes to achieve this yourself. Here are 10 quick ways to do so.
1. Use white space
Having a lot of clear white space quickly elevates the experience of your website because it looks less cluttered and more professional. It also clearly directs users' attention to the main attraction of your website: your tours and activities.
According to Leanne Byrom, here are 5 ways white space can improve your website user experience:
  • Prominence - Adding white space around a “Book now” button or around your tour description will make it stand out more.
  • Comprehension - Adding white space between paragraphs and in the margins increases the comprehension of your content by 20%. It also makes it easier for users to focus and understand your content.
  • Satisfaction - White space improves user satisfaction on your website, which positive effects spill over to your overall customer satisfaction.
  • Clarity - Using white space to organise your content into blocks improves the legibility and readability of your content.
  • Trust - A clean design, plenty of clear white space, signals professionalism and builds trust with your potential customers from the get-go.

This a good example by Sandemans. The page looks clean, important details stand out and their Call-To-Action buttons stand out.  


2. Write clear headers
Let your users know what the website, your web pages and your blog posts are about with clear headers and titles. 
When crafting your headers, ask yourself these questions:
  • What are my potential customers searching for?
  • What are some keywords relevant to this blog post?
  • How would my customers search for this on Google?
3. Write even clearer tour and activity descriptions
If a user finds their way to your description pages, this is where you get to win them over with a killer tour or activity description.
Your focus is to get the most important and enticing content in the “top-of-fold” section, that precious space at the beginning of each webpage or blog post, before users start scrolling down.
Here are a few tips to improve your content:
  • Use bullet points for key information like what to bring, where to meet, time of the tour. (Spice it up by using icons instead of circles.)
  • Use paragraphs to talk about the tours or experiences in more detail.
  • Keep it simple.
  • Make sure all the important information is covered.
  • Have a clear Call-To-Action at the end.
Writing clear tour descriptions are important.
4. Use videos and images
Be smart about the visuals you choose to use to show off your tours and activities. Use videos and pictures that compliment your content to further emphasise the fun and authentic experience your customers can get when they book an experience with you.
If you’re not a professional photographer, you can always ask your customers to contribute to your website, like Tom from Bastimentos Alive did.
"The photos and videos you see on my website were all taken by my customers. If I notice someone taking pictures during the tour, I usually ask them if they're going to do anything with it after the tour. When you spend a whole day hiking with someone, you learn a lot about them and most of the time, people are friendly enough to share their videos and pictures with me.”
Bastimentos Alive source images from their customers, and credit them for it.
Read our full interview with Tom here
5. Integrate reviews onto your website
Social proof is so important these days. It signals credibility and is evidence that previous customers have had a good time on your tours.
Use TripAdvisor’s free widgets to integrate reviews onto your website, in real-time.
6. Make your website mobile-friendly
The 21st-century forever-connected modern traveller is most likely to start researching for an upcoming holiday on their mobile devices. According to Google, 60% of “I want to get away" searches happen on mobile devices while 31% of leisure travellers report booking a trip on their mobile devices. That’s a lot of bookings.
As a tour and activity business, you want to make sure that your website it optimised for mobile devices to minimise the effort needed to search, inquire, book and pay.
Use Google's mobile-friendly test to check out how your website ranks or test out your site with Mobiletest.me to find out what your site looks like on different screen sizes.
7. Speed things up
When a user reaches your website, youve only got 15 seconds to capture their attention before they close the tab and move on. 
Apart from writing engaging content, you also want to make sure that your page loads quickly. Analyse your page with Google PageSpeed Insights to find out how long it takes for your web pages to load and get recommendations on how to improve performance.
User experience and usability are key.
8. Have a clear booking button
Once a potential customer has read your tour and activity description, make it extremely obvious what the next step should be - to book now.
Using a clear Call-To-Action will help you guide your customers along. Here are some tips to make your CTA button stand out:
  • Use a contrasting colour for your “Book now” button.
  • Use text that is short and simple.
  • Place it strategically on your web page. 
9. Invest in a seamless booking system
Why? To facilitate a seamless user experience. You should allow customers to book directly with you, any time of day, completing as little steps as possible. With a booking system that shows your availabilities in real-time, your customers can select the tour they want, at their preferred time of day.
Ideally, you would also want to have a booking system that sends automated confirmation emails to your customers as it signals professionalism and efficiency.
Let customer book online, on mobile.
10. Accept online payments
Create a seamless customer experience by letting your customers pay the moment they make a booking with you. Having them pay beforehand will give them one less thing to worry about when they’re on vacation. It reduces the risk of no-shows too.

Measuring your success
Measuring your success is important because it tells if you if these little tweaks are working, or not. These are some metrics you can easily track with Google Analytics.
1. Number of visitors 

How many visitors are you getting each month? Where are they coming from? Are there any sudden spikes or dips? Do those correlate with the changes you’ve made on your website?
You should also Identify steady sources of traffic and figure out how to consistently drive traffic to your site. 

2. Bounce rate

According to Google, the bounce rate is the “percentage of visits that go to only one page before exiting a site”. This is an important measurement because it tells you if your website visitors are engaging with your content, signalling if the website improvements are effective.  

analytics 1 .jpg
3. Click-through-rates
How many people click on your “book now” buttons? This percentage tells if your tour and activity descriptions and CTAs are working together to encourage customers to make a booking with you.

In conclusion
To stay top-of-mind with your customers and to guide them through the travel customer journey, your website plays a crucial role. It should entice, thrill, and tease your potential customers, showing them what their next vacation could be like, only if they booked a tour or activity with you.
Your website is, therefore, your most important sales agent and you need to take care of it and invest in it to gain profitable returns.
Got any other tips for a profitable website? Let us know in the comments below!
Want more tips to improve our website? Download our free checklist. 
Improve your tourism website
Nicole Kow

Published by Nicole Kow

Having graduated from the UK, Nicole travelled around Europe before joining TrekkSoft's marketing team. She is now based in KL and regularly blogs about her travels at Next Train Out.

Topics: Marketing tips

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