Top 10 Tourism Website Marketing Fails and How to Fix
Published on October 29, 2021
Building and managing a tourism website is a non-negotiable, foundational marketing tactic for all tourism businesses and should be your biggest and most important marketing investment.
After working with a range of different tourism brands on website marketing audits and strategy development, I've come across a few consistent issues with website design and development that are not geared toward increasing engagement or conversions - 10 of which I thought I'd share with you!
Website Fail #1: No online booking functionality
One of the major global shifts as it relates to a traveler's buying predispositions is the confidence in booking and purchasing tourism industry products and services online.
So, naturally, one of the biggest website fails is making it hard for your website visitors to book your tourism experience.
The key role for your website is to convert website users into booked guests, so it's important that you place you are firstly online bookable, and that your 'Book Now' button is available on every page in your website.
How to Fix
- Get your experience online bookable and link your booking software to your website
- Place your Book Now Button in your main navigation or header, alongside your key call to action (phone number) - see Birdsville website below as an example.
Website Fail #2: Search Engine Visibility and Referrals are low
According to Think with Google, Search is the No. 1 channel high-value travellers turn to, which means this is where you need to be discovered by your Ideal Customers when they are dreaming and planning their holidays.
This coupled with the fact that approximately 71% of total click-throughs occur on page 1 of Google's search engine result page means that tourism businesses really need to consider ways to improve their webpage visibility in Search Engine Result Pages.
How to Fix
- Ensure your website Content Management System allows you to optimise your webpage URL, Page Title, Meta Description (if you have a WordPress Website this can easily be done via the Yoast Plugin)
- Optimise each webpage with appropriate search queries to attract your Ideal Customers
Website Fail #3: Footer Navigation not optimised or non-existent
Website footers are an important area to optimise, as your website users are increasingly referring to this part of your website for important information, including:
- Contact Details or forms
- Emarketing Signup Forms
- Social Media Accounts
How to Fix
- If you are in the process of redeveloping your website, then it would be a strategic move to include a footer area to give your users another way to navigate your website, which leads to a more positive experience, and hopefully higher conversions.
- See Busselton Jetty footer navigation area below as an example:
Website Fail #4: Poor Mobile Performance
Poor mobile performance is really common across a large percentage of websites spanning all industries, but its impact can be quite devastating.
According to Google's Research, 88% of travellers with smartphones would switch to another site of app if yours doesn't satisfy their needs - which basically means that if your website isn't mobile friendly, you could be losing potential conversions.
How to Fix
- Check the responsiveness of your website by viewing your website on your smartphone and tablet devices to see if your site renders to suit the size of the screen. If it doesn't then perhaps speak to your website developer about your options.
Website Fail #5: Not enough focus on experience 'Benefits'
One of the biggest website marketing opportunities for tourism businesses to focus website content on the benefits your experience offers your Ideal Customers.
Travellers are looking for ways to live out their travel motivations, and are looking for places to visit and experiences that will help them achieve these motivations.
How to Fix
- Update experience sales pages with what the benefits are for your Ideal Customers (not just the features). Eg. Instead of saying you have a 'King Size Bed', say "you'll get the best night's sleep'.
Website Fail #6: No Email Marketing Opt-In Functionality
Email Marketing is one of the highest converting marketing tactics that any business, of any industry can invest in.
This is because those who subscribe to a database are genuinely interested in the brand and its offering, which means the brand is further along the purchasing funnel or the consideration set for that particular customer.
A key website marketing conversion should be building your customer database by sharing your database opt-in form on your website (which could be in your footer, as a popup, or as a full width module).
How to Fix
- If you haven't started your Email Marketing strategy, then we encourage you to read our Getting Started with Email Marketing blog article we've written to inspire you to get started!
Website Fail #7: Blog not integrated into website, or non-existent
Writing articles that are published in the blog section of your website is an important content marketing tactic that helps you to solve your Ideal Customer's travel planning questions, and position yourself as an authority.
Blog articles are also key contributor to your search visibility success, and your articles are the fodder that support the implementation of your Social Media and Email Marketing strategies.
How to Fix
To start your blogging journey, you need to the following:
- Host the blog on your site (yourdomain.com/blog)
- Write high-quality content that is inspiring, helpful and engaging for your Ideal Customers
- Optimise your articles for a single search query to improve your webpage's (and whole domain's) authority in Search Engine Result Pages for the questions your ideal customers are typing, or speaking, into Google Search.
- Share your blog articles on social media, to increase the reach of your articles
Back Country Bliss Adventures have an excellent blog section on their website >
Website Fail #8: Little or no Testimonials and Reviews displayed
Your Ideal Customers trust their friends and family, and customer reviews posted online the most when it comes to choosing experiences.
Therefore, one of the critical and high-converting pieces of content you can have on your tourism website are testimonials from your happy customers.
How to Fix
You can publish reviews or testimonials on your website manually, or you can embed Tripadvisor reviews direct onto your website (in a sidebar, or footer area) as a way to prove your transparency, and also show your potential customers that you value your customer's opinions.
Website Fail #9: Slow Page Load Speed
Page speed is a measurement of how fast the content on your page loads, and if the content takes too long to render on your website user's device, then there is every likelihood they will abandon the session.
Google has also indicated that page load speed is one of the signals used by its algorithm to rank pages in it's Search Result Pages. Where a slow page load speed will negatively impact that page's ability to rank well in relevant search results.
So in a nutshell, slow page speeds reduce our visibility/brand awareness of our webpages in Google's search engine result pages, AND also could cost your business important booking conversions - as identified by Think with Google.
How to Fix
- Visit testmysite.thinkwithgoogle.com - test the URLs for your main pages on your website. Once you get the test results, you can download your report and speak to your website developer about your results
- Other things you may like to confirm with your website developer could be:
- Compress your Images - The more graphics and functionality a site has, the longer it will take for the pages to download and be viewable so you need to ensure that images are the right size and format to load quickly.
- Auto-Play Content - Any auto play content may cause slow page load times, as well as deter your visitors from progressing through your site
- Accelerated mobile pages (AMP) - AMP's are essentially stripped down HTML copies of existing webpage content that offer faster load times than standard HTML5 documents.
- Reduce Redirects - Redirects are really useful when you are changing over your website, however, every time a user is redirected to another page automatically this takes additional time.
Website Fail #10: Lack of hero images and video content
Images and videos are incredibly influential in someone's decision making process when planning their holiday.
So it's essential your tourism website has quality images that are not only inspiring, but are an accurate reflection of the experience you offer.
So when designing your website, it is imperative that the infrastructure features large, full width hero imagery, and also has the capabilities to embed and play videos without too much delay.
Check out Off Piste Tours website for a great example of fantastic use of imagery and video content.
How to Fix
- Consider investing in quality photo and video shoot for your experience. Lachie has written a comprehensive article on How to Brief A Tourism Photographer, which covers all you need to know about this process.
- Speak to your website developer about your webpage templates and how they can support full width images, or larger scale images, and video content.
This article was originally published in 2015, and has been recently updated in October 2021.