3 Ways for Tourism Brands To Not Loose Mobile Customers

By Rebecca White
Published on June 8, 2017

I was lucky enough to spend three weeks road tripping around New Zealand with my family recently.

While I had pre-booked all of our accommodation as we travelling during peak time, all our activities, tours and attractions were researched and booked via our mobile phones while on the road.

While every town and region was different, the businesses who could provide us with the speed and convenience of contacting and finding them on our smartphones got our business over those who didn’t.

So, after three weeks of itinerary planning, booking and navigating around NZ on my smartphone, here are 3 tips on how you can turn more potential customers on mobile into actual bookings or visitors instead of sending them to your competitors.

1. Leverage TripAdvisor

The TripAdvisor mobile app was my first resource to shortlist activities and dining options when we arrived to a new town.

However, I found in many locations, many of the businesses (activity/restaurant/tours/cafe) had excellent ratings, ranking between 4 – 5 stars.

This made it hard to decide on which business to go with, such as the very cute Arrowtown.

I didn’t want to waste too much holiday time decision-making and missing the amazing NZ scenery as we drove!

Therefore to shortlist a business, I would start with the businesses ranking top for their category, and then worked my way down the list, until we decided on one that suited our needs.

What this meant was businesses who ranked lower, missed out on our business, even if they offered as good an experience as some of the higher ranked businesses.

What you need to know and then do

TripAdvisor provides higher rankings to those businesses who have the highest number, highest quality and most recent reviews.

Therefore assuming you are providing an amazing customer experience, all you need to do is:

  • Ask customers to leave a review of their experience with you on TripAdvisor.

We know from talking to many business owners, they don’t feel that comfortable doing this.

However be assured, if you explain to your customers how valuable they are to your business, they are usually very happy to do this for you, and we share ideas on how you can ask for reviews in this article.

Good Example

Mitre Peak Cruises asked us for a review of their Milford Sound Cruise on their boarding pass.


2. Optimise your website for speed and phone contact

Once we had decided on a shortlisted business from TripAdvisor, I would then check out the selected business’s website.

When I landed on their website, there were two things that either made life easy or very frustrating.

Slow website

Any website that took too long to load, I went back to TripAdvisor to the next on my list.

This was often made worse as we were in patch mobile reception in many parts of NZ, so every second counted.

This is backed up by recent research by Google, which found the for every second in mobile page load, conversions can fall by up to 20%.

What you need to do

Click to call

Many places I wanted to call to make a booking or enquire about something before booking.

However, I found on some websites that I couldn’t call the the phone number on their website when I clicked on it.

This was very frustrating, as I then had to manually write down their phone number, and then type it into my phone, all the while often in a moving car!!

Again, this frustration is backed up by recent research by Google which found that on average 90% of people wanted to be able to call Travel Brands direct from their smartphones, and those who did, 38% were to make a booking or reservation.

What you need to do

  • Open up your website on your smartphone
  • Find your phone number and click on it
  • If it doesn’t automatically ask you to call, you don’t have click to call
  • Ask your web developer to fix for you, or if you are handy with editing your website’s code, you may like to fix yourself.

3. Leverage Google Maps

Once we had decided on a business, another frustration came when trying to navigate to the business from our current location.

Many businesses didn’t have an interactive Google Map on their Contact page or their business name wasn’t showing up on a Google Map search.

Therefore I had to manually find their address and then type it into Google Maps app.

This was both frustrating and annoying, as my patient husband had to often stop the car, wait for me to type in an address, before I could then get us orientated in Google Maps and then direct him where to drive next.

What you need to do

  • Include a Google Map on you website with your address on it, so people can click-through to view it on the Google Map App.
  • Search for your Business Name (not address) in Google Maps, and make sure it shows up correctly. If not, you can update via your Google My Business listing.

Good Example

Redwood Treewalk in Rotorua, one of our many NZ highlights, had both an up-to-date location on their Google Map listing, and also an interactive Google Map on their website.

This meant we could easily get directions in the Google Maps App based on our currently location without having to retype their address in.


What about Local Government and Visitor Centres?

If you work for local government or in a visitor centre, the same challenges apply to visitors looking for for your local managed tourism assets, such as:

  • Tours
  • Visitor Centres
  • Lighthouses
  • Museums
  • Playgrounds
  • Parks
  • Lookouts
  • Beaches and jetties etc.

What you need to do

If you work in a Visitor Servicing Role such as in a Visitor Centre or Council, you can apply the same tactics to your owned and managed tourism assets and attractions.


This article was original written early 2017 and was updated in October 2018

Rebecca White

Rebecca is a tourism marketing specialist and co-director of Tourism eSchool. Rebecca loves working with tourism destinations & operators to create sustainable marketing strategies. Her specialty areas are tourism marketing strategy, visitor servicing, visitor engagement, social media, customer advocacy, customer experience, content marketing & blogging.