Top 10 Tourism Website Marketing Fails

Top 10 Tourism Website Marketing Fails

A product or destination website is the epicentre of any tourism marketing strategy, and can mean the difference between achieving (or smashing!) your sales and marketing goals, or not!

After working with a range of different tourism businesses and destinations on website marketing audits and strategy development, I’ve come across a few commonalities in website architecture and design which seem to appear time and time again, that are not geared toward increasing engagement or conversions – 10 of which I share with you below!


#1 Website Fail: No booking button in Main Navigation

One of the biggest website fails is making it hard for your website visitors to book your tourism product. So, to combat this, do ensure you give your website the best possible chance of conversions by placing your Book Now button (or make an enquiry button) in your main navigation or header of your website, so your visitors can find this information on any page within the website.

Below is a screenshot of Seppeltsfield Vineyard Cottage’s website, with a clearly visible ‘Book Now’ button in the Main navigation:

Seppeltsfield Vineyard Cottage


#2 Website Fail: Search Engine Compatibility and Optimisation non-existent

According to Google’s 2014 Traveler’s Road to Decision Research Study, in the researching and planning stages of travel, 57% of leisure travellers and 64% of business travellers turn to Search Engines as their first point of call, a trend that is increasing over time.

Google's Search Engine Optimisation Research Statistics

This coupled with the fact that approximately 71% of total click-throughs occur on page 1 of Google’s search engine result listings means that tourism businesses really should be investing appropriate resources to developing and implementing a SEO strategy for their website, and also ensure their website is built with the ability for the authors to be able to optimise each webpage with appropriate keywords to attract people searching for relevant search queries.


#3 Website Fail: Footer Navigation not optimised or non-existent

If your tourism website was developed more than 3 years ago, you may be suffering from a lack of a substantial footer navigation on your website (similar to the dark grey footer area at the bottom of our webpages).

This footer area is becoming an increasingly important place for users to access generic information about your business, such as:

  • Blog Posts
  • Booking Button
  • Main Pages in your website
  • Contact Details or forms
  • Emarketing Signup Forms
  • Social Media Accounts

So if you are in the process of upgrading your website design, then it would be a strategic move to include a substantial footer area to give your users another way to navigate your website, which leads to a more positive experience, and hopefully higher conversions.

See Stonewell Cottages & Vineyards footer navigation area below as an example:

Stonewell Cottages and Vineyards


#4 Website Fail: Poor Mobile Performance

Poor mobile performance is really common across a large percentage of websites spanning all industries, but it’s impact can be quite devastating.

According to Google’s Research, 83% of travelers have encountered a travel website that was not optimised for mobile, and only 23% of those continued with a booking – which basically means that if your website isn’t mobile friendly, you could be losing substantial conversions online!

Google's 2014 Traveler's Road to Decision Research Study: Mobile Optimisation Stats


#5 Website Fail: Too many ‘Facts’ not enough ‘Storytelling’

One of the biggest website marketing opportunities for tourism businesses and destinations is to refocus their website content from a purely factual information portal, to a dynamic home of inspiration.

Travelers are looking for inspiring places to visit, and products to experience, so the more stories and engaging content published on a website (and shared through content marketing activities), the more opportunity the business or destination has to encourage visitation and bookings.


#6 Website Fail: No Emarketing 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 it’s offering, which means the brand is further along the purchasing funnel or the consideration set for that particular customer.

If you haven’t engaged an email marketing strategy for your business or destination, then why not take a look at a couple of blog posts we’ve published on the Email Marketing to inspire you to get started!


#7 Website Fail: Blog not integrated into website, or non-existent

If Content is King, then your blog is it’s Royal Carriage.

Simply put, having a blog on your website is not only a key contributor to your SEO strategy, but it is also a major part of your Social Media Strategy, and also your ability to inspire and convert more of your Ideal Customers into paying customers.

To do a tourism blog effectively, though, you need to the following:

  • Host the blog on your site (
  • Write high-quality content that is 90% inspiring, helpful and engaging for your Ideal Customers
  • Share your blog posts on social media, to increase the viral marketing opportunities, and also impress Google to improve your search engine rankings
  • Respond to each blog comment, as this will create trust and build a community

To learn more about how to get a blogging strategy started, then by all means we’d love you to take a look at our articles specifically on blogging for the tourism industry >


#8 Website Fail: Little or no Testimonials and Reviews displayed

According to Nielsen’s Consumer Trust in Advertising Research Study, 66% of people are heavily influenced by customer opinions online, therefore it is imperative that all tourism businesses and destinations encourage and collect customer reviews via internal methods in conjunction with rate and review websites such as TripAdvisor.

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.


#9 Website Fail: Online Bookability non-existent, enquiries only

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, as a tourism business it is crucial that you offer your customers the ability to book or purchase your tourism product online, via desktop and mobile – as this is the expectation from your potential customers, and if it isn’t available, you may face losing the opportunity to convert more website visitors.


#10 Website Fail: Lack of hero images and video content

Last but certainly not least, and this has a lot to do with the change in design trends over the last couple of years, but there is a complete lack of amazing hero shots and video content published on tourism websites.

Inspiring images and video content have a huge influence on the saleability of a destination or tourism product. 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:

Off Piste Tours South Australia


That’s it for now!

Hopefully the content in this post offers you some guidance when planning the redevelopment, or new development of your tourism or destination website. If you have any other suggestions of website fails, or questions, then absolutely publish your thoughts in the comments section below!


Want to learn more?

If you’re ready to ramp up your marketing for your tourism business, we can help you to write your own Website Marketing Strategy, one that will actually result in the achievement of REAL conversions for your business. We’d love you to take a look at our Tourism Marketing Academy + Mastermind >



About the author, Paige Rowett

Paige is the co-director of Tourism eSchool and a Tourism Marketing Consultant ( Paige is passionate about working with tourism destinations & operators to create sustainable marketing strategies, specialising in marketing strategy, customer advocacy, customer experience, content marketing, website strategy, search engine optimisation & blogging.

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  • Libby Foster - Bold Marketing

    Thanks Rebecca & Paige for an easy to reference list to check. It also helps to see the areas in which they are getting it right. Great check list for destinations to work through to ensure they are giving their visitors exactly what they need.

  • Great read,
    Think I need to talk you a little more about some of those points.
    Scott 🙂