Category Archives for Website Marketing and SEO

11 Steps to Create Your Best Google My Business Description

Google is king. It dominates all search and local search queries and the impact on tourism businesses is significant. In fact, Google's goal is to create a seamless experience for travelers without ever having to leave Google platforms to book a hotel, tour, or experience.

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Website Fixes: Tourism Taglines that Persuade

Taglines -your main website headline - can turn your homepage into an immensely powerful piece of communication, and it can result in the difference between someone moving off your website quickly -- to someone who stays on it to read more.

Taglines are website fixes that can quickly improve your website's first impression and let the reader know they have landed in the right place. This tip is one of many copywriting tips that can help you make small and noticeable improvements to your brand.

This article will help you:

-Avoid creating a dull, drab, and generic taglines

-Craft your persuasive tagline for your tourism business with a formula

-See examples of tourism taglines in the industry

Don’t Stop at Telling Your Reader Only What You Do. 

Most tourism business websites have one line on their homepage that says what their company does. That is it.  

Although this is very necessary, this approach has one big problem.

It doesn't speak directly to your audience  its more about you than about them – the customer you want to persuade and entice to your business.

I call this your 'What' statement because it really just does that; it says what you do.

Here are examples of boring and internally focused taglines

Examples:

-Private and day tours in France

-Boutique Hotel in San Francisco

or

-Airport Transport in London

Sure, these examples clearly say what the company does, but they aren't at all inspiring, motivating, or persuasive for any reader to press the book now button.

A motivating, persuasive tagline can do the following: 


  1. It speaks directly to your target audience. 
  2. It summarizes your overall value to your target guest.
  3. It can also include your purpose; which is often implied.
  4. It can share something highly relevant and emotional to your target guest. (an insight)
  5. It says what you do. (often this works well in a subline)
  6. It can be humorous, serious, or inspirational, and it MUST fit your brand's voice.
  7. It includes a keyword to help with SEO purposes.
  8. Ideally, it is 3-6 words but can still be effective if its a little longer. 


The reader reaction you strive to achieve with your tagline is:

Wow, this brand is talking to me – I want to read on!

Important note: Developing taglines isn’t easy- however there is a formula where you can start.

There is a reason why advertisers spend lots of time and energy on a tagline, and it does take time and skill, especially to get it to achieve all of the above points. We do want a great tagline but your aren't going to have the next "Nike Just Do It" here -- also because they  spent millions of dollars to solidify their message.  However we can make something clear, compelling and persuasive.

You can still have a successful tagline without achieving all of the 8 points above however, these criteria improves your chances. You can only do it if you get feedback from your target audience.

Good news! There is a formula that can help you develop your tagline easily – Start there and work towards developing your own.

How to build tourism taglines - website headline

Here is one proven and effective way to craft your tagline that ensures you have included the necessary information.  This process helps organize your key points into a cohesive tagline statement. This methodology is originally taken from the Copy Cure course by Marie Forleo, and I've used this method/with a few changes time and time again with clients in the tourism industry.

Key tip:  

Your tagline is about you – yes – but  more importantly, it is ABOUT YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE. When travelers read your website, they are thinking: 

"What's In It for me?” 

To develop your own tagline. Here is a short working session that will help you: 

Write this in a workbook, or word document because you will refer back to these steps as you work through your own tagline.

Step 1: Identify your Ideal/Target Guest 

The more focused you are with your target audience, the better you can speak to them directly. 

For example:

  • Baby boomers
  • Responsible (or Sustainable) travelers
  • Solo female travelers
  • Travelers who hate big groups tours
  • Beach lovers and sun worshipers
  • Remote working travelers
  • Families with small kids
  • London business travelers
  • Adventurous travelers
  • Adrenaline enthusiasts
  • History buffs
  • Foodies
  • Using "you" can be a way to talk directly to your audience if it becomes challenging to describe your traveler in a few words, but it may not be as direct or effective. 

What would you call your ideal target audience in a few words?  

Brainstorm some options to come up with your target guest explanation. Note that these are just examples - and think of others that are unique to your business! 

Step 2: What are your Target Guests Needs?  


Think about them, what they want, and what benefits you can give them. 

(Not your features, because those are not needs-driven, and generic)

Examples:

  • To travel safely and adventurously
  • To contribute to social causes
  •  To have non-stop active adventures
  •  To travel comfortably with all the comforts of home
  •  To travel luxuriously, on a budget
  •   To have all your travel planning taken care of
  •   To experience the local culture
  •    To travel, live and work in a comfortable, safe, and fun environment


Step 3: Think about the outcome or purpose your target guests want.  

what do they want to get out of this - not the benefit but the satisfaction of it. 

Examples: 

  • To enjoy the experience of a lifetime 
  • To learn about the impact of climate change
  •  To discover the world from a local perspective 
  •  To give back and volunteer in a foreign country
  •  To take great Instagram photos
  •  To learn everything there is to know about Italian food
  •  To feel relaxed and recharged

STEP 4:  What does your business do specifically?  (what is your vehicle) 

Examples:

  • Walking tours in Madrid
  •  Accommodation and Tours in Cuzco, Peru
  • Eco-cabins in Colombia 
  • Cooking classes in Tuscany
  • Electric Bike tours in Portland
  • Transportation in the Algarve in Portugal 
  • Community-based tours in the Maldives    

STEP 5: Write your draft taglines using the information from Step 1-4

Once you work through step 1-4 you are ready to start developing some draft tourism taglines (headlines) 

Ideal structures to design your tagline and sub-headline 

Option 1: Helping [Target Guest] to [Meet their needs]

In this version of a tagline use your examples from  Step 1 and add it with Step 2

Examples:  

  •   Helping solo female travelers travel safely and adventurously
  •   Helping responsible travelers contribute to social causes 
  •   Helping London Business Travelers have all their travel planning needs taken care of
  • *You* can also be used as a way to talk to your audience as the rest of the line is relevant to your target audience.

Then you can input a secondary line from Step 4

Example: Helping solo female travelers travel safely and adventurously

                               Tours and accommodation in Cuzco Peru 

OPTION 2: For [Target Guest] who want/dream/wish/need [Desired Outcome]

In this structure you take step 1, add it with Step 3 copy you developed

Examples:

  •     For solo female travelers to feel relaxed and recharged
  •     For Foodies who want to learn everything there is to know about Italian food.
  •     For Baby boomers who want to give back and volunteer in a foreign country

OPTION 3: [Vehicle] for [Outcome] or flip  [Outcome] and [Vehicle]

 In this structure, you take Step 3 and add it with Step 4 or flip it around

Examples:

  • The walking tour in Madrid where you can take the best Instagram photos
  • Community-based tours in the Maldives to discover the world from a local perspective
  • Feel relaxed and recharged by staying in our eco-cabins in Colombia 
  • Cooking classes in Tuscany to learn everything about Italian food

*See how I took Step 4 Vehicle – and married it with Step 3 the outcome?

OPTION 4:  Where - with an [Outcome]

In this structure, you take Step 3 and use “Where” at the beginning of the line.

Examples:

  • Where you will have an experience of a lifetime
  • Where you can travel safely
  • Where you can give back and volunteer in a foreign country
  • Where you can discover the world from a local perspective

If you use this format you will want a secondary line that explains what you do (from Step 4)  

OPTION 5: Where [Target Guest]  [Achieves an Outcome]

Here, you put together Step 1 with Step 3

Examples:

  • Where remote working travelers can live, travel and work in a comfortable, safe, and fun environment
  • Where families with small kids can feel relaxed and recharged.
  • Where adventurous travelers can contribute to social causes. 

If you use this format you will want a secondary line that explains what you do (from Step 4)  

Now that you have five potential ways to create a more engaging, target audience centered tourism taglines, here are some examples from the industry who are using these structures or versions of these structures. 

Great examples of tourism taglines in the industry 

intrepid travel home page and tagline

Intrepid travel - a global company that runs organized small group adventures with a local guide. Typically their tours are more about culture and adventure  and traveling with a particular focus on local experiences.

Their tagline - is based on Option 4- Using the outcome their guests want to achieve on their tours. 

(although they didn't use Where but it works well without) 

- These words are based on an insight - the focus that their guests want local experiences, and community based activities. They don't want to do things that are touristy - but going to places, and doing things with local guides and local services. 

Intrepid also uses a secondary line - like Step 4 - They clarify what they do - because their tagline doesn't say it all. 

Example #2 Jo & So

homepage Jo and So tourism accommodations

This is an example of an accommodation business that recommends hotels and stays in Portugal. 

They used Option 3 with one difference. 

Outcome- Cool places to stay    Need/Insight: handpicked= carefully selected accommodation  Vehicle - 2 Portuguese sisters - who curate the tours and they are credible because they are from Portugal 

I like this tagline and it doesn't need a secondary line because it answers -  what they do and how they do it.

However,  they could have talked more directly to their audience and written something like: 

Cool places to stay in Portugal handpicked by locals especially for you.

Example #3 Impulse Travel - Tour Company

Impulse travel home page example of tourism headlines

Impulse travel- A tour company in Colombia - used the outcome method option 4 for their tourism tagline.  The insight here is that Colombia is plagued with a lot of stereotypes and misconceptions - and they want to dispel this.  

Then they added Step 4  as a subline - to describe in 3 phrases what they do.  Instead of one line, you can use 3 lines. Listing in 3’s can be an effective written approach – but any more phrases is too much information, and not as strong and brief as the subline is intended to do.

Example #4  Moscatello Family Resort

website homepage - moscatello resort

This vacation home uses Option 3 - Vehicle- family vacation house in Maremma, Italy  Outcome: Where you can live the summer all year long. This is a good use of copy, I would recommend it to be two sentences. For example: 

The family house where you can live the summer all year long

Moscatello. In the heart of Maremma, Italy.

Website image of Taste of toulouse food tour

 Taste of Toulouse -Food and drink tours in Toulouse, France.

In this example this business used a combination of  Option 1 and 5.   Helping you (target audience)  Outcome: experience and taste food like a local - going to places and eating what and where locals do.  This line is a little longer because it also includes "what" they do and where they do it. 

This is an effective example - of focusing directly on your audience in your copy, and what outcome they are looking for.

Now do you feel equipped to tackle building your own tourism taglines? Words that will help you convince your ideal target guest to keep on reading on? Let us know in the comments. And if you are looking for more copy tips to improve your marketing you can find them here.  Check out our resources page for more website and marketing tips. 

pinterest - Taglines in the industry - how to improve them

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Tour Operator Website Copy Tips with Tourpreneur Podcast

touroperator website tips

Recently, I had the absolute pleasure of being interviewed by Shane Whaley from the Tourpreneur Podcast.  This is a forum for tour operators from around the world to improve their tourism business. 

The mission of the podcast is to flatten the learning curve for the tour operator with actionable tips to apply to the tour industry. This is one of the most popular podcasts in the tourism industry and listened to in 110 countries and I'm a fan, I've learned a tonne about the industry for this podcast. Our interview was about a big topic: 

Tour Operator Website Copy Tips  

You can listen to the podcast directly by clicking below, or catch the key tips in the transcript.

Below are the tourpreneur transcripts and key travel operator tips

Shane: Hello, and welcome to Episode 106 of the Tourpreneur podcast where we flatten the learning curve for tour operators around the world. Today, we're tackling a topic that many of you have written in asking for help with and that's how to improve your website copy. Most of us know our grammar and our spelling, but we didn't really get taught how to write copy and there are people out there that charge thousands, sometimes 10s of thousands of dollars to write copy for us. It's quite an art.

There's quite a science to copywriting. So today we are chatting with Dorene Wharton with the Head marketer and strategist at Travel Life Media. And she has some pedigree 25 plus years in marketing, particularly focusing on brand strategy brand communications website copy, SEO, and she has worked as head of marketing for Anheuser Busch. She's worked as head of Canada marketing for Jim Beam brands, they make one of my favorite drinks Maker's Mark. And on the other side, she's also worked on marketing for visitor centers, and brewery tours.

Topics we cover in this podcast:

 

- Copy changes needed since COVID. 

- And what hasn't changed in terms of effective copy

- Must-haves in your copy the importance of authenticity,

-Why good copy starts with your purpose.

- Finding the right balance of SEO keywords versus your brand voice.

Shane: We are here today to talk about travel and tourism, and how to improve our website copy for the tour operator. And this is something I hear a lot about from our listeners and operators where many of us can't afford a copywriter. So we're doing this on our own. And it's something that we all struggle with, because it's not anything that's taught at school. And there are various courses online and everything else. But I'm really excited to talk to you about copy because it's a subject that I'm really fascinated with. So what do you think has changed since COVID? And what hasn't changed in terms of effective copy?

Dorene: Well, the interesting thing is that because of the heightened sense of awareness of our fear of health and safety, that obviously isn't Really important point that we have to address with our consumers. Now, the adventure travel guys, they've been doing this all along because they have to address the safety issue. But we all have to do it now so pronounced because it's absolutely on top of everybody's minds. So that would be one.

But there's other trends that were happening pre COVID that are just much more pronounced.

The rise of conscious consumerism and why it matters 

Now, let's take for example, I like to call it conscious consumerism. Those are those consumers and in the past, they were millennials predominantly millennials who thought about this, that people buy products that they value, that don't just make money, but they're equally focused on improving the world in some way. 

The millennial generation started out because they were the most cynical, and they were the most untrusting of brands. And they use the word authentic, which is really where that word really started  to make a difference. Some consumers call brands real some call it you know, transparent, whatever the case may be.

Consumers want to support brands who do and say the things that we believe in.  - Simon Sinek

But what it really means is that as consumers we want to support brands who do and say the things that we believe in. So that was happening before. But now that we've got, you know, fake news, fake brands, we don't know what's true and what's not. We're getting more skeptical with brands, and what really the motives are. And it's not just millennials, it is consumers, all generations, and it's certainly consumers, global consumers, in fact, 87% I think the number is that of global consumers that look for brands that equally value, business interest, but society interests too.

Shane: Yeah, that's a really good point. I know we went on a cruise in the Caribbean in January. And that was something I was really aware of when booking experiences that I didn't want to go on an experience where animals were treated badly or not living in good conditions, and I was really scouring and I kind of hope because I booked all my experiences through the cruise line, that they had been vetted and I'm pleased to say they were all exceptional, but as a consumer that's so I'm nowhere near being a millennial as you can tell, but it's still something that's on my mind. behind that, you know, I want to make sure that I'm taking an experience with an ethical company.

Shane: So what do you think are some of the, the must- have in copy in this new world? So we've got that conscience consumerism. And now of course, there is a major concern around safety. And I think we're at this point where we don't really know how this is going to play out. And I was saying to someone the other day that I'm not sure right now, even though I'm in this industry, if I'd go into a museum, or some kind of attraction, because you closed in, you know, you've got kids touching everything in there and whatnot.

I'll book with a tour operator and go on a walking tour or biking tour or kayaking, but do I really want to go into this attraction or venue? And someone said, Well, I think it's gonna change once someone you know, has been into that attraction and has come out and they didn't get sick and we had a good time, this new normal, but what can we do in our copy to reassure people that the attractions Or the experience. So I've taken all the necessary steps on hygiene and safety.

Dorene: Okay, so let's talk that because that's this is on everybody's mind. And fortunately, we've had a lot of good webinars even with Arival, And we talked about what really we need to do with opening. We got to talk to fears head on, it's got to be really obvious by saying things like your health and safety are important to us to keep you and our employees safe. Like that would be kind of a thing you want to say very clearly on your tour operator website and very obvious. You also want to have a reliable source of Who are you are you looking at CDC? Are you looking at your city's regulations in terms of that?

How to create great COVID safety copy for your guests 

Example of great Covid Safety copy: Eagle Wing Whale Watching Tours - in British Colombia Canada.  

Why is this a great example?

-So they have two really big buttons on their homepage.

-One it says COVID one says safety pledge and I think they have a third one that just has an offer on it.

-They have their staff have masks on. And they say on their tagline, we're ready for you. So it did you know, inviting.

-But what I really liked is when you hit those tabs, there's two very significant pages.

-One, the title is what we are doing to keep you safe.

-And the second title is what we are asking you to do to help us. And it's in clear bullets, very obvious, it's actually in a big font. (use bigger font so your audience over 40 years old can read it) 

So that's the first thing is obviously the health and safety and they were very clear with what they were doing and what they expect of their desk. And then of course, the other thing is the easy exit. So you need easy cancellation and you got to make it so darn obvious because I mean, you know, look at look at what's happening now in Melbourne right now. You know they're closing and so people are going to be asking for cancellation.  When you do reopen, don't underestimate the power of a welcome back. Like that's really powerful communication.

Shane: Yeah. And I was just reading about a depending when the show goes out, but there was a boat tour operator in Chicago and the mare is absolutely furious because she saw there was 100 people crammed onto the cruise on the lake. And I can't see what the numbers were put there. The agreement was much less than that. And of course, that's all over the news. So the public is seeing this and the thinking, yeah, these tour operators that they just want to cram us on. They don't really care. They're all saying they care, but they don't. And that's why copy and photographs are going to be so important going forward, isn't it? Yeah, it's establishes trust. It's actually it's, it's doing a lot, both the copy and the visuals.
You also said so copywriting is quite an art. I think it's a ninja skill. Because there's so many different things involve a copywriting. I mean, the way I look at is you really have to when you're writing anything, you have to put yourself in the shoes of the person who's going to be reading that copy. And that's tricky, right? When you think of two operate as you think it's not just one, it's not just millennials coming to my experience, it's a wide mix of people. So how do operators think about writing for you know, other people?

Dorene: Well, first of all, it's not easy. And I totally respect that. Because the thing about your website is you have a lot of different styles on there that you you're trying to address, because you're trying to be a little bit of a storyteller. And then you're also you need to build trust, which we all hear about this all the time that you need to do that. But then there's some sales copy, you want to try to convert people, so there's like a lot of things going on. So it's no wonder it's kind of daunting.

You need to understand your target audience really well to write good copy.

But one of the biggest things they can do and we we've probably heard this lingo in marketing a lot is you got to do a deep dive into who they are. And there's various, you know, pieces of terminology for that. Some people call it the guest persona, the customer persona, and that's just simply interviewing your guests. reading your reviews. When you spend time with your guests. You get to know the lingo and the things that they're saying. You get to really, like really understand what is it that they're asking for? And what are the questions like your FAQs are a great way to do that. So those are like, you've got to know your, your consumer because those that's actually you're going to play back a lot of things that they say in your copy.

Shane:
So let's say I'm putting you on the spot here a little bit, but let's say you are that whale watching tour up in beautiful British Columbia. And you're interviewing me as a guest. And we're a couple of standard questions you would ask me so that you could understand in my persona? 

Dorene:
There's a little bit of a read between the lines you have to do too. So I know sometimes people hear Oh, okay, well ask the Ask the guests what problem they have. Okay, well, what are they going to say? Like, oh, I you know, I lost my job or whatever. Like, how is that going to help you?

You can ask things like find out like, what is their lifestyle? Like, what do they love to do? What are their what lights them up? What are you most excited about? What are the things that bother them about traveling in our city, country, whatever. Those are a good place to start and say, what is it that what are the most important things that you want out of your vacation? Those are places to start. But then you start to read between the lines when you hear them answer the questions. And then the little things come up. It's like, Oh, that's interesting.

Shane:  What some of the best tour operator copy you've seen out there when it comes to travel? 

Your About US page is one of the top pages on your website -  personal connection matters

Dorene:  
I like to look at different sections because I look at a website and I love the About Us page which is an essential absolutely It is your top, if it's not your top three in terms of traffic, you've either not put it in the top end, you've not put your about us in the top navigation and you've buried it. But I would be surprised if it's not. So I sometimes look at the About Us page, I look at the homepage, I look at the tour descriptions. And I find that like, there's various different websites that I like different parts to it, depending on it is

Shane:  This is so fascinating to hear that because I agree with you about the About Us page is one of the ones I visit first, but then I often think is it just because I'm in the bubble? Um, because we do we work in this industry and marketing will do the general public, actually. So I would ask our listeners go check your Google Analytics and see if your audience are actually clicking on the about page and if not, we've got some work to do.
Yeah, I mean, and there's there's a reason why they're clicking on there because people care about either spending time with like, think of us being all locked up right now. Well, we're not some of us aren't locked up anymore, but the time that we spent to think about our business who wants  to spend time with who we actually want to put our money towards? You know, do we want to buy local? I mean, you've talked about, you know, the restaurant that you want to support in your neighborhood. I mean, those are the people that you truly care about what's going on with them.

And I don't know about you, but I don't want to spend my time with everybody. When I had limited time to see people. There's certain people, it's the people that inspire you. And the people that actually you have, you know, a connection with, those are the people you want to spend time with. So it's no surprise that people go to the About Us page. I think, in fact, Neil Patel even said it was like if it's not your top three, because again, they just want to see the people behind the business instead of the corporate business itself.

Shane: Yeah, it's so true. Absolutely. I guess I need to get to work on my about page. I haven't really touched mine.

Dorene: Your About Page is not a resume. That is a resume with a list of I've done this, I've done this. No, it's not. It's not that at all. It's actually about writing in a way that it is about you and your brand, but through the eyes of your target. Yes. So you're writing it like, Okay, I'm going to tell you about myself. It's like I'm sitting with you. I've known you for 15 years chain. And there's a lot of things I want to tell you about what I'm passionate about. But you know what, instinctively, you totally connect with it because you're inspired by what I have to say, or you actually believe in what I say.

So it's not a resume. It's not about bragging, or don't worry about that, because you can still put your credentials and your awards and things like that on it. 

It's really about the personal story that you have so people can connect with who you are and what you stand for.
Yeah, and I don't think I really do that on the page. Well, I know why you should listen. 

Dorene: I'll give you some specific examples of great about us pages with tour operators. What I love is that you actually included a mission It's like, okay, what's the mission? Here's what happens is we spent too much time talking about what we do and how we do it. We don't talk about why we do it.  Check out these great pages:  About Us Page from Impulse Travel  As well as Taste of Thailand Food Tours

What gets us up in the morning to do this job, why it's so important to us. Eg. say, Shane, I met you at an event somewhere, and you introduce yourself and you said, Hey, I'm Shane Whaley. I run a podcast to help tour operators run successful businesses. That's like, Oh, great. Yeah. Okay, cool. That sounds interesting. But if you set it differently and included your mission, call it your purpose, your belief statement, your mission, those are all generally the same things. You would actually include something different, you actually include the fact "Hey, I'm Shane Whaley. I run a podcast to help tour owners and operators flatten their learning curve to run successful tourism businesses." Okay, that's got way more power. Every time that you say flatten the learning curve. That's like a signal in people's head is like, Yeah, he's, he's on a mission. He's helping people out and he's very specific about what he's doing. What he's passionate about,

Shane: it's good that you raise that because that wasn't your original mission. It kind of was. But I didn't know that. And it came to me some way into the podcast was like, yeah, each story here is flattening the learning curve. I'm not flattening the learning curve for people. But our guests who come on like you're doing today talking copy. Absolutely. So that's something that grew with a brand. And I realized that and I think that's why we do need to be with to self reflect on what we're doing and why we're doing because sometimes that, you know,

Dorene: I'll tell you another one, devour tours, they have a really great mission. So their mission is to connect curious travelers with local food and communities in a way that helps culture thrive. So it's who they're talking to what they do, and why they do it. It's all encapsulated there. And in fact, they have a tagline that really that's very similar that rings true with their mission.

Shane: So are there any exercises so I know right now money is very tight for operators can't all outsource this to experts to or focus groups to come up with this. Are there any exercises or tips or anything that tour operators can do themselves right now to come up with an epic mission statement,
any sort of copy type of courses are good, you know, to think of like descriptive words and things like that. But I'll leave you with a bunch of examples of how how you can just generally improve your your copy. And actually, in the in the show notes, I'm happy to leave I have a pretty detailed blog post that shows you how to write an About Us page and talks about more tips that's related to this, this topic. So I'm happy to leave that to, you know, it's just doing little bits at a time. Let's take for example, tour descriptions. When you're looking at your copy. You really want to avoid the adjectives that are like stunning, beautiful, wonderful, they don't help. They're not really bringing it to life. And if I know anything about tour operators, you know, they're really good at obviously telling their story when they're in field.

So paint that picture with descriptive words you know, like turquoise waters or vast landscapes like don't like those kind of things really help.

Use Verbs - to move your copy especially tour descriptions to action

And the other one is verbs. Verbs is a wonderful, wonderful way of moving to action. So like say for example, you do a tour description, start with a verb on your bullet, dive and do this, enjoy this eat hearty food at this restaurant, those things verbs really, really help get you grounded and putting the most important words at the beginning as well which, you know, because we've got scanners, we're going to scan those details. Those are examples of how you can actually improve on your copy.

Shane: So you can't see it cuz obviously is a podcast but next to me here I have a very thick thesaurus. Do you think that is something that is with luck because I will often go to my test services, okay, I keep using the word beautiful all the time to give you you know your example, or fascinating or fabulous when I'll go to my festivus and try and find other words It's repetitive, but they might be more emotional, for instance, more powerful words to use.

Dorene: Instead of that think about just how do I would How would I would describe that. It's sort of like, wonderful is my opinion, but describe it like, is it blue? Is it large? Is it green? Is it Yeah, you know, Is it hurting isn't? So there's ways to do that.

Shane: The thing that comes up a lot in sales and copy is features versus benefits. What would you say the differences are between them?

Dorene:
I think there's a role for both because we've got the people that are scanners and I know a number of our, our  Tour Operator Themes and WordPress templates and whatever other templates have, like why work with us, and there's like the three bullet points of you know, we have experience guides, we have private tours. The reality is there's people that are going to scan and they're going to want to like okay, it's not my checklist. I want a private tour, good to have private tours done.

I'm going to book but the benefits stuff is describing how people feel and let's stuff that's most important. The best visual example of a benefit is when you're showing someone having fun clinking their glasses and watching the sunset. And it's like, oh, I just want to be there. I just want to book that thing. Now, on a copy side, it's a little harder to do because you cut you know, okay, I don't want to be cheesy. I don't want to totally romances, but you kind of do have to romance it up. 

And I'll give you example, Luksa from Rewind Dubrovnik. They run boat tours in Croatia. He was on your on your podcast, his copy, he is really good benefit copy, and it's on his About Us page. And he has this line.

His copy says: "we do our very best to make you feel like a movie star, speeding on the boat with the wind in your hair, having a cold drink, listening to good music, taking pictures and fully enjoying your vacation." Luksa  knows his audience. Number one. He knows exactly what they want. They want to look like movie stars and just, you know, hair in the breeze and he actually he's talking to them, and it's totally benefit focused.


Shane: Yeah, I liked his way. I liked his photos as well that I just wanted to jump into a boat and can't travel right now, but we won't go there. So an English isn't his first language. Obviously he's in Croatia. So even more kudos to him for coming up with that
great copy. Yeah, he knows who his audiences
absolutely will have to ask Lucas in the group, how he interviews his, his customers, how he came up with that.

Shane: What are some other writing tips you can share with two printers, maybe some do's and don'ts,

Dorene: Calls to action. Those are important. I know, it seems so ridiculous that we have to say to people, for more information, call us or book it out or you know, read our blog to learn about this. But there's this weird mindset thing that we have that there are people that are going okay, I'll go do it. You know, when you ask people to like your page or comment on this, it's just a weird psychological thing that we have to kind of tell people what we want them to do next. So that would be one the other one would be, which I think is probably the easiest thing for every choice. operator to do is to, to go and take all that beautiful copy that you've done.

How to make your copy legible

Make smaller paragraphs, reduce your copy, add titles and subtitles Just cut it up, put it into smaller bits, put some titles, put some subtitles, even change the fonts in some areas, it just makes it so much easier to read so much easier. and highlight the like the important points that you want to express. And there's a lot that are doing that really well. But then then you come across a page and you just go wow, like this is so much copy. I like I'm kind of getting lost. 

Read your copy out loud

Guaranteed you're going to pick up something that sounds a little funny.

Get feedback from your target audience - not your family

Don't be afraid to actually don't feel like you need to have perfect grammar. Because you don't we always say oh it doesn't sound right or or not a natural English speaker. It's not going to be good. Well, you know what you're talking to an audience and it doesn't have to be perfect grammar and actually we don't talk with perfect grammar. We don'ttalk and also

Shane: I Find I use the app Grammarly, which corrects my grammar as I go along, which is absolute godsend. Totally worth it. I wanted to ask you so one of the things that frustrates me when I write a blog post, obviously, I wanted to rank well in Google and the search engines. So I'm envious of journalists of the past, I could just write a beautiful story or a wonderful article, rather than when I'm writing now. It's like, Okay, I need to get and I'm not keyword stuffing, but I need to get the SEO terms in and the keywords then I have the Yoast plug in and it'll say not enough keywords or you don't have this and that the other.  What's the right balance between SEO keywords and our brand and our voice?

The balance of keywords and just good copy 


Dorene: I'm a little believer that if you're doing copywriting you got to understand SEO and an SEO company that you work with has to understand copywriting. The best thing to do is do your keywords first and then write if you're writing a blog post in particular, look at the keywords that you're okay. You know, I want to write about boating in Croatia, look at those words first, and then you can more naturally put them in. As opposed to like feeling like okay, I have to use and sometimes it's an awkward word. You say travel Croatia? Well, who says travel Croatia? They would say, you know, traveling in Croatia or Yeah, you got to be conscious of that. And also with SEO, you can also rank for secondary words. 

There's an opportunity to rank for other words, and then maybe you might use that word that you didn't use in a different post or in different places on your website. So I yeah, I try to you want to be as natural as possible, but I'm only view like, if something just doesn't look right. Especially a title. Just don't worry. Don't worry about the keyword just make it sound like it's interesting.
 
I think it's just a matter of using your good judgment. The error that you could make the most is if you truly have a title, that when you read the article, it's like, oh, the title is not even consistent with the article is it's just it's completely off. Well, that's what you don't want to do, but You know, like three ways to do this or whatever, I mean, use your best judgment. But yes, like things that have a number and a title, you know how to use those things they do really well. But there are other versions of different titles and I I should probably do a blog post that shows like the different versions of titles that you could do that that might be a good project. So because especially
for tour operators who keep blogs and write blogs i think that's that's the tricky thing as well.

Get personal in your copy

They share what's going on in their lives. They're not afraid to actually get a little emotional. And that's the number one thing that I see missing from a lot of websites is you know, what, we have a tendency of worrying about sounding so professional. And so then we kind of taught corporate with a corporate language.
I think you're spot on instantly that person that email I unsubscribed today because the sales that it was trying to sell me Bitcoin, I ain't getting any of that. So I unsubscribed so I've gone. But to your point about emotion and personality, I think it is absolutely right. Especially for tours. Because if you have someone, let's say that three or four whale watching tours in British Columbia to use your example, the personality is what's going to get me and it might be a personality that I don't like and I move on and that's fine. Do you really want that customer if they don't get your humor anyway? Or do you want to get someone to say I really like this person's humor, we're gonna fall on that boat. And it was something that I said to Chris Wilson, who runs typically Swiss tours, you know, you're in his car for eight hours. I'm like this, your website needs more, Chris, because I need to know who you are. If I'm going to spend all that time with you on a private tour, I need to know I'm going to get on with you and that you're not creepy as well because you know, he comes from Manchester so you know.

What is your brand tone of voice?


Well, and here's the thing, if you're not comfortable, you know, you got to figure out your brand voice so that that's another aspect is okay. Do I is my brand funny? Or is it serious? Or am I, you know, talking more worldly or are educated in a longer blog post that I have, which I can share with you in the show notes, I actually have the words that you could use to kind of help you figure that out.

If you are worried about your copy, make a video, show your personality or do both! 

How to choose a good copywriter


Shane: How do you assess whether a copywriter is going to be good for your business? What are some best practices?

Dorene: Ask a perspective copywriter - do they know SEO too?  I think they need to understand your industry. I have worked, you know with businesses that are you know, kind of emotionally led businesses and take a look at their stuff. interview them, what kind of questions I would ask them would be, you know, what's important to you? Also ask them how they create my copy? And if they're not talking about like, if it's if it's very sales focused only and not, you know, emotional, and like with marketing and sales in mind, then I would say, maybe they're not for you. But it always helps if you've got reviews, of course, and if you have takes a look at samples of their, of their, their coffee that they've done.

Shane: Yes, that's a really good point. I guess I would say make sure they invest time in you, if you sign up with them, you know, ask them you know, how do you work? What do you need from me? I think that will tell you a lot about how thorough the copywriter is.

Dorene: You are going to know your business better than anyone. You're going to know your consumer better than everyone. Don't worry, like start doing your own copy and then you No, you can always hire someone to to polish it and make the tweaks. But your think about what you have at your disposal. And you know your copy is always going to change. You're always going to do tweaks, you're always going to do adjustments. So don't worry if you don't feel like it's perfect, because you're always going to adjust it.
Yeah. And I think also there are words out there that that can repel us as well. 

For more in depth tips on how to improve your website copy you can find the details here. 

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10 Tips for Better Tourism Website Copywriting

website copyrighting for tourism - image of a vacation page for a tour company

It's no surprise that in the tourism industry, the primary focus areas of your website are design and user experience. They do the big job of inviting travelers to read more and engaging with your website.  However, your website copy can inspire, persuade and convert future travelers to guests, and improve the overall health of your brand. Tourism website copywriting is an important aspect of your website and it doesn't have to be scary. Here is what you need to know: 

The Benefits Of Good Website Copywriting

1. It creates a personal connection.
We are emotional human beings who crave personal connection; this was a trend before CoVid19, it's even more evident. People want to buy from people they like and who share their values. In a world of fake news, make-believe stories on social media, and a "look at me"artificial culture, there is no better time to show your target audience who you are, and why your tourism business is important. How do I know this? Your ABOUT US page is most likely the Top 3 or 4 traffic pages on your entire site. The more authentic, and the better you can communicate who you are, the more guests will want to strike a meaningful interaction with you.

2. It gives your business credibility.

It helps communicate your credibility as a tourism professional, which helps in building trust. Your words can help convince a traveler to book with you, converting from a looker to a buyer. The better you can build trust, the more they know you can meet their needs and buy from your business.

3. It can persuade and convert and help travelers find you on the internet.
This is the result. Your words play a big role in communicating, persuading, and converting prospective bookers at all sales funnel stages. What you say and how you say it makes a difference, and when you combine it with Search Engine Optimization practices – it will help you get discovered on the internet. 

Copy Must Haves in a Covid19 World to Reduce Fear and Anxiety

There is nothing more important right now than relieving the fears and concerns on potential guests' minds. You can do this with good website copywriting. Travelers need to know you are open, AND that you care for their health and well being.

Here are the important steps:

  1. Communicate that you care and you are making steps to make them safe. Use copy such as: "Your health and safety and our staff are important to us.                                                                                                                          
  2. List your protocols step by step - what steps you are taking and what you are asking your guest to do?
  3. Site a reliable source for your new standards – don't leave the traveler to guess whether the protocols are good or reliable tell them if you follow CDC guidelines, or your country or municipal guidelines. The WTTC (World Travel and Tourism Council have initiated the #SafeTravels protocols, you can find these Health protocols and guidelines here)
  4. Make it easy for them to change and cancel – Losing money is a big fear right now, it will make people more hesitant to book at all, if there isn't an easy process if regulations and protocols change.
  5. Don't underestimate the power of "Welcoming Back", and how happy you are to be back serving them and what it means to you.

Here are examples of a tour businesses doing a great website copy job for Covid Safety.

Eagle Wing Whale watching tours

Intrepid Travel Covid Communication 

10 Top Tips for Improving Your Tourism Website Copywriting

Tourism business copy is a combination of several different types of writing, that is why it feels so daunting. It is  a combination of fact-based copy(tour descriptions and FAQ's), creative copy(Service descriptions, the home page), persuasive copy (About us page), conversion copy (calls to action, asking for the same) and storytelling (About us, a service description). So your copy has to work hard to do all those things effectively. 

Here are 10 tips to help you improve all aspects of your tourism website

1. Make a personal connection– share your passion and your views.

Who you are and what you stand for matters to your target audience. Because people want to buy from people that they like and who share your values.  Some call this authentic, or real but the definition is that people want to buy from people that believe in what they believe. Did you know that your About Us page is top #3 of all website pages for traffic? That is because people want to know the people behind the business.  Never be afraid to share your beliefs, what is important to you, and share your personal story. People want to support brands and people they like and who share their values. Why you do what you do is equally important to what and how you do it – So SHARE your Passion, and share your views! It's not a surprise that the best reviews you receive for your company are when guests mention specific tour guides and employees. That is because they made a personal connection with them, and it's the people that created their positive experience.  Watch this video and I'll explain why your purpose connects with travelers.

One way to improve your personal connection is to optimize your About US page. People want to book with people they like and who support their values. Optimize your page to create that connection. And you can use that content to help introduce yourself to future partners and travel clients, and gain publicity for your business through podcasts, interviews, and articles. Learn how to write a powerful About Us Page here. 

A mission statement or belief statement is another compelling way to make an emotional connection. These statements share why you do what you do. (your purpose). It is what moves you, and its how you contribute positively to your guests, your community, and the world in some way. I recommend you share this on your home page and about us page. Check out Impulse Travel's mission - and how they share their what, how and why, and Taste of Thailand Food Tours Mission and About Page

A great example of this is Devour Tours in Europe have a strong mission statement that they share throughout their website and their marketing communication.  Also check out the About Us page, and mission for Impulse Travel, these guys are crystal clear on who they are and what they stand for. 

"Our mission is to connect curious travelers with local food and communities to help culture thrive. We crave food and travel experiences with a true sense of place and believe that travel is about immersing yourself in the local culture." Devour tours

2. Talk to your guest directly because you understand them and their needs.

Travel professionals like you are naturally curious – and the best way to learn about your target guest is what makes them tick. Who are they? What is important to them?
-Listen, interview, and get feedback from your target guests because they will help you write your website copy. They will use the words  to describe their needs, likes, and dislikes, which will improve the relevance of your copy. Not sure what to ask your target guest?

 Download our target audience question sheet here.

Create a guest persona – a document that describes your audience to speak directly to them in your website copy. This is a summary description of your target guest, to help you recognize them, and explain who they are to your staff.

Write in the second person – use words like "you, yours "– as though you are speaking directly to the traveler you want to attract. 

WIFM - What's in it for me? (well in this case - your target audience) When you are not sure, read a paragraph or sentence and think: "what is in it for my reader? " That will guide you to writing more customer-focused writing. 

3. Talk like a human being, not a stuffy corporate entity. 

  • You can still appear professional and credible without talking like you are a corporation. Speaking like a real human being goes a long way. That is why imperfect grammar, sentence fragments, and slang are perfectly ok if you relate to your target audience. The goal is your writing is open and approachable and speaks directly to them like they have been friends forever.
  • PLEASE remove any 3rd person talk from your copy. For example – you write a bio on your website that sounds like a magazine interviewed you.  
  • Use "I, We" when talking about yourself, instead of He, She, or They. The "I" talk should be limited on your website. It is essential when you share your story, your mission, and experiences specific to you. Have you noticed that many brands send you emails from a specific person and not a business? That is because personal emails have higher open rates than emails that are from a company.

4. Use a brand voice relevant for your brand.

Every successful brand has three essential aspects of its brand personality. A brand is like a person; it has a style, behavior and voice. 

  • Style= What your brand looks like- it is your design and style, the visual representation of your brand. It includes design elements, the colors, the fonts, and logos. This is the one area of a brand that we tend to focus on the most.
  • Behavior = What your brand does  This is what your business does precisely. Depending on your business, your brand runs tours, hosts travelers at your attraction,  transports guests around the country or you provide lodging for tourists to stay. Brand behavior is also how you run your business – the approach you take while running your business and the type of services you offer.
  • Voice= What your brand says and how you say it This includes your website copy on your marketing materials, and even how you answer the phone and what you say to current and future guests. It's no surprise that your brand voice, your brand copy, tends to hit the bottom of your priority list. Here is a way to help you define your voice. eg. What words would you use to describe how you talk? For example, is your brand funny or serious, loud or quiet, friendly, or sarcastic? 

    Find 3-5 words from this list below that are consistent with the tone of voice for your brand. 
    If you know your brand is fun and sarcastic (for example), then you will write your copy with that tone in mind.

Brand Voice - Descriptive words to describe your brands to write better copy

brand voice - a tool to help you with website copywriting


5. Benefits vs. Features- there is a difference.

Features and benefits are very different. Features are aspects of the service that you provide. It includes offering a private bathroom, or private transport or free airport pick-up, or bilingual guides. Benefits are how it will make a traveler FEEL. And feelings are more powerful because it helps the reader say, "Yeah, I want to feel like that." Strong benefit words include escape, relax, enjoy life again, feel like a kid again. Features are great for scanning and helping travelers compare, yet benefits are what make your copy speak to them. 

Check out the About us copy for Rewind Dubrovnik and how they use benefit copy in their "Why choose us paragraph." This is a great example of letting your guest visualize how your tour experience will make them feel.

6. Rules of thumb to give your words more power.

  • Remove meaningless adjectives when describing your experience or service. Describe what your guest is going to see, do, and experience when they book with you. Avoid adjectives such as  "stunning", "beautiful", "wonderful"– because they don't describe anything. Instead, paint a picture, use descriptive, objective adjectives like vast, expansive, moist, hearty, sweet, turquoise waters. Think about how your sentences benefit your reader, and answer what they are looking for. For example, Instead of "Stunning lakeside views" instead describe them as:  "Expansive views and turquoise waters."
  • Verbs are your friend. Verbs are action words, and for a good reason, they are powerful. Because travelers want to do, see, and feel when they travel, right? Usually, these are active verbs like discovering, diving, eating, learning, and taking a boat to....                                                                                                                            
  • Put your most important words at the beginning of a sentence, and at the start of a bullet. These are usually verbs.                                                  
  • Remove filler words. Words that if removed, won't change the meaning of the sentence or they can be replaced with a shorter word. Some common pesky words that sneak in here are words like- a bit, kind of, really, quite or a little.                      
  • Read your copy out loud. Guaranteed, you will pick up on little errors, and when you hear it, some things will appear unnatural. Reading and hearing it at the same time will always improve your copy.

7. Make your copy easy to follow.

Whether your reader is a scanner of copy or not, you need your copy to be easy to read and follow.

  • Break up your copy with headlines, sub-headlines, shorter paragraphs, and different fonts and bolding to make it easier to follow.
  • For Tour page descriptions add summaries and details- include a summary page, detailed subscription page,what's included/not included sections and what to bring is extremely important. This will help because different readers will look for different things. Each piece of information will vary depending on where they are at in their buying journey. Check out two examples of great tour page descriptions from Taste of Thailand food tours and Impulse Travel.

8. Tell your guests what you want them to do.

Include one Call to Action on every page –It is human nature to respond when you direct readers towards something you want to do. i.e. Use commands like Search, Download, Read, Buy, Watch. Think about what is in it for them - in order to motivate them to act. A call to action is kinda strange isn't it? Think about when you ask someone to like a post or comment. Often your reader listens and shares it, and this works far better than when you don't ask for anything at all. 

9. Never sacrifice good web copywriting for SEO.

Copywriters should also know how to write for SEO, and SEO people should know how to write copy. The clarity in your copy should never be sacrificed to fit in a keyword, or to stuff in too many keywords. Complete a keyword search first, then you have those words in mind while you write, instead of forcing them in later. Visibility on search and persuasive writing can both be achieved. Check out our video tips on how to improve your SEO.

10. Write with the customer journey in mind.

  • Think about what stage your reader is in when they are reading sections of your website. For instance, if they land on any page on your website, they need to know what you do. Your home page needs to tell then in less than 3 seconds what you do.
  • The main headline accompanied by an inviting, captivating photo or video is a must. (Better yet, is a tagline that brings in emotion, purpose, and what you do all in one. This is much harder to do, and you need a copywriter involved.) 
  • Include a strong credibility statement on the top of your homepage (i.e. Since 2010, serving 5000 happy guests or a credibility statement like 400- 5 star Google reviews and counting…). A credibility statement on the top provides a strong queue to build trust very quickly as trust will be a top factor in their decision to click to something else and read more. 
  • Book now button above the fold of your homepage? – I have strong opinions that a book now button at the very top of your website homepage isn't inviting. If the reader knows nothing about you, this comes across as too salesy. However, you can use data from Google Analytics and a service called Hotjar to guide your decisions of what sections and what clicks are working on your website.

But what if you aren't a web copywriter? Can you still do this?

I get it, copy takes time to perfect it, and you have a business to run. However, the more you learn about your audience and test and try copy, the more you can improve it. I believe that copywriting has to start with you. If you are the owner, the marketer, the managing director of your business, you will understand your business, your competition, your target audience better than anyone. Start with a short outline of bullet points, then small paragraphs to express what you want to say – and then you can get a copywriter to polish it and optimize it.

These tips are designed to help you refine and fine-tune your website copy. When you update your website copy, PLEASE also update your Google My Business Page with copy, details, and service descriptions.

For more tips to improve your marketing check out our resources page, look up the topic, and find answers to your tourism marketing questions.

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computer showing how to write better website copy

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Researching Keywords for Travel and Tourism Part 3

Looking to improve the SEO for your tourism business? This is the third video of our SEO for the tourism industry so you can improve your education of this topic and learn how to do many of these strategies on your own. In this video, we show you how to create an SEO Plan that saves alot of time for you and how to do research keywords for travel and tourism professionals who run hotels, tours, attractions or transportation.  Please note that this process is the same regardless of the type of tourism business you run.

If you missed my first video and 2nd video in this SEO SERIES you can find them here:

Video 1: The myths about SEO 

Video 2: The Missed steps in SEO by knowing these tips it will save you time and effort.


If you don't know me I'm Dorene Wharton - I'm a tourism marketer and strategist and I've been a marketer my entire career for over 20 years -in all facets of marketing and I learned SEO from industry leaders, in numerous courses and I keep up to date with all the trends - and apply these  skills to my own websites as well as to clients in the tourism industry.

In this video,  we are going to talk about how you plan SEO on your website, and also how you perform effective Keyword research.
I'll show you a way you can look at your SEO plan for your business beyond just looking at keywords one by one. and SAVE TIME
- Then I'll show you how to do a good keyword research


Whether you decide to do SEO yourself or a team member or you hire someone to do it like a freelancer or agency you can never go wrong with understanding how SEO works - because that allows you to ASK the right questions and manage whoever is working on it.

You have alot to do on your business and lots to think about in your marketing so here is a step by step process.

How to build an SEO Plan for Your Business that support tourism keywords

Step 1: Think of your entire business – entire communication plan

Don't just plan for the next keyword, think of your content you want to share on your website, from key topics, themes, and what you plan to include in your blog posts.  Focus on the content -and then key words. 

Ask yourself these questions:   

-What are the key themes and important topics of your business?

-What are the keywords you would use to describe it?

-Where is your business, what are important tourism aspects of your business?

-Your products and key descriptions?

-What are the popular questions that your guests ask?

- Now capture them in themes and put them on a spreadsheet 

In this video I show you how this could look for a bike tours business. 

e.g. Bike tours Portugal

Step 2: Analyze your competitors and the market

-Do a competitive review of their tourism keywords- this will save you alot of time and searching and will give you some clues what is working and not working for them.

-What are the topics (and keywords) they are writing on their blogs and pages? How do they rank?

-What are the names they use for their products 

Step 3: What trends and themes come up?

What relevant topics and themes are being searched, and what common questions are travelers asking? This will help you come up with travel and tourism keywords and give you relevant topics to include in your blog or on your website pages.

Here are some great tools to help you with this. 

-Check Google Search – don’t press send, and see suggested list on bottom of pages

-Answer the Public – put in your business and key terms and it generates a great map of what the key questions travelers ask. I love this tool - yet you are limited to 3 free searches a day

-Check Google Trends for key words/topics and themes that are ‘hot’ 

-Tripadvisor forum – what are travelers asking about your area?- This is a free tool to see what kind of questions travelers ask. You can search by country, area, city.

-Reddit – Another great tool to see what key trends and topics are out there. Beware you can get lost on Reddit - so search for travel then your area, or your niche and go from there!  

Step 4: Capture all this on one spreadsheet

Use one spreadsheet to capture this information. If you would like a copy of this example in the video, hit reply and I'll send you a copy.

Step 5: How to find Travel and Tourism Keywords Effectively

​Watch the video to see the details for doing a keyword search. 

Key things to remember:
1. If you find a keyword with good traffic and low competition, it doesn't mean you are going to rank for it

2. Pay attention to Domain Authority and Page Authority because that can help you understand which keywords you have a better chance to rank for. 

3. Secondary words matter - you can also rank for theshttps://jvz1.com/c/1333543/194909e too, so don't forget them. 

Sure you can use Google keyword planner but I prefer to use Keysearch because it gives me all kinds of information in one place, and its good value for the money. Even with the basic plan, you can do alot with it.

200 Daily Searches & Analysis
80 Rank Tracking Keywords
Keyword Research
Youtube Research
Competitive Analysis Access
Content Assistant & More!

I pay $17/usd a month - and if you are interested in trying it out -- I have a discount code for 20% off if you are interested in trying it out. 
​Here is a link where you can save 20% off your first months membership

Keysearch 20% off code   and use the Code KSDISC to save.

keysearch - where to find travel and tourism keywords
keysearch mainpage image - how to find keywords for travel

Keysearch main SERP page - where to find effective travel and tourism keywords, and if you can rank for them.

I hope this post was useful to you!  What tips can you share to find keywords for travel? 

For any questions and feedback please hit reply. 

To watch all the videos in this series you can find them all there:

Seo video tips website series

image of SEO video tip series and how to increase your web traffic

*Affiliate link: By using this link on this page I receive a small commission on any sales at no additional cost to you. I only recommend products that I use regularly and would openly recomment.  

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SEO for Travel Website Video Part 2:Missed Steps

Are you looking to improve your SEO for your travel website? If you missed Part 1 of our SEO for travel website video series you can find it here. 
This is a how to improve your SEO series that I'm sharing with travel professionals in the travel industry.

If you don't know me I'm Dorene Wharton - I've a tourism marketer and strategist I've been a marketer my entire career for over 20 years in all facets of marketing and I learned SEO from the best minds in the field, taking hundreds of hours of courses and workshops, with reliable sources such as Moz.com, Neil Patel, and Brian Dean from Backlinko and I've applied these skills to my own websites and with helping clients in the tourism industry.

There is alot to know about SEO, too much! so in Video 2, I thought I would share some important aspects you need to know before we get into the tactics. These are my SEO for travel website mistakes I've made -- early on - that could have saved me alot of time and energy. For example, I jumped right into keyword research insteadof thinking through how SEO could work for my entire business - and my entire website. I also didn't pay attention to the technical aspects and the tools that could fix these areas, which were readily available.

SEO for Travel Website Tips:  

1. SERP - This is the Search Engine Results Page

The search engine results page is the page you see once you type into the brower on any website. It is not just a list of top ranking articles and posts both organic and paid  - it also includes the knowledge panel,  people also ask (PAA) sections, featured snippets (tables, calculators, lists, pictures and stories). There are lots of sections and engaging content to easily find information.

Why this matters: There are several areas of the SERP page that SEO impacts. Ranking #1 on this page isn't the only way to improve your visibility on the internet. Developing quality content that helps viewers with their search, and what they are looking for it the goal. 

2. The Marketing Funnel and Why It Matters in SEO

The marketing funnel, also known as the buyers journey, are the steps a traveler goes through from the problem they are trying to find a solution for (searching for travel) to the time they buy (conversion). This model is used for everything in marketing --- you use it to organize your website, how you develop ads for your products, for email marketing for everything because we have to understand the stages a buyer is going through to know how best to communicate to them -- and help them.

The funnel also works the same way with SEO.  There are different types of search people are doing at different times in the buying process.

Informational searches: 50-80% of all searches - This is in the awareness and dreaming stage  where travelers are looking for their next travel solution. They look at pictures, guides, read tips and when to travel to certain regions. 

Commercial searches: Are travelers that are moving down the funnel and narrowing down their options such as reading reviews, making comparisons, and this is where ads start to show up. 

Transactional searches include: This is the type of searches where the traveler looks for booking, they look at price, specials and this is where high ad competition comes to play.

Why is this important - different SEO strategies and different types of SEO are going to impact the different types of searches by travelers --- you are going to do different things on your website to impact how the traveler will learn about you, gain confidence in you, trust you and then buy from you.                               *Moz SEO learning center

Tourism SEO for travel website picture of the marketing funnel

3. 5 important aspects of SEO to maximize your visibility


To achieve our goal of maximizing visibility on the internet we have to look at a number of actions consumer take including:

Rank - Where you rank on the SERP - often the other actions will result in higher rank, but rank is not the only important aspect of SEO.

Clicks- clicks to your website, to other articles to your pages.

Visits- new and returning users to your website and allowing them to 

Links - is seen as the quality source - an endorsement by linking as a quality source to their website. It's like reviews 

Shares - Don't underestimate the value of a share, it encourages visits and clicks which will aid in the performance of your website views. 

Why this is important: Some people think its just about ranking - its not - often ranking or higher ranking can be the result of all the things that SEO does. 
I can assure you I have articles I have written on my blogs that are not even on the top page of google,and I've made sales. So its important to know that.                                            *source:  Moz.com resource center

4. The 3 Types of SEO and how they help achieve the goal of more visibility

It starts with sharing the types of SEO 

1. On page SEO-  Everything you do on a certain page to help with SEO such as: Picking Keywords you can rank for such as: titles, meta descriptions- explains what the page topic is about, copy on your website and quality blog posts and articles.  

Why this is important: To Improve visits, clicks (Stay on page longer with good and helpful content, read other articles), Shares, Links

2. On site SEO -SEO that is done across your site to improve such things like clicks, time on page, views. It includes:  Good internal linking structure- across your pages, Permalink structure – URL addresses, Site maps, Categories and Tags, Archives

Why this is important: To improve clicks, visits, and shares


3. Off Site SEO -The things that help your SEO off your site, when other websites link to your site, or share your site and articles. This includes several kinds of backlinking strategies

Why this is Important: To improve rank, links, and shares

5. Domain Authority (DA) and Page Authority and Why it Matters to SEO

Domain Authority (DA)  and Page Authority (PA) Domain Authority is a measure by Moz.

They assign a Domain and Page Authority to every site/page on the internet.  It’s a relative measure and meant to judge how likely a domain (or site) is to rank in search engines compared to all other sites. It's a number from 1 to 100. The higher the DA, the more likely the site is to appear in search results.

Page Authority (PA) is similar to Domain Authority but is assigned at a page level, rather than at a domain level. refer to both pages and posts.This means that different pages on your site may have a different PA.

Will your DA and PA change? This means that it is quite possible for your site to regularly go up and down when Moz updates it (usually every 4-6 weeks).
It's easy to become concerned when your DA drops. However, this is only a concern if your DA drops while the DA of similar sites to yours increases. Having a DA of 30+ allows your site to be much more competitive on keywords. 

**Here is an important thing to remember -- When you do keyword search and you find a golden word that has good traffic and low competition -- it doesn't mean you will be able to rank for it. and you may wonder - why is my competitor doing well with this work and we're not? 

Watch the next video in this SEO Optimization series and I'll show you how this all works. (coming soon) 

*source: Build blog freedom- Sharon Gourlay

6. The key steps to create your SEO plan

The biggest mistake with SEO is jumping right into SEO keyword search and not developing a plan for your entire business, beyond the next page and article. If you plan your content wholistically, and do your research first - then move into onpage optimization, on site activities and off page SEO
Is getting all excited with finding key words - and writing copy and articles for your website but not having an actual plan for SEO for your whole website not just individual pages or articles -- because everything needs to all work together.

Key steps for an SEO plan

Thanks for watching. How has this SEO for travel website video helped you with your SEO planning? Let us know in the comments. 

Stay tuned for our next SEO video where we show you examples how to create your SEO plan and do a proper keyword search.

Watch the rest of our SEO Series here: 

Video 1: SEO what you need to know

Video 3: How to do an effective keyword search and create a plan

For more marketing resources you can find them here. 

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Tourism SEO Video Tips: Part 1

Looking to gain more organic traffic to your website? (I think I heard you say yes!). Did you know that more than 50% of site traffic comes from organic search? And you can get really good at this or at least understand it so you can work with others to execute a plan for your tourism business. This is Part 1 of a series of Tourism SEO video tips for travel brand professionals. As I make some fixes on my own websites, I am going to show you how to do the same. 

How can I help you improve your Tourism SEO?


I've been working in SEO to a large extent the last 7 years. I've worked with tourism profeesionals like you. I've done hundreds of hours of courses from the best in the industry like Backlinko, Moz, Google, Neil Patel and courses with the top bloggers in the travel industry. I've learned also by trying and testing things because these are the keys to improving your performance.  I've also learned a tonne and I keep up to date, since its constantly changes. I have 2 of my own websites - Marketing Website - Travel Life Media and the other is a travel blog - Travel Life Experiences - I've had some great success with my sites - getting on the top page of Google - and getting high quality traffic --100 fold over the years but I have to keep up with it.

Watch out for this series here on our blog, or join our Facebook Group at Tourism Marketing That Works. I'll be posting a number of facebook lives and videos to help you optimize from the comforts of your home. Now if you choose to continue to do elements of SEO on your own while you have the time. or when travel picks up again you can also work with agencies to work on other elements to keep up the maintenance of it. depending on your time and patience - but its not something that you just love for leave it.

Tourism SEO What You Need to Know and Common Myths

Before we get started on these fixes in this video, I do want to mention a few important Myths about SEO and also some education because I can guarantee you have probably thought about these things, or had discussions with agencies or partners you've worked with.

Common thing I hear is:  "I don't know anything about SEO but I know I need it."  Education will help you feel much more comfortable with your travel SEO it is not a wall of smoke and mirrors. 

What is SEO? In simple terms please!

The practice of Increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search results. Notice how I didn't just say Quantity -- you want good quality too, because you want readers who don't just land and then bounce off quickly and a better chance is that they are going to buy. and you get a better quality rating by Google.

Here's a great analogy: SEO is like a subway system - each website is a station and the search engine is like a subway car that moves between the stations and stores information - it is one part of a larger system.

Why Bother With SEO? -- Instead of Doing Other Marketing Strategies

Three damn good reasons: 
1.  MORE THAN half of site traffic comes from Organic Search
2. Over 40% of all Online revenue is captured by search traffic

3. And you can save a tonne of money on paid ads (over time) and become less reliant on them.
​Tourism SEO can pay out for you long term with the future health of your brand.

Important SEO Goals: 

- We want to please the search engines so we can get maximize our visibility, this means working alongside GOOGLE --and they know every trick in the book that has been used to cut corners (I have learned the hard way and hired businesses who cut corners to get results) -- meaning SEO takes time - it also takes continous effort- experimentation and how to navigate around the rules and regs.
Please trust me on this one --- getting penalized by Google will be the worst thing that could happen to a business if you don't follow the rules. - I have seen it in the tourism industry and it can HURT your business.

SEO MYTHS - Get these out of your mind! 


1. SEO growth can be fast - no not true. And you want good, quality and lasting SEO for your business. As well,  there are alot of different elements to SEO On page, On Site, and Off page - so there are alot of different strategies and tactics and it requires trying some things.

2. I have to be the top listing on Google to grow my traffic and visility - That is not true at all -- getting to first page should be a top goal, however there are a number of areas on Google in particular to get visibiltiy - SEarch engine results page, there is also the Featured snippets section, People also ask section, and the knowledge panel on the RHS

-- and let's not forget your Google My Business Profile - can play a big role with improving your ranking overall. 

3. The Top volume keywords are the best words - not true at all -- And if you choose a key word that is good - it doesn't mean you can rank for it, because you have to look at the competitors and their Domain Authority of the other site. You can beat out your competition with also using related keywords throughout your content - don't worry I will share what this all means in my future videos.

4. ROI for SEO can't be meansured that is why I don't invest in it. Wrong -- Yes there is -- and it requires looking at your data and coming up with goals in advance (improving your organic clicks) - However it isn't as easy to see as say paid search. 

What are your views on yourTourism SEO? Do you share these views or have a different point of view.

Let us know in the comments! 

Missed a SEO training video? Watch the other SEO videos here: 


Video 2: Tourism SEO missed steps by most companies

Video 3: How to do an effective keyword search

image of webtraffic growing as a result of SEO

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Improve Your TripAdvisor Profile Page to Attract More Guests

If you haven’t noticed it yet, TripAdvisor is still the KING of tourism review sites. (and Google reviews is close behind) Despite all the other travel sites and apps that help travelers make decisions and book travel service, globally, TripAdvisor is still the largest with 490 million unique visitors per month – that is bigger than the entire population of South America! And with 790 million reviews on the platform, your guests use this as their top trusted source. Some tourism brands don't realize that the more you OPTIMIZE your TripAdvisor profile page, the better you can attract better and more guests to your business.  Yes, you have some control of your reviews on this platform. 

tripadvisor platform image

Goals for Your Best TripAdvisor Profile Page

Merely putting up a profile without any thought ISN'T going to grow your business, but treating your profile as a marketing resource will. Your goals for your TripAdvisor profile page are similar to the ones you have on How to Write a Better Google my Business Profile

You want:  

  1. To build trust fast with the travelers landing on and reading your profile.
  2. To attract guests by inspiring them – not just by telling them what you do, but why and how you do it. 

  3. To ensure your potential guests can find you where your competitors are and effectively persuade them with your profile.

 

A. How to Write a Better TripAdvisor Profile to Attract Guests  

   

     1. Research your competitors – Find out what categories they are in and read their reviews. What do their past guests say about their business? What words do they use to describe the things they like about their business? What keywords do they utilize in their profile description? Gather this information to understand them better and have a glimpse of the strengths you can apply to your profile. Also do your own keyword research in your category.  (By the way, I use the keysearch my favorite SEO and keyword tool. You can get a 20% discount off using this link and my code: KSDISC)  

      2. Choose categories – Don’t do this randomly; choose the groupings that best describe your business and are in-line with your competitors’ categories. You will rank according to the categories that you choose, and the best way to be found is to put yourself next to your competitive set. 

     3. Write your profile in your guests’ point of view – Write to them directly, as though you are talking to them. You only have a maximum of 160 words to persuade them, so remember to: 

     a.  Write in the second person in your copy. Refer to your reader as 'you' and speak to them directly, as though they were the only ones reading your text. Consumers are looking for “what’s in it for me” when seeking solutions to their travel needs, so bring them into your message by being direct and personal. 

    b. Determine your target guests’ needs and include how you can help them. Include keywords essential for your target guest (e.g. safety, reliable, years of experience, served 1000’s of happy guests).

     c. Incorporate the experiences and feelings your guests had using your service. How do you make them feel? The more emotional you can explain this, the more effective you will persuade them. Use ‘feeling’ words to describe what you do. (i.e., happy, fun, exciting, unforgettable, exhilarating) Don't use adjectives like beautiful, wonderful - these are meaningliess 

   4. Include your passion and purpose – share why you are in this business because many potential guests will appreciate where you are coming from.

  Share your strengths -Bring into your profile something to entice your reader, like sharing how you do what you do. 

*Important note: Do not write the same copy as your other profiles on your website or other social media. Google will see duplicate content, and it will favor the content from the higher domain authority source, which is TripAdvisor. Change and adjust the words slightly for each profile you write. 

B. How to Find and Choose Your Best Photos  

 Even before your potential guests read your profile, your photos are the #1 way you can introduce them to your business. This is why I recommend you seek to get the best, most compelling, and professional photos. This is especially important for your main profile photo. You can hire a photographer or a travel blogger/content creator who takes excellent photos. Or better yet, why not ​up your game by learning how to take better photos?

When choosing photos to use, remember to:

  • Choose pictures that will entice your guests the most. Highlight your best features. Do you have a beautiful lobby, an outdoor pool, or a lovely garden? For tours or attractions, show a picture that best represents your tour and shows your guests enjoying the services. Also, don’t forget to get feedback from your past guests.
  • Include bright, high-quality images instead of dark, blurry, or busy images.
  • Select some pictures that can show the uniqueness of your business. For instance, your purpose and how you run your business, your company’s key to competitive advantage, etc. For potential guests to understand you better, share pictures of your staff or of anything that shows your business’ purpose and meaning, such as an image of your mission statement. This approach is an excellent way for potential guests to connect with you on a level just beyond what all your competitors do – market by standard features and benefits – which can be easily copied.  Here are some more tips on how to take better photos.
  • Check out TripAdvisor’s photo analysis feature. Did they choose the top photo that your target guests wanted? Also, be sure you track the engagement of your photos every month; you can do this in TripAdvisor Analytics if you have a business advantage subscription.    

C. Understand How Rankings Work on TripAdvisor to Get on the 1st Page of Your Category 

You can improve your ranking on TripAdvisor if you pay attention to their three ranking factors:

  • Age or Recency of Reviews
  • Quality of Reviews
  • Quantity of Reviews

Note: The age and quality of reviews are far more critical than their quantity. You can learn more about these three factors and how to improve them here. 

D.  Answer All Your Reviews and Earn Trust and Respect From Your Guests

 When you answer positive reviews, it allows you to show your excellent service and highlight the various qualities of your business. When you answer negative reviews, it helps your readers see your professionalism and builds their respect towards you, which can turn them into guests. Our online course can provide you with the exact templates and tips on how to answer reviews to win over more guests. 

E. ASK for Reviews From Every Guest

 When you ask for reviews from every guest AND you are persistent at it, you will get more reviews, which will increase your TripAdvisor ranking. How to ask for reviews and improve your ranking? You can find the exact steps on who, when, and how to ask for reviews here

F. Use Your Reviews in Your Marketing

 There is no better way to convince future guests to buy your services than to show them your reviews. This includes using your reviews on the homepage of your website, in your ads, email marketing, and Facebook posts. The more you share what other people think about your business, the better you can turn lookers into bookers.

G. Continually Update and Analyze Your TripAdvisor Profile  

 Just like your website, your profile is never done. Review what your competitors are doing, read the reviews of their guests and what they are saying about their business, and update your photos. The more you learn about your target guests, the more relevant your copy and communications will be.

 What are your best tips for managing your TripAdvisor Profile? For more information on improving your reviews, you can find more resources here.

Note: This is post includes an affiliate link to Keysearch a keyword search tool we use for all our SEO.  We will receive a small commission if you decide to purchase it with this link. We only recommend products that we like and use on our own business.

image of tripadvisor profile page

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Your About Page: The Secret Weapon to Build Trust and Future Sales

Guess what? Your about page is likely in the top 3 of all viewed pages on your website - because travelers want to know about the people behind your business. So why do few travel brands capitalize on it? 

Let’s admit it: who likes to write about themselves anyways? After all, didn’t your mother and everyone you know tell you not to brag and talk about yourself? What about going to a job interview and being asked to summarize who you are and your experience? Where do you start?

For some businesses, this is where an About Us page gets avoided or becomes a summarized resume page – and neither is useful for your business.

You, on the other hand, have a significant competitive advantage ready to be utilized. I promise your About Us page can help your business earn trust. Not only does your About Us page share who you are and what you do, but it can also be an official page to build trust, which is the key to converting readers into buyers of your tourism products and services.

Why Your About Us Page Is a Secret Weapon For Your Tourism Business

1. It has traffic – a lot of traffic. Actually, it is one of the most viewed pages on websites. Whether you run a personal website, blog, or corporate site, this page is essential because it has traffic. The better the copy, the more it will benefit your business.

Think about it: when you are searching for a business that you don’t know about, usually you want to get a sense of what they are about and who the people are behind it; your About Us page is the place to find this information. So please, make it visible.

If you have an About Us page now, and it’s full of corporate fluff and is focused on what you do and your benefits, it isn't going to work for you. So read on and find out how to make it compelling for your business.

2. It helps people EVALUATE you on a different level compared to your Home Page. People want to buy from people they like and share their beliefs.  

3. It serves as a significant component in building trust, and when you build trust, you move potential guests down the funnel – meaning you move them from being lookers to bookers. When you create this page, it sets you up to take advantage of the content for so many aspects of your marketing communications.  

4. It saves you time and effort. Once you create this page, you can use and reuse the copy you developed in your marketing and communications. 

**Please don't make this mistake: some businesses take their About Us page entirely off the website’s top navigation because it is not deemed necessary compared to the other sales-driven pages on their website. Please keep it up there, and I'll explain further.

Your About Us page is about you and your brand through the eyes of your target guests.

A. Your goals for writing your About Us Page

  1. It is written in a way that your target guests can relate to you. 
  2. Perhaps they admire what you are doing, or you have shared values and beliefs, or you have made massive changes in your life to live the way you want on your terms. You want the reaction to be, "Wow, I can relate to that Dorene, she totally gets me."
  3. You write it in a way that conveniently answers the questions they probably have about your business (ie. those that addresses their needs).
  4. Your About Us page uses story-telling to share stories about you. Story-telling is one of the most powerful ways to explain anything. In travel, it is one of the most compelling ways to talk about your services, your business, and the experiences of your guests.
  5. Talk about your purpose in a bit of a different way – it is uber-powerful, too!
  6. It is not written like a resume; rather, it is written like you are talking to a friend you haven't seen for say 15 years and catching up on everything and sharing what you are deeply passionate about. If your About Us page isn't done correctly, it comes off as corporate and useless.

So, as your potential guest reads about you, they are validating if you and your business can help THEM.

B. How to Write Your About Us Page

There are several great learnings here taken from the amazing Marie Forleo in her course, The Copy Cure. These examples are proven and demonstrated by many successful businesses, including ones in the travel industry (see examples below). Please, if you write this super corporate – and say we are so and so the company and we deliver a high-quality experience to our guests blah, blah blah, you are only wasting your time.  

There is a couple of ways you can structure your page

1. BACKSTORY

It can be a backstory about you (or “we’ your company), which leads you to why you started this business. 

The key is that it should be an exciting story that your target guests could be interested in or admire.

You can use an Ah-Ha moment as the way to tell your story. What were some challenges you faced while developing your company? How did this discovery shape what you are today?

For example: If you say you were tired of the corporate world, and you had to get out, so you decided to start bed and breakfast, it won't cut it. However, if you had some major struggles that compelled you to create and do something you are passionate about and believe in – now that is golden!

2. Passion Story/Change Story

This is about how you evolved as a company. There is no shame in admitting that your business has changed, or personally, you, as well as the ideas you’ve adopted, have changed since you began.

When you have a story about your Passion for doing better, being a better human being, helping others, becoming a better person, realizing your business was going this way but you decided to change it – these are admirable traits that are respected by potential guests.

Whatever you choose: hit the Emotions. Remember how we want to connect with feelings here? So, tell your story and the struggles you faced. Explain how you felt and what you did to overcome them.

What Content Should You Include in Your About Us Page

1. The best About Us pages START WITH WHY. Your purpose is an absolute must-have. It can be woven into your story or included upfront. It can be written as a statement, or you can include some additional context like how you do it. You can also write this as a mission statement. Further, you can include whats and hows (e.g. We believe that _______so that ________). The important thing is that it is visible and easy to follow.

2. Who do you serve? Talk about your target guests – their issues and how you help them and try to weave it within your story. 

3. Add a Call to Action at the end. We want to leave them with something to do and to think about. Now, to figure out what your CTA should be, start by asking yourself, why is my potential customer visiting my About Us page? How can I help them get the information and solution they want the most? Perhaps, it’s downloading a free tool or an eBook, joining your email list or Facebook group, or contacting you to learn more about your business.  

4. Your Staff – Highlight your staff and include pictures of you all. You can include a bio or a fun fact about each of them. Better yet, you can interview them and include a phrase like: "why do they love to go to work every morning”.

5. Facts and Credentials – These are optional and can be included if they fit naturally. Here you add in things about your career, your experience in life that led you to create or build your business. It can include awards and credentials, case studies, and testimonials. But be careful not to lead with it; it should be a part of the story, a way to say:

“Hey we created this, this is why, how we do it and by the way, we are getting recognized for our great work.” These additions can back up your credibility. 

Also, include things like the awards and accreditations you received as a travel company. For example: Trip advisor, industry acclamations, and designations and associations (but these play a lower profile).

6. You can also show your personality. It is ok to share a few of your quirky and unusual interests and passion, as long as it's a super minor part of it.

Three Types of Frameworks for Your About Us Page

OPTION #1: The simplistic, story-telling, and preferred structure. Use bold subheads and some simple design elements. The goal here is to lead into your why and who you are. Use pictures to tell the story – show the struggle you had and the solution you took to overcome.   

OPTION#2: The FAQ, frequently asked questions, or a Q and A format. This format is excellent for supplying in all the random things you know people want to know about you and your company. It's also an ingenious way to bypass the writer's block because it is easy for us to answer questions. I've seen some travel brands use this for group tours because there are often so many questions your guest has about the group, the amenities, and locations, that it may be easier to create a bulleted list of information.

OPTION #3: So there's a reason that the 25 things you don't know about me meme were such a big hit. Lists are effortless to write and often entertaining to read as long as they address the needs of your guests, but if they aren’t written well, they tend to feel braggy. This method is not my preferred method, but if you have a quirky brand and can get some copyrighting help, this page could come off as very unique. 

Looking for some inspiration from some great About Us Pages? 

Here are a few pages that are fantastically written and uphold some if not all of the elements we discussed in this article.

Impulse Travel - These guys are clear on their purpose and explain it well, I like the drop down menu of how they break it down and how its easy to read in sections

Taste of Thailand Food Tours  - These guys state their purpose up front and they even include a infographic of their values. 

Pure Trek Canyoning - They state their mission upfront with a video and the owners story - it's well done.

Southwest Airlines -  These guys are the kings of purpose driven companies, which is why their about page is written well, its a big company so its done alot differently and worth looking at. 

Send us a note and let us know how you are getting along with writing your secret weapon - Your About Page?  How did these tips work for you?  You can reach out to us here. 

* note: Resource:  Marie Forleo's Copy Cure course that has been roadtested on many travel brands.

What are your best tips for writing your About Us page? Looking for more help with your marketing? You can find more tips here. 

top secret image - your about page - the key to trust

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Why You Should Take Google Seriously for Your Business

Image of all the products of google

As a tourism owner and operator, how do you leverage Google in your business?

Some of you may be using Google Suite or Google My Business. It’s also possible you are buying Google ads to improve your search rankings. Well, guess what? Lots of changes have taken place in Google in the travel place. Now is the time that you should take Google seriously for your business, so you can prepare for the impact it may have on tourism in the future.

The Traveler is the Center of Your Business, Here's How Google Focuses on Travelers.

Google has publicly announced their main goals for their tourism products. Here’s the rundown: 

  • Google made it very clear that they want to play a role in the entire traveler journey – from searching for information to booking everything – flights, hotels, tours, etc. They want to be a trusted resource and to make the entire process smooth and seamless.
  • They want to eliminate the stress of travel planning by making it easy for users to plan all aspects of their trip. They do this by employing a functional user experience using a full set of information to help users come up with a decision.
  • They extend full support to users across the entire journey – and since they often search several pieces of data over a period of time, they help users pick up where they left off. 
  • Google wants to capitalize on the massive increase in travel search queries. These are the “near me” searches of travelers (typed or verbal searches for hotels near me, restaurants near me, or attractions near me). These kinds of searches are growing 6x faster than any other information search. 

 

The Challenge for Every Tourism Business Including Yours?

The Guest’s Journey to Purchase

Google recognizes the most challenging part of the travel business – understanding the buyers’ journey to purchase because it’s different for everyone.

As a travel business, you have this challenge, too. For instance, one potential guest may book within 10 minutes of finding you, while others may take weeks or even months. They search with many different devices across many different platforms and websites.

When will they book? That is the biggest question. So, Google wants to find a way to anticipate this process and understand the intent of their trip planning. Anticipating their intent will allow travelers to book easily, efficiently, and quickly! All the information will be at their disposal, so it’s more convenient for them to press that purchase button.

How Google Travel Products Evolved and What You Need to Know

1. Google Travel Replaced Google Trips 

Google Flights Logo

Google Trips has now shut down and became Google Travel – a platform that includes Google Flights and Google Hotels. These are Metasearch products because they let the traveler choose between different flight and hotel options offered by many airline and hotel partners.

A. Google Flights Enhancements

With over six years in marketing, Google Flights is a significant player in flight bookings. Recently, they added some new features to make booking easier, allow guests to see the best prices, and ease the pain of flight delays. For instance, a new feature shows travelers if the price for a flight is low, medium, or high according to its usual price. Another feature shows if the flight price is likely to drop before the plane takes off.

Because of the vast amounts of data and machine learning, Google can now show the traveler whether the flight will be delayed or not. While this is not new, they can even predict this before the airlines or airport authorities do. As if this isn’t enough yet, they can also indicate the reason for the delay.  This way, travelers get accurate, detailed and specific information without ever having to leave Google!

B. Google Hotel Search

Google is now the leading brand in metasearch for hotels. Now, more than ¾ of all travelers use metasearch or hotel comparisons in their search process. In a short time, it’s beating out the likes of Kayak, Trivago, and HotelsCombined. The benefit of metasearch is it gives you the ability to search for a range of options without ever leaving your browser.

Implications for Your Business

Are Google Flights changing the behavior of travelers forever? Well, it’s no doubt they raised the bar on data and information, which makes pricing more critical than ever. How will this change the technology landscape for booking all the travelers’ needs?  What will happen to the big players like Priceline and Expedia? 

If you’re a hotel operator but aren’t working with Metasearch engines, you’re clearly missing out on what your guests are using to book hotels. As consumers, they want the easy way, so comparisons will greatly help them make a decision. As a result of Google’s dominance, the landscape of players will shift and change, so it’s ideal to look at a balanced approach of participation across different options.

OTAs are adapting to the change and putting more money into building their brands. Now, what impact will this have on commissions and players in the market?

2. Reserve With Google 

A service changing the way we do reservations: Reserve with Google.

If you haven’t heard about Reserve with Google yet, now’s a good time to take a look at this. Reserve with Google is a service that enables consumers to find and book appointments, classes and event tickets directly through regular Google Search, Google Assistant, and Google Maps.

 As a user, you can book and pay for a service without the need to call the business or leave your browser! What a timesaver, right? While this service isn’t available everywhere yet, you can bet it's going to change the booking landscape!

Implications for Your Business

Reserve with Google is capitalizing heavily on the growth of ‘near me’ queries. Google works with suppliers and partners to offer the service, so how will it impact your business? How can you participate in Google Reserve? Although it is yet to be available everywhere, you do need an account with Google and scheduling software. Don’t you think it’s about time to check it out? As the cliché goes, “the early bird catches the worm”, so get involved early! Check out Reserve with Google and find out more. 

 

3. Touring Bird  

An app that can help you market your products: Touring Bird.

What was once an experiment in the Google Labs of Area 120, Touring Bird is now a full-fledged app that aggregates content from many OTAs in over 200 locations around the world. They even hired bloggers to develop thousands of pages of local content. Amazing, right? And now that this project is a heavily-invested product of Google, it’ll be wise to watch and see how this business grows.

Why not check out Touring Bird and see where and what activities they are promoting?

Implications for Your Business

Here’s the question for you: are you represented on Touring Bird through your OTAs? If yes, how are your products presented and marketed? And if not, why not? Do you know their criteria for choosing their products? Ask your partners how you can be included.

Google is working with OTAs, and at the same time, they are also cutting away at the share of their primary businesses. Since OTAs are starting to invest more in branding to build awareness and trust with travelers, it's going to be really interesting to see who stays on top of tour and attraction booking!

4. Google My Business Changes

Google My Business Logo

First things first, Google My Business should be your priority. Designed for business owners, Google My Business lets you have more control of what appears on Google Search and Maps when someone searches for your business name. 

Did you know that among the different generations, Millennials (those born in years 1981-1996) use Google the most for travel reviews? Even if Millennials aren’t your primary target, time doesn’t standstill. They’re growing up and becoming parents and continue to be a powerful travel spending force. It’s also interesting to note that many of them prioritize travel ahead of buying a home!

So if you don't have a business listing in Google, what are you waiting for?


Google recently announced some new marketing tools to improve your branding and allow travelers to find you more easily. These elements are slowly rolling out in locations around the world.  

These features allow you to highlight your business better and market it to your prospective travelers.

a. A new carousel/slide show that lets you show off your pictures to online searchers with the ability to add captions soon. We all agree that great pictures are one of the best ways to capture attention.

 b. Local favorites – This is a way to make your business stand out. Imagine your business having a favorite local business badge, which, by the way, is only awarded to the top 5% of the businesses in a category! It would be like having a Certificate of Excellence on TripAdvisor! The sad part is that at this point, Google is very vague on the criteria for qualification (see implications for your business below). 

c. New short URL or nickname – A shortened @name feature was added which allows you to shorten your name for improved searchability on Google Maps.  Currently, you can apply for your new shortened name if you wish. Of course, we aren’t sure of the full impact of this new feature yet, but anything that helps with better visibility is a good thing, don’t you think?

d. Add a logo to your business profile in the upper right part of your profile. I haven’t seen this feature yet, so why not check your listing and add your logo if you can? Remember, any opportunity to improve your visibility and branding would benefit your business

e. Welcome offers — These can be sent to customers/prospects. They are basically ads, but it would be worth to test if it brings in additional traffic. Perhaps you could communicate something that you already offer? After all, there’s no harm in trying this.

f. Marketing and promotional assets — Google is launching a new site to create and order posters, stickers, and other promotional assets. I’m not sure about this one, but this would be something you could develop yourself.

Implications for Your Business: 

Indeed, a lot is going on with Google products, and Google My Business should be at the top of your list. 

There’s no doubt in my mind that Google will favor brands that have an active and successful Google My Business profile. So remember this: given the plethora of other travel products, having a good standing with Google and ranking on your website will only benefit your business!

This means you need to: 

  • Ask for reviews from your guests on Google, not just on TripAdvisor.  
  • For tips on how to do this, we have loads of suggestions on improving your reviews in our Free Ebook. You can download it here or take it a step further and take our Mastering Reviews Course.    
  • Update your profile and pictures regularly and include the top images of your services, staff, and guests.
  • Take advantage of these newly released branding and promotional tools – try and test them out!

If you don’t have a Google My Business account, please sign up now as it takes time to validate your business (as long as you have an office/physical location of some kind). Do note the following:

  • You cannot include a pick-up point address as it must be a physical address.
  • Your business cannot be 100% online.

GMB is free, and it’ll grow awareness of your business even more so after this recent news.

Do you feel a little more current on what’s happening with the powerhouse Google in the travel industry? Do you see its potential impact on your business now? Get your Google My Business reviews in good standing with this course.   To find more industry news, tips, and trends, check out our previous posts here. 

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