By Chris Torres, MD of Senshi Digital
There’s no second chance at a first impression. This old adage is still relevant in the online age.
If your customers’ first experience is online, then your website will tell them everything they need to know about your brand, products and services.
From the first click, the customer will form an impression which can be difficult to change. #
A well-made site can make all the difference, and how you make potential customers feel about your brand should take precedence over the price you pay for it.
The online booker is now king in tour, activities and hotel-based businesses. Users can visit an average of 10 different sites before booking and click away when they become annoyed by the site design. An effective website will convert lookers to bookers.
Key elements you must get right are:
• Consistent brand message across all channels;
• Simple to use design with user friendly navigation;
• Clear design that shows the offers that a customer can expect;
• Multimedia that shows what tourism experiences the site can offer.
With a website that is well designed and accessible on any device, business owners will find that their traffic and bookings increase.
A good online presence is priceless, as a massive amount of online trade is done every minute in the tourism industry.
The Trip Starts with the First Click
Social media is one of the miracles of the modern age for tour providers, especially integrated into the site.
A booking which starts as a business arrangement becomes a shared aspiration in seconds. The best way to be shared – and enjoy the free advertising – is to stand out.
Offer something your customer won’t find elsewhere, from good value to excellent communication and combine them with a great website that broadcasts these factors.
Empower your Guests
It is essential to give customers just the right amount of information to make their decision.
There is a fine balance between not answering their probable questions and giving them far too much information to sift through. Both these options will ultimately lead to the customer going elsewhere.
As the booking approaches, add personal touches such as a phone call or sending more ideas and helpful information. This will help you with advertising through word of mouth and on social media.
It’s also important to tap into the mind of your customers and show them what they are looking for.
Arranging the digital content around their search preferences will ensure that all customers get the targeted information that they are looking for.
For many customers, the day spent on a tour is just one of many in the area and they will be looking for other experiences to fill the time.
Showing them other tours and hotels in the area can be key when it comes to adding more to their tour.
Which Channels are Most Important?
The most important is the web, where bookings are now the norm. Mobile users are catching up. There should be no need for hesitation when it comes to booking on any device.
• Social Media
This has huge value to tourism-based clients, whether they tend to interact with the brand pre, during or post trip.
The number of customers who post pictures or tweet about their experience is staggering and it’s important to know how to take advantage of that.
By inserting your brand into their experience you can ensure that this form of advertising is working for you.
Email creates the most direct and intimate pathway to guests. If they haven’t unsubscribed, they want to hear from you and may be looking for a reason to visit once again.
When it comes to writing your email don’t be tempted to simply take information that’s already on the site.
You want to treat these customers as VIPs and give them special offers and discounts in advance, as this will give them the VIP experience.
In the old days, people used a travel agent. Now they have a wealth of ways to interact with the business.
This has led to an increased number of digital engagements, rather than physical ones, but the customer still looks for the same values.
Look at the digital pathways that customers would use to research and book. Each of these features has to be examined to understand how it contributes to the customer experience.
These all tie into the brand identity that you are crafting as a business owner, I have developed a free brand toolkit that you can use to help determine your brand path and voice.
It is essential to get all these elements right and get your message effectively across all aspects of your business. By doing so, you will create a customer for life.