It is nowadays more important than ever for a tourism and hospitality company to have a strong online presence if you are an entrepreneur or business in tourism, hospitality and travel. In addition to having a great offering for you customer (hotel, guesthouse, restaurant, attraction, etc.) about which people write positive reviews.
Especially if want to grow you business, boost visits and increase income. Also you cannot anymore depend on having links and content on sites of tourism boards, DMOs. Both the search engines – and especially Google – but also your target audience – are rapidly making them less relevant. And the booking sites and huge online travel agencies like Booking and Expedia take away a large chunk of your margins. So creating a strong web presence with a mobile-friendly website as foundation is the way to go if you want to effectively grow visits and enhance sales.
‘No time; limited budget’? Wow, that’s a bad excuse!
Many of us (yes, me too!) have small businesses in tourism, hospitality and travel. Most of us run a lean operation. We focus on urgent matters. Generally only spending money and time on other stuff when we really need to.
However, in today’s connected world it is dangerous for entrepreneurs to think a small business website is a luxury item. Or that we can afford to live without it. Or believe that a Facebook page, Instagram account in combination with a link on the local tourism organisation website is enough. We have news for you: your website should be your number one marketing and sales tool. And not that of the local DMO, online travel agency or booking engine. And you big friend is Google.
The importance of having your own website
Social media may have become very important and is in some cases the most important channels for marketing and sales. However, there is more than enough reason to maintain your own website as the hub of all your marketing activities:
- because you have control and complete ownership over your brand’s identity online and tone of voice, creating credibility and building trust
- moreover, a website is a safe place to store your content: texts, images, whee you centralize all of your business information and marketing messages
- also it enables you to link to your social media channels (and vice versa)
- and nowadays very importantly, your site gets you listed on Google (My Business), TripAdvisor, Booking etc. with your address, phone numbers, contact mail addresses.
Marketing and Sales
So your website drives your marketing and sales:
- it helps potential customers to find you when they are in your destination through local search engine optimisation (Local SEO)
- the site is where potential customers can go to learn about your business
- it is the best place to convert your browsing audience into buying customers by educating them on what you’ve got to offer – your news, your ideas, your products, your services – through video content, blog posts, news updates, you name it!
- you can add opt-ins that allows website visitors to join your subscriber’s list, you can create a database full of interested prospects
- and most importantly: it is a platform to promote and sell your product or service to potential customers with calls-to-action to book, reserve or purchase products or services.
And, as we will see in future posts, your website can also earn you money in other ways. The simplest way is by adding Google Ads.
‘This site makes use of another way of monetizing a website, called affiliate marketing. By adding links to companies selling products, you get a commission for products actually sold through such ‘affiliate’ links. For instance, this website is built with GeneratePress. What you see here is an link which will bring you to GeneratePress. If you continue and buy their Premium plug-in I get a small Fee. This will help me maintain this site by the way. In future posts I will show you how you can make this work for yourself.
A professional website is not expensive. It is affordable and a fundamental tool that every company that wants to grow visits and boost income really needs.
In the next blog posts I will focus on how to set up effective and responsive web- and mobile sites and get improve attracting online AND offline visitors to your business.