Just how much influence does Tripadvisor, OTAs, and social media have on tour bookings? While search engines like Google still drive the majority of traffic, these other platforms are still widely used by a significant portion of U.S. leisure travelers. And particularly older travelers. According to Phocuswright, “when broken down by age, younger travelers (18-34) tend to rely on recommendations from friends and family while older travelers rely mostly on websites.”
As for all age groups, Google Maps is trending upwards in usage, making this a good time to take another look at your online listings. Your listings are often the first place a guest comes in contact with your experience, and first impressions are everything. You have just a few seconds to capture their attention before they scroll on to the next listing. So how do you go about that?
When’s the last time you uploaded new photos to your TripAdvisor or Google listing? And do those photos look similar to the same photos your competitors are posting? Your primary photo should give people an instant idea of what you have to offer but should also show your unique personality. Be intentional and show off the special details that differentiate your tour from all the others.
If you are a frequent poster on social media, go through and find your best performing images on Facebook and Instagram. Whichever photos get the most comments and shares, those are the ones you’ll want to upload to your listing. Make it your goal to refresh your imagery a few times a month. Even better, start uploading posts to Google once a week. “Posts also allow you to include a call to action (CTA) so you can better control what the visitor does after they view your post — creating the ultimate marketing experience.” According to SEO experts, MOZ, who have done research that shows these posts are worth the time and effort.
“Adventure, Unwind, Relax, Explore, Comfort” – these are common buzzwords that tend to lose their meaning in the travel industry. Don’t tell people, show people! Instead of saying "the ultimate adventure", can you paint a picture of what an adventure looks like? Feels like? 80% of purchase decisions are based on emotions versus logic, rational features, or cost. Stories have been shown to make everything from art, wine, hotel rooms, and even everyday products more valuable.
You don’t have to be an expert storyteller to take advantage of this influential tool. One easy way to start increasing the emotional appeal of your listing is by using imagery and figurative language. Describe what prospective guests will get to experience using sensory words and descriptions. What will they see, smell, taste, feel, hear? The senses have a powerful ability to transport us, even through language alone. Use metaphors, idioms, and similes to describe the sensations and feelings your experience offers.
This is a real example that shows the difference – which post stirs up more emotion and anticipation for you?
With social networks almost neck and neck with OTA’s for activity research, you’ll want to make sure you’re leveraging the Instagram locations tag. This is one quick and easy way to get your posts in front of people who are searching for things to do in your area. Use them not only in your posts, but in every Instagram story you share as well. Posts with a tagged location result in 79% higher engagement than posts without a tagged location. It’s the best way to put your business on the map – literally!
Ready to start attracting more guests to your experience? Make sure you have all the necessary booking processes in place. Junglebee makes online bookings a breeze! Direct prospective guests right to your booking page in your online listings to ensure a smooth and easy booking journey.