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Writing great website content

Sell more tours with better writing

  Written By Alex Hopson

  May 17, 2016

There's several factors that will help you sell more tours on your website. This is a short guide that will show you both what to write about and how to write effectively on the web. In no time you'll be writing content that draws people in and will turn browsers into buyers.

The short version is this; make sure you provide useful information in an interesting way and try to engage visitors while showing your unique strengths. The slightly longer version is below...

What do people look for in a tour

You need to consider what people are looking to learn about your tours, what questions they may have. You should expect that most web site visitors are looking at your competitors, so it's essential to differentiate yourself and explain why they should go on tour with you.

Here's a few of the most common tasks that someone looking for a tour wants to achieve, when you write a tour description ask yourself whether you have addressed each point.

Where does the tour visit. A clear itinerary or map should instantly answer this question.

What are the key details of the tour. Dates, prices and availability must be clearly displayed.

Compare tours – both comparing between your tours and other companies tours. If you don't present the key information clearly and in a way that's easy to compare with other tours you won't make the shortlist.

Find a more suitable tour – perhaps the tour they're looking at isn't quite right for them, but if you have links to related tours then visitors will look there before they turn to another website.

Find a tour company that suits them – make sure people know what makes your tours special whether that's small groups, adventurous tours or responsible travel.

Make sure users can easily see all key information on a tour, and try to answer any questions they're likely to have.

What sells tours

There's a lot of factors that will decide whether someone goes on a tour and among them are how you position and describe your tours. Your text needs to inspire your visitors' passion, you need to sell not only your tours and destinations but your company itself.

If you want your description to stand out you need to evoke a sense of being there. Once someone starts placing themselves in the steps of someone on your tour they will start to get hooked. Photos showing actual guests on tour, trekking or cycling through an exotic locale will help.

When you describe your tours, use sensory words to help the reader visualise themselves on the trip, for example consider these two examples:

Our safaris include breakfast, lunch and dinner throughout the journey through the the Serengeti

Wake up to the small of fresh coffee each morning, enjoy lunch under the shade of an acacia tree as you look out over the vast expanse of the Serengeti. Watch the sun set in a blaze of red and yellow as you dine on the edge of the Ngorogoro crater.

Address your visitors directly, use the word 'you' when talking about your clients, as if you were talking to them personally. This is a trick that has been used for decades as it's been proven to increase sales. Every time you go to write 'our guests loved this part of the tour' try 'you'll love this part of the tour' instead.

By using more direct phrasing and evoking the senses of sight and smell rather than listing out details you can draw in your audience.

Contrary to writing evocative prose is the necessity to to ensure that the text flows well and isn't overly long, as always it's a delicate balance. One thing that you should do is avoid the overuse of sales talk, customers will see through it and will think of you. If you stick to presenting the tour factually and in an interesting way that should be all the encouragement your visitors need.

A lot of tour companies have very similar itineraries, and when someone sees similar tours they'll end up comparing you on price over anything else. Last year I was looking to visit Iran, I found three companies with tours on the dates I wanted, they all had basically the same itinerary and level of comfort. I ended up choosing the Iranian company as their prices were half that of the UK companies. If one of the British companies had offered a compelling reason to use them I would have considered paying what they were asking.

Dealing with short attention spans

It's a well known fact that web browsers usually just scan content and only read it properly if they are drawn in. So you need to ensure that visitors to your website can scan the page and come away with an understanding of both your tour and your company.

Users won't care about everything you say, so let them quickly find what they are interested in so they can read that. Here's a few ideas how to do that:

Make sure you place important information near the top of the page, key facts like tour dates and prices ahould be prominently displayed.

Use bullet points to summarise key points.

Carefully split your content into logical sections, each with a descriptive heading.

Use bold text and large drop quotes to highlight the most important phrases. For example if you're talking about a tour make sure you highlight each place you visit and each activity.

Make sure the user can quickly do what they want to. If someone is looking to book a tour, for example make sure there is a prominent call to action for 'booking this tour'.

Where possible link text to other relevant pages and tours on your site, it helps users get to what they want quickly and it's great for SEO.

Keep paragraphs and sentences short.

Avoid repeating yourself.

Inspire trust

If you were going to pay thousands of pounds to a company for something you wouldn't see for months you would want to be sure you could trust that company. If you don't look trustworthy people won't use you.

So how do you inspire trust? You need to establish your tour company and you need to make sure your website looks suitably professional. I've seen tour operator websites selling luxury holidays for tens of thousands of pounds that look like a monkey has been let loose with a keyboard.

If you are a reputbale tour company you need to show that, even if you are not in the luxury market, if your website looks like it's outdated or cheap people will start losing trust. And make sure there are no dates for tours in the past as people will start to question if you're still in business.

As for the content, one of the most important trust signals is to use genuine reviews from your clients. Ideally with photos of them on the actual tour. If people see other people have enjoyed your tours then they will start to feel more confident about your services.

If you are a member of a travel protection scheme like TTA, ATOL or ABTA make sure that their logos are clearly emblazoned on every page. In a world where high street names like Woolworth and BHS have failed this will give users some very real reassurance.

A few more web writing tips

Remember that users usually don't land on the home page, so make sure every page shows what a great tours you offer and what make your company special.

If you sell (or hope to sell) a lot of tours to non English speakers then keep the language simple so it's easy to understand. You might also consider getting the site translated if non-English speakers are a significant portion of your tour guests.

Don't forget Search Engine Optimisation, your content is a crucial part of any SEO strategy so make sure you use key words and phrases throughout the content. You should use words that people will search for in preference to other related words/phrases. For example people will search for 'cheap tours' but are unlikely to search for 'cost effective tours'

Make sure that each page has prominent calls to action for what you want the visitor to do, e.g. 'book tour now' or 'ask a question' buttons.

When you're checking what you've written try reading it aloud, or change the font this will help your mind treat it as new. Better still still get someone else to read over it.

The final word

Writing about a tour can a balancing between several opposing factors, it's important to write descriptive and evocative text, but still you need to keep the text concise enough that it isn't overwhelming.

You'll also want to ensure that you have considered search engine optimisation, but not at the cost of making the text unreadable. Search Engine Optimisation is a whole topic on it's own, we written about it before, try these articles; Boost the online bookings of your travel company with SEO and Shaping a Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) plan for tour operators.

The Travel Web Design Agency is run by people who are passionate about travel and the web which is why we know what it takes to make a successful tour operator website. We can help with everything from design to promotion, and of course we also write content.

If you want a captivating travel web site then call us now.


 The Travel Web Design Blog

Article written by:

Alex Hopson

Alex's goal is to help the clients of The Travel Web Design Agency turn more browsers into buyers. This article is just a small portion of the knowledge and experience that helps our clients grow.

He's been creating websites since the nineties – before most people were even online! As a perpetual traveller he has first hand experience of what people are thinking when they're booking a tour. And as someone who has worked with the travel industry from his very first professional website he understands what tour operators need to suceed in today’s competitive market.

Are you looking to fill up your tours? If so, you need to call the experts.

If you are interested in a new website for your travel business, contact The Travel Web Design Agency.