Should I Have a Website to Market My Tours and Activities?
Before going through the ordeal of investing time and money into a website, let's be clear about:
- Why get a website?
- Who should and who shouldn't have a website?
- What are the best ways to get a professional looking website with as little effort as possible?
- Which website provider should I choose?
Why get a website for tour operators and activity providers?
A website is at a worst case 'an online business card' for your tours, activities and experiences - or at the best case, your complete marketing engine for your business. At a worst case, consumers may come across your business online (through social media, reviews and word of mouth) and then search to find out more before coming across your website. Your website can be a great way to educate prospective customers on what you offer and playing part of the conversation. Potentially impact the decision to work with you.
At a best case, your website, if done correctly, can transform your business and turn you from busy, to having to hire teams of people. Let's be clear though. That's not easy. It's not an overnight success. And it requires a bunch of work to get your website to drive the levels of business we're talking about.
The question of whether you should have a website, depends on your goals from the above spectrum. When you answer what the purpose of your website is, then you can decide what level of investment will be required to set your website up.
Who should and who shouldn't get a website?
I'm setting up a new business, is a website for me? If you're new and just starting out, a website is a first step to getting set up. But don't expect it to be a 'build it and they'll come'. Very few have this success. In fact, those who do 'seem' to have that success, have often spent long hard hours putting effort in to making their websites attract visitors and drive business. Building a website is just a small step to getting started. From then on, it's much more about how to market that platform to drive your business forwards. I already have enough bookings - is a website for me? Clearly getting a website is a form of marketing. If you're already 100% maxed out with business all year around from your own direct marketing offline, then perhaps a website isn't needed (for those lucky few!). But a website can still enable you to capture reviews and act as a fall-back should bookings drop-off from your current source.
I already get enough bookings from third-parties, should I get a website? If you're currently getting business from third party platforms, a website can be a way to remove a dependency on their bookings to generate more direct bookings. Should the third-parties algorithms change, or commissions increase, at least you have some direct bookings to fall back on and your business hasn't disappeared overnight.
What are the benefits of a website for promoting my tours, activities and experiences?
- Educate prospective customers: Help consumers learn what you offer and how to get involved with you.
- Drive direct business: Help to drive direct bookings and enquiries and reduce dependencies on other sources of business.
- De-risk your business: Have another route to market and potential source of bookings. Websites take a long time to gain authority and so getting one up sooner rather than later, it'll help you later down the line should you need it.
What are the issues with having a website for my tours, activities and experiences?
The hygiene-factors are increasing - i.e. consumers expectations are increasing and it's becoming harder to meet expectations. for example websites need to be super quick, have high quality imagery, need nice marketing copy, easy navigation and if the purpose of your website is to drive bookings, then to take full advantage you'll have to have online booking.
More admin, both set-up and on-gong maintenance - websites can be a pain to set-up and maintain and if not done properly, a poor website could detract from your brand image than add to it.
Cost - With most websites out there, there will be some sort of cost. If not monetary, then at least factor in the couple of hours a month you have to maintain it. Or the much more time you invest if you want to grow it.
How to get a website with minimal effort
The easiest way to get a website with minimal effort for tour operators or activity businesses is either:
1. Use one of the quick and easy website builders with ready made templates
2. Use our one-click website builder for activities and tours . Add your experiences to our software and with the click of a button get a website with your branding, information and have a online booking system on your website all in one. No worries with finding a hosting provider, linking it with your domain name, no technical skills, get a website in minutes. - sorry, this is coming soon, so until then, let us know if you want it and we'll prioritise accordingly!
Which Website provider should I use? Wordpress vs. Wix vs. SquareSpace vs. Others
Having used, and worked with many who have used each of these major website providers, we have some clear views on what the relative merits and downfalls of these website builders are. There are a wealth of website providers and if it's just getting a website up, then SquareSpace and Wix are great ways to do this relatively quickly. But if you have greater aspiration for complexity and building a marketing engine, Wordpress is currently more powerful and flexible. Wordpress Wordpress gives the most amount of flexibility in terms of future integrations, level of complexity and plugins. You can easily optimise it to rank better in Google and you can add e-commerce stores within it. However, for specific customisations, you may need to hire people to help. Try upwork.com for freelancers to help out.
I recommend using Elementor as a brilliant page builder. A word of caution - building and designing your own webpages can become a beast of a challenge and will often take longer than you expect and come out worse that you planned (unless you're an innate designer). Worth using one of their templates and then using the plugin to optimise any customisations you may want.
To bolster online booking, try our online booking software as an easy add-on, that enables you to avoid having to build out (and pay for) a whole e-commerce store, which is when things can become very complicated. Wix Wix is a great way to build a quick website with drag and drop functionality similar to Wordpress. Having used both, Wix seems more limited with less plug-ins but is a relatively easy way to build a quick website.
SquareSpace SquareSpace is the choice for the best looking design. It's built with beautiful design central to it's offering. It's super easy to get a website up
How to get started? Chose from one of the website providers, or Beyonk one-click website builder. If using Beyonk - nothing is needed, just upload your activities here , if using one of the website builders:
- Consider buying a domain name: www.godaddy.com
- Find someone to host your website: https://mangomattermedia.com/web-hosting-uk/
- Link up your website provider to your hosting (they will have separate articles
- Use services like https://www.fiverr.com/ to get logos created
Before you get started, read our articles on how to market your tour or activity company which will inform your domain names, logos and how to set up your website!