Why Blog? The Tour Operator’s Guide To Creating a Winning Strategy

If you’re a tour or activity company you might be considering whether you need a blog.  You may think it’s unnecessary as you don’t get many repeat customers or that it’s too much work for such a low return.  Well you’d be wrong.  Having a blog is vital for tourism companies particularly if you own a bike/bicycle, food, boat or bus tour.  Having a consistent blog gives you content to share with customers in emails and on social media, plus contributes to local search results.

Why Blog?

1) A blog helps drive traffic to your website

Having a beautifully designed website without driving traffic to it is like opening a store in the North Pole.  Sure it’s cool…but not many people are going to find it, right?

 

So how do you drive traffic to your website in the tour business.  Well getting listed on popular review sites such as TripAdvisor, Google Business is a great start.  But.  Although these sites are great for increasing your web presence they put you side by side with your competition, making it difficult for you to differentiate.

 

So how does blogging drive traffic to your website?  Think about how many pages there are on your website.  Probably not a lot, right?  You’ve probably done one of two things: got a developer to set it up for you (never touched it since…?) or set it up via something like WordPress.

 

You see with no updates to your website – Google may be forgiven for thinking you’re dead!  Blogging solves this.  Every time you write a blog post, it’s one more indexed page on your website.  It tells Google and other search engines that you are alive and kicking and that they should be regularly checking in to see what content you are publishing.

 

It also helps you get discovered on Social Media.  This is great content for people to share on social networks such as: Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook.

 

So in summary, blogging helps drive traffic to your website, helps search engines discover you and allows you to maximise your presence on social media.

 

2) Turn blog traffic into bookings

 

Now that people are reading your blog you can use this traffic to sell your tours.

 

How do you do this?

 

It’s pretty simple: you add what’s called a “Call to Action” on every blog post.

 

These call to actions could detail your tours, latest discounts, photos of previous trips, etc.

 

This is how the process works:

 

  • Visitor comes to website
  • Visitor sees call-to-action button with a free offer behind it
  • Visitor clicks call-to-action button and gets to a landing page, which contains a form for them to fill out their information (could be a gift voucher or direct to a booking page)
  • Visitors fill out this form, submits information, and receives the offer

 

Remember not everyone who reads your blog will book your tour – and that’s fine!  Nobody converts 100% of the time.  If you create good content that is helpful for your potential customers, it will help establish you as an authority in their eyes.  Remember when an average traveller is looking for things to do they visit 22 websites, they are sponges for this type of information.

 

3) A blog marks you out as a leader

 

The best blogs answer common questions that their customers have.  I might be searching the web for information on the South of Spain or the West Coast of Ireland.  TripAdvisor is useful once I’ve picked the location, but is it really useful in helping me to decide to get there?  For example, last summer I was attending a wedding in France and was keen to spend some time surfing in Northern Spain.  I spent a good deal of time searching on where to go and eventually settled on a small town in Cantabria.  Why?  Well I read a blog post on the area from a surf school and guess what? I booked with them for a full week!  Prior to reading the blog I barely knew where Cantabria was.

 

This is a hard thing to track, how do you find interesting content?  Focussing on what your customers do in the search process is a good place to start.  Ask them:

 

  • How did you hear about us?
  • What did you do to plan your trip?
  • Was there anything you find difficult when organising it?
  • What could’ve helped you have a better experience?

 

This is not just about your tours or activities.  It is also about what else a customer wants to do in your area.  Why should they come at all?  You can inform them about the great things to do and see – of which you are one.

 

4) A blog drives long-term results

 

The big difficulty with using social media and many other forms of sales channels is that takes up a lot of your time and often during business hours.  Sending tweets, updating your Facebook page how do you do this and give a tour?  Well the great thing about blogging is that it continues to work for you long after you’ve written the post.

 

Let’s say you sit down for an hour and write and publish a blog post today.  Let’s say that blog post get’s you 100 views and 10 leads.  You get another 50 views and 5 leads tomorrow as a few more people find it on social media and some of your subscribers get caught up on your email.  After a few days, most of the fanfare from the post dies down and you’ve netted 150 views and 15 leads.

 

This is not the end!

 

That blog post is now ranking in search engines.  That means for days, weeks, months and even years that you can continue to get traffic and bookings from that 1 hour of blogging.

 

What a great way to reach your customers without spending money on expensive adword campaigns targeting international visitors.  Why wouldn’t you try it?

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Olan O'Sullivan
Olan O'Sullivan
CEO at Acteavo
Olan is the CEO and Co-founder of Acteavo. You can follow Olan on Twitter or Linkedin.