As the nearly official Napa of the North and with a sprawling, sun-drenched lake in our backyard, Kelowna is home to dozens of businesses in the tourism industry. In this niche, Okanagan websites have to be true workhorses—attracting, welcoming, enticing, informing, reserving, socializing and even goodbye-ing today’s tech savvy tourists.
Fortunately, over the years, our Kelowna marketing company has had the chance to work with a number of local tourism businesses, and we’ve learned first-hand how to help make their Okanagan websites succeed.
“A good place to start is how you perceive your tourism business website. Hint: it’s not just a brochure! Fundamentally, your Kelowna website should be part of your well-trained guest services team. Think of your best staff. How can you make your website more like them? Friendly, patient, helpful, answer questions… always selling, but not in a pushy way.”
– James Shaw, Creative Director, Twin Creek Media
Here are some top tips for capturing more guests, more bookings, more RSVPs, and sparking great word of mouth…
1. Create a powerful and instant emotional appeal
The first screen of the Downtown Marina website kind of says it all: you + high speed boat + expansive beautiful lake and romantic waterfront = an amazing time.
With any website, it should be immediately clear what your business offers, but for tourism businesses, it’s all the more important to do that as well as create a longing for your experience. How do you do that?
- High-resolution photos of the landscape and/or people enjoying themselves.
- Videos also help take your potential guest ‘inside your doors’ to show people exactly how they’ll have a good time.
- Bright colours that reflect your brand and express mood (muted tones for relaxing or bright hues for adventure).
2. Ask site visitors to take the next step
It’s a fact of human nature: Ask people to do something, and they probably will. Okanagan websites showcasing tourism services, then, need plenty of clear calls-to-action (CTA’s) asking site visitors to view rentals, book lessons, or reserve a paddle board, etc.
This example showing the Beach Ave Café rentals page asks site visitors to view the kayak, bike and paddleboard rentals. Although 10 degrees in Peachland, BC today (a bit chilly for paddle boarding since we took this screenshot in March!), the site is helping to streamline the sales process by directing people to make reservations and download the waiver to get the paperwork out of the way before they show up.
3. Make sure your design is responsive.
Tourists do a lot of their trip planning well in advance of their holidays, but many like the freedom of changing their plans as they go, staying a day longer here or there if they find a spot they love. People are online on the go. Whether is it’s in the car or from a restaurant, the amount of people landing on your website using a phone is staggering. Tourism websites get a massive percentage of mobile website traffic – our Kelowna area tourism clients see 50 to 60%. It’s EXTREMELY CRITICAL that your website works flawlessly on phones and tablets.
Let’s say someone Googles ‘Kelowna hotels’ on their phone. With a responsive website—a website that adjusts to suit the user’s screen—site visitors will be able to get the info they need, and, hopefully, be able to tap that ‘BOOK NOW’ button or click to call instantly to talk to someone. Adding a fast way to see a map and get directions is another way to score bonus points with your guests.
Learn more about why it’s so important to have a responsive website in our post 5 Reasons to Redesign Your Site Now.
4. Ask visitors to get social
Vacationers tend to get really, really excited about their trips. And that naturally makes them want to tell everyone they know about the fun and wonderful items on their itinerary. Make it easy for your site visitors to do this incredible advertising for you with easy to spot social share icons for the channels best suited to your business.
5. Track sales with Google Analytics
Keeping with our guest service staff analogy, your website needs it’s own heart-to—heart behind closed doors sometimes. What’s working, what’s not working, and how can you as a manager help them be more successful in their job role. To get the most out of your tourism website, it’s performance needs to be analyzed on a regular basis. Your analytical data is a gold mine—sometimes quite literally.
Which marketing campaigns are working the best? Where should your budget be allocated? Do you know which pages your guests visit most or the least? Do you know where your site visitors live, what language they speak? With Google Analytics and some of its sidekicks (like phone number tracking), you’ll have a clear picture of your target market and measurable data to improve upon.
Once you’ve got these and other website features bringing spend-happy tourists to your door, you can use your website and social media to create campaigns that will generate even more buzz and visits! Watch out for our upcoming posts on tips for awesome tourism marketing campaigns.
Are you looking for a Kelowna marketing company to convert your plain vanilla tourism website into one that’s exciting and selling to your guests? We design Okanagan tourism websites sure to help improve foot traffic and site traffic this season! Fill out our Discovery Document here to get started: http://www.twincreekmedia.com/discovery.php or call 250-762-4001 to make an appointment for fresh coffee and fresh ideas.