Travel/Trekking website owners: 8 ways to improve your website

Tired of seeing poorly designed and maintained trekking websites in Nepal, we decided to share some of our knowledges on how you, as a website owner, can improve your website anf your online marketing. We want you to use this information and take steps to grow your business.

Have you given any efforts after making the website and launching it? There are so much to do just than putting a website online. So much to do. But don’t stress out. Here are few important and easy things you can start doing right now.

1. Start using Google analytics

Integrating Google analytics in your website is very easy. You can simply ask your webmaster for that. But start checking and analysing it yourself. The data that Google analytics collects can tell you so much about your users and what it is they want from your site, how they find it, what pages they read and how they leave.

Though google analytics has a ton of useful features, you don’t have to go deep through all advanced tools. You can study the basic statistics, like:

– from what sources are the traffic coming,
– from which locations are they coming,
– what keywords are used to build traffic,
– which pages are visited mostly,
– how long do they stay on any specific page,
– where do the visitors click mostly,
– from which pages visitors leave mostly,
– etc.

If you can interpret the data properly, you can edit your website contents to achieve your objectives more efficiently.

For example if you see Annapurna base camp treks is visited mostly, you can update the page with more useful and fresh contents, or you can try providing special offers and highlighting booking buttons on that page.

2. Be active on Social Media

Chances are, you have a Facebook and twitter profile for you company. But how efficiently are you using them?

2 most important things you should do regularly through your social media are:

– Create contents.
– Interact with the users.

Post something at least once in your Facebook page and 2-5 times at least in your twitter page. Connect with all of your customers directly. Recommend destinations, activities, and special deals on social media to generate direct sales and valuable feedback from your audience.

We can write a whole article on social media marketing, but for now here are some quick tips:

Do not be over-promotional.

Don’t try to sell yourself too much. Give value to your audience first. Post useful information like, give latest news from Nepal’s tourism industry. When they start liking you they will contact you themselves 🙂 But yes, promote yourself occasionally. Maybe a seasonal package.

Show what’s happening.

Post an update from a trekking you are operating. Ask your guide to send a picture from the basecamp 🙂 Live update! Or post a photo from a farewell dinner to your guest. Post a photo of you office where your dedicated staff are working hard. Or a casual photo with one of your Sherpa. This will help your audience believe that you are a genuinely real company, and you can be trusted.

Interact but be a person.

Respond to your audiences. Give thanks for following or commenting. Answer the questions. But try to be as human as you can. Communicate with real name if possible. People like talking to person than a machine.

3. Stop selling destinations, Start selling experiences

Everybody is talking about the location, mountain, waterfall, amenities, and luxuries. Good news, your chance to stand out! Instead of selling a package, try to sell a unique and enticing experience.

Stop describing the 8,848 m. altitude, or 500+ species of butterfly. Who doesn’t know about it today, or, who cares about it anyways?

Write something that touches your visitors emotion. Think about why people travel – to relieve stress, learn a new culture, or go on an adventure; Yes, write about these feelings and motivations. Make them feel you understand and deliver to their human aspect.

Stop writing “Journey of your lifetime” in banner of your Everest Base Camp page. People are sick of this line already. What about something like:

“Imagine world’s highest peak so close to you, the rays of sunlight turning it into gold, and the purest air you inhale, and there is no one to disturb you. Wanna feel pure ? This is your chance!”

Ok, that might not be perfect, i just tried 🙂 but you got the idea right ?

Focus on the experience your destination delivers.

While the overall website’s content can be marketed like this, But as a quick steps, what you can do is add some slogans, taglines, a small paragraph in your homepage or packages.

4. Start sending emails

Email marketing is one of the most powerful ways to attract customers back to you. So start making a organised list of your previous customers.

Have you emailed your customers after the returned back to their home?

Since most people go to vacation every year, it’s easy to bring your company to the front of their mind with a carefully timed personal email.You can also make a list of potential customers, the ones who had sent you enquiry through your website, or brochure etc.

Send personalised emails to the list occasionally in right times. Here are some tips:
– Send out a message when a popular vacation season is approaching.
– Offer discounts and special offers via email to keep your list of guests engaged and interested.
– Send seasonal greetings in a festival.
– Send monthly newsletter which includes news from tourism industry, or about the tours you have operated recently.

But remember to write the message as a person, include your name and designation. And again, don’t try to be over-promotional. Sometimes just a “hello, how are you doing?” email can do a magic. 🙂

5. Ask for testimonials

After you arrange a successful vacation to your customer, ask for one of the followings:

– Written testimonial in your guest book.
– Video testimonial

Use them in your website. Highlight them in related package page.
Real people. Real stories. Real reviews. That will help your visitor to build trust on you.

Also, take lots of pictures. Pictures that have lives in it. Include landscapes, your customers, and your guides. Those will be the pictures that tell stories, and those are your proofs, those are the goodwill. Use those pictures in your website.

If possible ask your customer to fill up a feedback form before leaving you, so that they can give you genuine feedback and you can improve your service.

6. Start writing a blog

You don’t feel difficult to update your Facebook status. Right? Then why is it so difficult to update your blog? I’m tired of telling this to my customers. Sigh!

The biggest misconception about blog is that it should have long articles. No, not compulsory.
You might think the blog should be formal, corporate, informative. No, not compulsory.

Blog articles can be anything from a long article about the history of rafting, to the short article about quick information about visa, or just some photographs from your trekking clients who just reached Everest base camp today. I personally like the casual personalised blog posts, yes just like a longer version of a Facebook post.

Any travel-related business benefits from writing a company blog. Blogging lets you keep in touch with guests, provide useful data for customers, and increase your website’s visibility to search engines. Yes, it helps you in climbing the search engine results. Isn’t that a reason good enough to get started NOW ?

Another benefit you can get is customer interaction. Every blog post creates a chance for you to interact with your audience.

7. Make Videos

Video is a trend now. And i don’t think the 1,000s of words in your Rafting page can do the magic that can do a video of your guests bumping over that 4+ rapid in the boat that has your company name. Should i explain more?

Videos add the life in your page. They can bring the chill on your visitors’ spine.

Now you might be thinking, it’s difficult to make videos.

You will need high end equipments, and skills. No. not compulsory. You can just keep taking short videos here and there, from your mobile phone, or handy cam, and merge them later. As long as it is not really bad quality, it is ok.

Or another easy solution is, make a slideshow of photographs.
For example here is one we have done for NTB :
http://mokshastudio.com/work/ntb-promo-videos
( after the intro until 1:00, all photos and texts )

So, set up a YouTube channel for your business right away.

Imagine a candid video: where your trekking guest are enjoying and laughing with your Sherpas on the lap of himalaya, or just a clip of sunrise or sunset, or a clip of rafting guests setting up their gears before rafting.

Yes. be casual, be real, be human. Don’t be too corporate, too formal.

8. Start answering questions in TripAdvisor and LonelyPlanet forums

Sign up in TripAdvisor and LonelyPranet forum with your company name.

http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowForum-g293889-i9243-Nepal.html
http://www.lonelyplanet.com/nepal/forum

Show your expertise. Give answers to the questions there. Those questions are posted by real people from around the world. So it is a great chance to interact with your potential customers.

BUT, beware of promoting your business. They ban you for promoting your business. But don’t worry, that should not be your plan anyways.

Your STRATEGY should be: Providing value, Showing your expertise, Generate interaction, Build trust. Once you will start getting popular, people will look into your profile and chances are they will visit your website 🙂

This is a long term plan and very dedicated work. But it’s cost effective and if done correctly, very high chances of generating traffic to your site.

If you have questions, you can ask below.

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