If your website is like most tour and attraction websites, 98 of every 100 people who visit your site will leave without spending a dime. If this is you, you’re sitting on a gold mine.
To grow your revenue by as much as 50%, you simply need to convince one more person per 100 site visitors to book something on your site (without decreasing your average order value). Plus, if you’re paying advertising platforms like Facebook and Google to send traffic to your site, that investment will go up to 50% further. And with an improved online experience, your customers will be happier.
Win. Win. Win. 🥳
The math is simple, take a look:
|Conversion Rate||Sessions||Purchases||Average Order Value||Revenue|
|2%||100||2||$100||$200 (per 100 site visitors)|
|3%||100||3||$100||$300 (per 100 site visitors)|
In this article, I’ll give you 9 practical and proven ways to grow your website’s conversion rate.
- Properly Track Conversions in Google Analytics
- Know Your Business Goals and Your User’s Top Needs
- Tell Your Customers “Why” You Exist
- Show Your Experience Through Quality, Seasonal Imagery and Video
- Build Trust With Your Customers
- Create Confidence During the Booking Process
- Cross Sell and Upsell Where It’s Helpful
- Make Sure Your Site is Fast
- Create Urgency and a Sense Of Scarcity
#1: Make sure you’re tracking conversions in Google Analytics
If you’re not tracking conversions in Google Analytics, you won’t know if your efforts to improve conversion rate are working. Of all the steps, this one is the most foundational.
Follow these three steps to confirm that you’re tracking conversion in Google Analytics.
Step 1: Make sure tracking is set up.
Steps to follow: Navigate to the “Conversions” tab in Google Analytics, and click “Overview”. You should see something like this:
Step 2: Add your website and booking engine to your referral exclusion list.
Why it’s important: If you don’t do this most of your conversions will likely be attributed to your website or booking engine.
Steps to follow: To do this, Go to Admin > Tracking Info > Referral Exclusion List and add your website and booking engine URL.
Step 3: Filter out traffic from your staff.
Why it’s important: If you don’t filter out your staff traffic, their sessions will likely dilute or inflate your conversion rate numbers.
Steps to follow: To filter out the traffic from your staff, simply go to Admin > Filters > Add Filter > select “Exclude” and “traffic from the IP addresses”. To find your IP address, just Google “what’s my ip address” and paste in what you see. (Make sure you’re in your office / where your staff work, when you do this.)
#2: Know your business goals/objectives and your audience’s top needs
Having a solid understanding of your business goals combined with what your audience’s top needs are will transform how you think about your website.
Business objectives are specific, measurable goals that align well with what you want to accomplish as a business.
|Poorly Written Goals||Well-Written, Measurable Goals|
|Increase revenue||Grow revenue by 20%.|
|Improve the guest experience||Increase the average revenue per customer by 10%.|
|Make our advertising dollars go further||Maintain a 5x ROAS while maximizing our ad spend based on capacity.|
Audience needs are the things that your audience is trying to get done when they visit your website. Some examples of common audience needs include:
- Book a tour
- See tour pricing
- Read customer reviews
- See any deals for group bookings
- See what you have for different age ranges
- Read your cancellation policy
Once you’ve defined and prioritized what your top goals/objectives and audience needs are, you’ve essentially created a set of parameters you can use to prioritize site optimizations as well as which pages to work on in the first place. If a page or feature lands in the intersection between business goals/objectives and audience needs, it’s probably worth your time.
#3: Articulate your “Why” consistently across your site
“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. What you do serves as proof of what you believe.” – Simon Sinek, Author and Motivational Speaker
I’ve yet to see a tour and activity company that doesn’t at least attempt to explain what their product is. It’s easy to make a list of features and highlights of your tour or experience.
- 10 Ziplines!
- 4-Story high Giant Swing!
- Funny guides
- Beautiful views
What’s a little harder to do, and requires more thought and guidance, is communicating your “Why”. When you communicate your “Why” you start to build real connections with your potential customer. Take a look at this example:
If you had only looked at the “old” version of the homepage and I had asked you “Why would you take your family to Highlands Aerial Park?” you probably would have listed off some facts: “Well, it says it’s North Carolina’s best zipling. They’re located in Highlands. It looks like maybe they’re in the mountains.”
Now, if I asked you the same question about the new site, the answer would be simple: “Because I want something that will be fun for my entire family, from my 5-year-old son to his 73-year-old grandma.” And then, in addition to that, you would still maybe list because the ziplines look awesome, and the tour is in the mountains, etc.
But the key here is that in a few seconds, you know why Highlands Aerial Park exists: To bring adventure to the young and the old, and everyone in between. And if that’s what you’re looking for, their mission will really resonate with you. If all you have are the facts about the course, you might keep researching things to do on your vacation.
#4: Show your experience through quality, seasonal imagery and video
More often than not, a customer’s first interaction with your brand includes visuals like photos. The power of a great photo can do wonders for your business, including establishing credibility, generating excitement, enhancing your brand’s story, and increasing your competitive advantage. It’s undeniable that compelling photography has the potential to be one of your best selling tools and investments. However, far too often, small businesses view professional photography as expendable.
We go into more depth on this important topic, here. But let’s cover a few best practices when it comes to photography:
Relevance: Personal And Relatable
Relevant photos engage viewers. A potential customer should be able to “see themselves” in an image. Use a wide array of ages and demographics if it makes sense for your product. If you run a tour and activity company throughout the year, your visual assets should reflect that. Summer photos of a tour in the dead of winter creates a disconnect for customers. Be sure your website, ads, and other customer touch points are seasonally appropriate.
Quality: Photo Definition
A blurry, underexposed photo reflects negatively on a product or an experience, suggesting a less-than-premium business. Strive for clear and properly exposed images—the foundation to any successful photo.
Concept: Idea Clarity
Keep it obvious. Don’t assume a potential customer has a clue about your tour or activity. Photos are an excellent way to tell a story and explain an experience—or complicate one if it’s done wrong. Be sure your main images clearly show the activity in context. For example, an image of a person ziplining without the visual cue of a cable and handlebars, can initially leave someone wondering what they’re looking at. And without context within the image or from surrounding images, a person ziplining could look like a construction worker dangling in a harness.
#5: Build Trust by Doing These Four Simple Things
Bring Voice of Customer / Reviews and Ratings Into Your Site
There’s a lot of power in letting your customers sell your experiences. We call this “bringing the voice of the customer” onto your website. Showing a variety of testimonials from reliable sources like, Tripadvisor or Yelp provide a lot of value to potential customers.
Here are three quick tips on what kinds of testimonials to bring onto your website:
- Make sure they’re product-specific. Maybe you have a walking tour, a segway tour, and a bike tour, and each experience has its own landing page. Make sure the reviews on each page are product-specific! A lot of review widgets will simply pull from your main Google My Business or TripAdvisor profile and mix the reviews from your experiences. You can get around this by creating separate profiles for your different experiences, using a tool like WhiteSpark and tagging your reviews, or just manually selecting reviews for the different pages.
- Show a variety of demographics and experiences. Don’t just feature the tourist who had a life-changing experience on your tour. Instead, show the honest experiences of dads, grandparents, college friend groups, etc.
- Don’t be afraid to show negative reviews. If you have 100 reviews, and they’re all 5-stars, customers may see that as a red flag and think “someone’s not being honest here…“. No one is perfect, and a 3-star review won’t scare people away as long as you’ve responded to the review, and shown that you care about the customer’s experience.
Make it Easy to Contact You
Your website visitors should realize that there are people that care about their experience at your organization. And one easy way to do this is to make your contact info easily accessible.
In addition to a dedicated contact page, have your contact information such as phone number, email, and social media accounts in a fixed spot that are displayed no matter what page of your site a customer is visiting. If someone has a make-or-break question that will determine whether or not they purchase your product, and they don’t know how to get in touch, well, there goes your sale.
Avoid Errors (technicalities, copy editing, etc)
It’s really about credibility. Having a website with a few spelling, grammar, and general errors doesn’t look professional. Why would someone want to put their hard-earned dollars into your product if you haven’t taken the time to edit your work?
Incorrect grammar can also make things difficult to understand. You want your website to be clear so potential customers can easily understand what you are selling. We all make mistakes, it’s inevitable. Just give your work a second or third look and have someone else look at it if you’re not sure. Your business depends on it. That said, always have someone take a look at your work when you’re done. We all have that perfectionist friend who would love to find something wrong—now is the time to ask for their input.
#6: Create Confidence During the Booking Process
People’s plans can change for a number of reasons. Booking a tour on your website should be a low risk action. People want to lock in a reservation, but they don’t necessarily want to be locked into a price or time slot that turns out to be less-than-optimal. (We talk more about this in our post on beating TripAdvisor.)
Here are three ways to create confidence during your booking flow:
1. Price Guarantee
We all like knowing we got a good deal, right? It is easier than ever to shop around and try to find a tour cheaper through an OTA, or wait it out to see if a sale happens closer to the time of travel. Guaranteeing the price on your website is the best price available, and making sure that it is, gives potential customers one more reason to stick around and buy right then.
2. Generous Cancelation Policy
Customers want flexibility, so many will wait until the last minute to make a purchase. A high percentage of customers are not willing to commit to a specific tour and time well in advance unless it comes with something for them, like a discount. Putting a policy in place that gives as much flexibility around rescheduling and canceling tours removes a big barrier to purchase, especially in situations where tours don’t fill up far in advance.
3. Satisfaction Guarantee
Another way to remove risk for the customer is guaranteeing they will be satisfied with their tour, or they get their money back.
You’ve worked hard to create an amazing experience, you get 5-star reviews consistently, and this statement of confidence from you to the customer can have an impact. If your confident in the satisfaction of your customers, adding a satisfaction guarantee is a natural progression of your brand voice.
#7: Cross Sell and Upsell Where it’s Helpful
Cross selling and upselling is all about helping customers craft the perfect experience with you.
Upsell a product
This encourages a customer to purchase the product that best fits their needs—and most of the time, it might be a more expensive “upgrade/premium/vip” product or service. Below, Cliffview does a good job of showing the added value in a higher tiered wedding package with a side by side comparison.
Cross sell products
Make additional products or services visible outside of its dedicated page on your site. Provide value by giving a package discount when more than one of your offerings is purchased at a time. Red River Gorge Zipline gives 20% off to those who lodge with their sister company—Cliffview.
Cross-selling and upselling guidelines
- Listen and know customers. Utilize user demographics, listen to feedback, create solutions to user problems.
- Be Honest. Show transparent pricing and use non-obtuse communication.
- Demonstrate value. Show user testimonials, positive reviews, and/or “Save X% when you upgrade” messages.
- Don’t frustrate. Aggressiveness or trying to cross/upsell when it’s not relevant to the user can turn customers off.
- Reward upselling and cross selling. Send thank yous and/or discount codes to encourage that a user showed trust in the guidance of your company.
- Set up cross/up selling. Many online checkout processes like Xola allow you to set up an “upgrade now” option at checkout.
#8: Make sure your site is fast
Every Additional Second of Load Time Costs You Conversions
No matter how beautiful, well designed, and well organized your website is, if it doesn’t load fast enough, you’re going to lose potential customers. According to this Portent study, website conversion rates drop by an average of 4.42% with each additional second of load time (between seconds 0-5).
To put this into a real-life scenario, let’s imagine that you have an online revenue goal of $1M this year, and your average order value is $100. Now, let’s imagine you’re counting on 200,000 users to visit your website this year. Your website needs to have a 5% conversion rate to reach your $1M online revenue goal. Now let’s imagine your site conversion rate is only 5% when your site loads in 2 seconds. Here’s how the numbers would play out:
- 1 second average site load time. Revenue: close to $1.1M.
- 2 second average site load time. Revenue: $1M.
- 3 second average site load time. Revenue: $955k.
- 4 second average site load time. Revenue: $910k.
- 5 second average site load time. Revenue: $870k.
In this scenario, the revenue difference for a site that loads in 2 seconds verses a site that loads in 5 seconds is $130,000.That amount of money could make or break a season!
The Importance of First Contentful Paint
First contentful paint (FCP) is the time it takes from when you land on a webpage to when you see the first content rendered on the screen. A good FCP happens within the first 1-2 seconds of a user landing on a page.
Not sure what your FCP is? Check it with Gtmetrix or WebPageTest.
How Do I Get a Better FCP?
Serving Smaller Images
Time and time again, we’ve been able to knock seconds off website load time by simply uploading smaller images to the websites we manage. It makes a huge difference.
You can speed up the process by using an image compression service like TinyPNG. TinyPNG will optimize your image and can dramatically reduce the overall file size.
Looking For More Speed?
Still running into slow site issues? While it adds an additional cost to your monthly web hosting bill, you may want to consider using a service like Cloudflare which can cache static versions of your website and provide faster page responses to users. You can read more about what Cloudflare can do for you here.
Choose a hosting service with caching options and a fast time to first byte. If you’re using WordPress you may want to consider Kinsta as a hosting service. They have excellent support, great caching options, and 99.9% uptime.
#9: Create urgency and a sense of scarcity
People don’t like missing out. If your tours fill up quickly on a particular day, or if you have an offer ending soon, or maybe there are just a few spots left on some of your upcoming tours, you need to let your customers know.
|You have a gift card sale that ends at midnight Christmas Eve||Offer Ends in 3 days!|
|You’re 80% sold out for the coming week.||Tours are selling fast for next week! Save your spot now, before it’s gone.|
|Tours sell out a lot on weekends.||We sell out a few days in advance most weekends—we strongly suggest booking in advance for weekend tours.|
|The weather is looking perfect this weekend.||The weather is looking prime for a tour this weekend—and this sun isn’t going to last forever! Book your tour today|
Feeling like you’re stuck with your website? We can help.
We’re proud of how we’ve helped dozens of tour and activity companies make a lot more money by improving their website’s conversion rate. If you’d like help taking the next step towards optimizing your website, we’d love to hear from you.