First impressions are everything. Your destination’s website is the face of your destination and an important part of your online marketing campaign. It is clear that destination websites are gaining an increased role in the travel planning process as the Internet continues to revolutionize the way travelers plan and book their trips. Don’t just take our word for it. A survey conducted by SMG Marketing revealed some statics that can’t be ignored:

  • 84% of respondents said that destination websites helped them learn more about a destination
  • 61% helped them make a decision whether or not to visit
  • 28% prompted them to visit the destination

Bearing these statistics in mind, we encourage you to follow these 8 steps to improve your website and turn website visitors into destination travelers.

  1. Beautify:Add pictures, maps and videos

You are selling a destination and its experiences. Your content must be compelling. Enhance your travel writing with an appropriate blend of photos, videos, and interactive maps to spice up your site. For more ideas and examples of creative content download our free Ebook on Content Creation for the Tourism Industry:

  1. Simplify: Remove over-the-top flash

No matter how visually stunning and fancy a home page may be, most travelers will not wait ten seconds for it to load. It also turns out that Search engines are not crazy about flash either. In fact, they cannot even read it!

  1. Optimize:Add keywords to your content

Incorporating keywords directly into your website content is a crucial first step to optimize your search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. Make sure what people are looking for matches the content on your website.

  1. Stand Out: Add a blog

Having fresh content is essential to SEO. One of the easiest ways to ensure that you have up-to-date content on your site is to incorporate a blog. Today, the travel industry is extremely active online as travelers, tourism boards, tour operators, accommodations and other key industry members are constantly exchanging travel ideas and advice via blogging. If you do not currently have a blogging strategy it’s time to develop one!

  1. Command and Capture: Provide visitors with offers

Give site visitors a reason to provide you with their information – this is best way to capture tourism leads! Create valuable travel resources, newsletters, and guidebooks that will assist consumers in their travel planning process.

Harness the power of your amazing travel content by creating compelling calls-to-action that will encourage site visitors to sign up for or download an offer via a landing page. Once you have a visitor’s information, you can easily target them with the information that will be useful to them as they make their travel plans.

  1. Encourage Sharing: Add social media share links

Easy social sharing options = more visibility = higher site traffic= leads.

Make all of your content sharable by adding in social media share links. According to Google, more and more customers are sharing their travel experiences via social media and review sites. The result is that others in their network will be exposed to the destination and begin dreaming about visiting it!

  1. Become Accessible Everywhere: Add mobile sites and mobile apps to your site

Google’s 2012 Traveler Report claimed that 1,000 android phones are activated every day! Additionally, TravelMole reports that 30% of travelers use mobile apps to plan or book their holidays. People are using mobile devices, like smart phones and iPads more and more each day, especially when they are traveling. If you do not have mobile components on your site or offer a mobile app, your destination is missing a lot of traffic opportunities.

  1.  Don’t Ignore the Travel Trade: Add specialized trade sections to your site 

Create a trade-focused subdivision on your website that can allow you showcase all the materials targeting the trade industry. Remember, all of your offers towards trade and the way in which you establish touch points with them must also mirror the buyer cycle. Some offers could be destination guides for tour operators, special manuals on a particular type of travel, sales brochures, etc.

If this is too much of a drastic change to your website, start small and add a trade-focused blog component. This can take the form of a special quest blogger who specializes in trade relations and trade focused content.

This article has been reposted with permission from www.solimarinternational.com/resources-page/blog/itemlist/tag/Social%20Media%20Marketing?start=20

Posted by Jordi Pera

Jordi Pera is an economist passionate about tourism, strategy, marketing, sustainability, business modelling and open innovation. He has international experience in marketing, intelligence research, strategy planning, business model innovation and lecturing, having developed most of his career in the tourism industry. Jordi is keen on tackling innovation and strategy challenges that require imagination, entail thoughtful analysis and are to be solved with creative solutions.

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