How to Improve Website Conversion Rates: The Ultimate Guide for Travel Companies (2019)

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This is the most comprehensive guide to increasing website conversion rates for travel companies… ever.

In this guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know about converting your website traffic into leads, bookings, and customers.

With traffic getting harder to come by, conversion rate optimization is one of the best channels to grow your travel business.

In fact, in a recent study by ConversionXL 55% of respondents said they were planning to increase their conversion rate optimization budget.

Similarly, 68% of people said they will place a higher priority on conversion optimization.

So, the question is:

How can you get more conversions on your website?

Well, that’s where this ultimate guide comes into play.

About the Author

Hi, I’m Jason Garcia.

Jason Garcia - Founder, New Oceans

I’m a digital marketer who specializes in helping travel and tourism businesses get more of what you need from your website: leads and customers.

With a Master of Business Administration in Marketing and 6 years of experience as a Product Marketing Manager at a Fortune 100 company.

I’m trained to optimize for conversions, use data and research to make educated decisions, and influence user behavior through digital psychology and persuasion.

After speaking with travel and tourism business owners all over the world, the most common thing I heard was “I want to improve my booking conversion rate.”

And in this guide, I’m going to give you simple actionable tips to increase your website conversion rate.

Chapter 1: Conversion Rate Optimization Basics

In this chapter, I’ll cover the essentials of conversion rate optimization.

(Including what it is and why it’s important to growing your business)

So if you’re like most travel business owners and just getting started with conversion rate optimization, this chapter is for you.

Let’s dive in.

What is Conversion Rate Optimization?

Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) is the practice of optimizing your website to maximize the number of people that take the desired action, such as signing up for your newsletter or making a booking.

A “conversion” is the specific action you want visitors to take.

On your homepage, a “conversion” is to retain those visitors and guide them further into your website.

On your product pages, a “conversion” is making a booking or submitting an inquiry.

In your checkout process, a “conversion” is an upsell of ancillary services such as insurance or a photo package.

On your blog, a “conversion” is signing up for your email newsletter so they become a lead.

What is Conversion Rate?

Your conversion rate is the percentage of people that visit a page and take the desired action.

You calculate your conversion rate by dividing the number of conversions by the number of visitors to a page and multiply by 100.

For example, let’s say you had 1,000 people visit your whitewater rafting tour page last month.

And 100 people ended up booking with you.

That page’s conversion rate is 10%.

Why is Conversion Rate Optimization Important?

Conversion rate optimization is important because it allows you to lower your customer acquisition costs by getting more leads and customers from the traffic you already have.

By optimizing your conversion rate you can increase revenue per visitor, generate more bookings, and grow your business.

For example, if a landing page has a conversion rate of 10% and receives 1,000 visitors a month, then the page will generate 100 conversions per month.

If the conversion rate can be improved to 15% by optimizing different elements on the page, the number of conversions generated jumps by 50% to 150 conversions per month.

Optimization does more than increase revenue – it also decreases customer acquisition costs.

There is always room for improvement when it comes to increasing conversions, and the best travel companies are constantly testing changes to their website to create a better experience for their visitors and improve conversions.

Why Conversion Rate Shouldn’t Be Your #1 Goal

At the risk of being shunned by my conversion rate optimization community, I should point something out:

High conversion rates can be misleading because they don’t auto-equate to higher growth.

Here’s why:

Let’s say that you run a brewery tour in Portland, Oregon, and your conversion rate is 10%.

Well, if you started selling your brewery tour for $1, your conversion rate would probably increase to 100%!

But you’ll probably go out of business.

Bottom line?

Increasing your conversion rate is nice, but the ultimate goal of CRO is to increase the amount of revenue that your website generates.

90% of the time these two goals align, but it’s an important distinction to make.

Now that you understand the fundamentals of conversion rate optimization, let’s dive into chapter 2.

Chapter 2: How to Get Started With Conversion Rate Optimization

There are two approaches to improving your website conversion rates.

  1. You go in and change what you think might be a good idea to change – mainly on the home page – and hope your sales will go up.
  2. You start by collecting data to figure out which pages cause the biggest drop off in your online booking process (AKA your sales funnel). Once you understand WHERE the problem is, you can proceed to identify WHAT the problem is.

Yes – this is really a no-brainer choice.

You will improve your marketing if your messaging and offers actually correspond to what the market wants and if you focus on the pages where you’re losing the most sales.

BUT – most travel and tourism companies still operate using the first approach. Making changes completely in the dark based on gut feeling.

If you want to get 2-10x conversion boosts, collecting data is KEY.

Here’s the exact step-by-step process to follow when getting started, so you can avoid wasting time and money.

Step 1: Set Up Goals and Benchmark Your Conversion Rate

When you want to improve your conversion rate the first step you need to do is set up your goals, and figure out your current conversion rate.

For example, let’s say you run a mountain biking tour company in Utah.

Your goal might be to improve the overall site conversion rate by 10%. Or maybe you want to focus on your Zion National Park tour page.

Either way, it’s important to set your high-level goals BEFORE you get into the weeds of your analytics and A/B testing.

Then, once you’ve set your goals you need to figure out your current conversion rate. This will be your benchmark to start with.

That way you can monitor whether or not your conversion rate improves, and by how much.

Step 2: Collect Data in Google Analytics

So far you’ve set your goal and you know your site’s current conversion rate.

You’re off to a great start!

Now it’s time to figure out WHERE your visitors are getting stuck.

And the first place to look? Google Analytics

Analytics will tell you exactly WHERE your conversions are strongest (and weakest).

For example, bounce rates are a huge problem for many tourism websites.

A “bounce” occurs when someone visits your website and leaves without taking any further action on your site.

Analytics also tells you WHERE in the sales process (AKA sales funnel) people tend to drop off. That way, you know where to start testing.

In this example, you can see that this travel company is experiencing a 50% drop in visitors from the product page to the shopping cart.

This should sound the alarm for any tour operator who wants to generate direct bookings through their website.

(And that’s you, right?!)

Another example would be to see which of your blog posts do the worst job converting readers into email subscribers.

You can find this data in Google Analytics by clicking: Behavior > Site Content > Landing Pages.

In addition to providing you analytics about specific pages, Google Analytics also provides conversion rates across devices.

You can find this data in Google Analytics by clicking: Audience > Mobile > Overview.

This is especially important because according to a recent Google study, 48% of bookings are happening once travelers arrive at their destination.

And the majority of those in-destination searches are happening on mobile.

By digging into your analytics you can discover WHERE your visitors are getting stuck and start to put together a plan to improve your conversion rate.

Step 3: Collect Quantitative Data

Quantitative data is another goldmine that you can use to increase conversions.

To get started you can use a free tool such as Hotjar to create your first heatmap.

Heatmaps are a powerful way to understand HOW visitors engage with your pages — where they click, how far they scroll, and what they look at or ignore.

Here are the best pages to begin collecting heat map data on

  • Homepage and landing pages – A heat map on your site’s main entry point will help you determine how much information gets seen or interacted with, and what elements are being clicked on or ignored.
  • Top pages – Understand what is working well on your best-performing pages, so you can replicate the success elsewhere.
  • Under-performing pages – A heatmap here can help you understand what your visitors are (not) seeing or interacting with, so you can take action.
  • New pages – A heat map might be a good way to get some initial information about how a new page is performing.

To go one step further you can also use survey tools (also free with Hotjar) to learn more about your website visitors and why they landed on a certain page.

Step 4: Collect Qualitative Data

Now that you know HOW visitors interact with your site, it’s time to paint the full picture of why people don’t convert.

And to do that we need to collect qualitative data to understand the WHY behind their behavior.

You can collect qualitative data using:

  • In-person or online interviews
  • On-site surveys
  • User testing

The method by which you collect the data isn’t as important as asking the right questions.

Here are the best interview/survey questions to ask…

Before booking:

  • What information is missing or would make your decision to book easier?
  • What is your biggest fear or concern about booking this experience?
  • Were you able to complete the purpose of your visit today?
  • If you did not make a booking today, what stopped you?

After booking:

  • Was there anything about this booking process we could improve?
  • What was your biggest fear or concern about booking with us?
  • What persuaded you to complete your booking today?
  • What’s the one thing that nearly stopped you from booking with us?

Other great questions:

  • Do you have any questions before you complete your booking?
  • What other content would you like to see on this page?
  • Which other options did you consider before booking with us?
  • What would persuade you to book with us more often?
  • What was your biggest challenge, frustration or problem in finding the right tour/activity/experience online?
  • Please list the top three things that persuaded you to book with us rather than a competitor.
  • What other products would you like to see us offer?
  • Were you able to find the information you were looking for?
  • How likely are you to recommend us to a friend or colleague? (NPS question, rate 0-10)

Note: You can swap the word “booking” with any other conversion such as submitting an inquiry or signing up for your email list.

After collecting all your data you’d want to use this data to inspire an A/B test.

Which takes us to chapter 3…

Chapter 3: How to Run A/B Tests

In this chapter, you’ll learn how to create an A/B test plan (even if you’ve never run an A/B test before).

So if you’ve ever asked yourself:

“What is an A/B test?”

“What are the best things to A/B test first?”

“What tools should I use to run an A/B test?”

This chapter has got you covered with everything you need to know about running your first A/B test to boost conversions.

What is an A/B Test?

A/B testing is when you set up two different variations of a web page or landing page and send an equal amount of traffic to each.

You then measure the number of conversions for each variation and declare a winner based on which one generates the most conversions.

Once a winner is identified, you switch to that version so you can begin benefitting from the improved conversion rate provided by the winning variation.

Is It Really Necessary to Test or Can You Just Copy Someone Else?

When it comes to conversion rate optimization, a lot of people talk about testing, but not as many end up actually doing it.

For the ones who don’t, they usually copy tests that produced a winner on another site. There’s a problem with that approach, however.

If you just copy what someone else has done, you don’t know for sure whether or not it will have the same effect on your site.

Just because G Adventures increased conversions 20% by changing their call-to-action button from green to red doesn’t mean you’ll experience the same lift.

Red may complement their design better than it does yours, or it might resonate with their customers more than it will with yours.

Unless you test yourself, you’ll never know for sure.

What Should Tour Operators A/B Test First?

One of the biggest questions I hear from travel business owners is:

“What do I test first?”

Well, that’s a tough question to answer because there are literally thousands of different things you can test across your website.

Such as:

  • Call to action buttons
  • Headlines
  • Page layout
  • Website copy
  • Images
  • Videos
  • Forms
  • Etc.

Remember in the last chapter I talked about the importance of collecting data?

Well, it’s going to come in handy here because you’re going to let the data inform your first test.

For example, let’s say your survey data told you: “People have trouble finding the button to book a tour”.

Well, your first rest should be putting a “Book Now” button front and center on your page.

Here are 3 more ways to help you decide where to start with A/B testing:

1. High Bounce Rate Pages

We all know that acquiring traffic is expensive.

So when a user visits your site you want to make sure they aren’t immediately leaving (AKA bouncing).

For most travel and tourism websites, a high bounce rate is a bad thing, because your homepage or landing page is the gateway to the rest of your site (product pages, blog articles, booking process).

You can find your bounce rate for individual pages in Google Analytics by following this path: Behavior > Site Content > All Pages.

2. Worst Performing Pages

Another good place to start A/B testing is on pages that have a super low conversion rate.

Why?

Because your conversion rate has nowhere to go but up.

In fact, it’s not uncommon to see a 2-10x improvement on low converting pages after a single A/B test.

3. High Traffic Pages

The math is simple.

When you improve the conversion rate of a page that gets a lot of traffic, you’re going to get A LOT more conversions.

If you’re looking for a quick answer on where to start first, I’d recommend starting with your homepage because it likely gets the most traffic.

Create a Hypothesis

Now that you’ve decided where to start testing, you need to come up with a hypothesis.

A hypothesis is a prediction you create PRIOR to running an experiment.

It clearly states what is being changed and what you believe the outcome will be.

Then, running the experiment will either prove or disprove your hypothesis.

Creating a hypothesis also helps you test things based on user feedback and data.

(Not gut feelings)

Here’s a simple formula for creating your A/B test hypothesis:

Changing (the element being tested) from to will increase/decrease (a conversion metric).

Here are some examples of hypotheses phrased according to the formula explained above and that can apply to your travel website:

Example #1

Changing the headline from “Grab your tickets now!” to “Tickets filling out soon – only last 50 left!” will increase ticket sales online.

Example #2

“Shortening the email opt-in form by deleting optional fields such as phone and mailing address will increase the number of emails collected.”

How to Run an A/B Test

When you’re just getting started with A/B testing here are a couple of tips to follow:

First, start by testing BIG changes.

One of the most common A/B testing rookie mistakes is by testing small changes, such as CTA button colors.

These types of tiny changes will not produce the 2-10x increase in conversion that you’re going for.

Instead, you want to start by testing two VERY different versions of your pages. Such as a new design and layout of your product pages.

For example, let’s look at the conversion rate optimization king of the travel industry – Booking.com.

While you are reading this, there are nearly 1,000 A/B tests running on Booking.com’s website. WOW!

In 2017, Booking.com broadened its product offering by adding vacation rental properties alongside hotels.

Within the first few days of the launch, the team at Booking.com realized that even though a lot of property owners completed the first sign-up step, they got stuck in the next steps.

(Which they were only able to discover by collecting data)

So they ended up creating different versions of the landing page that included additional details like social proof, awards and recognition, and user rewards.

The test ran for 2 weeks and produced a 25% uplift in owner registration. The test results also showed a significant decrease in the cost of each registration.

Second, you’ll need software to run your A/B test.

There are numerous A/B testing tools on the market such as:

Or you can partner with a digital marketing agency that specializes in working with travel companies, like New Oceans Digital.

Analyze Test Results & Scale

Your last step is to analyze your test results, see what you learned, and decide what you want to test next.

Fortunately, most A/B testing software collects all of the important data and empowers you to take action on the results of your campaign so you aren’t overwhelmed with unnecessary information.

Then, once you’ve found a winner, you’ll want to take note of a few things.

Specifically, answers to these questions:

  • Was our hypothesis correct?
  • What lessons did we learn that we can apply to future tests?
  • Based on these results, what should we test next?

How Much Improvement Should You Expect?

You shouldn’t always expect a drastic improvement.

Many blog posts brag about conversion boosts of 100% and more.

While you may see those kinds of results, and obviously that’s the goal, you won’t always experience huge wins.

But you also shouldn’t be disappointed.

By increasing conversion rates an average of 19% over four tests, you’ll end up doubling your conversion rates.

When you look at it that way, you realize that even small wins can add up and lead to big improvements in the end.

Chapter 4: How to Create a Conversion-Focused Website

As you probably know, the goal of your website isn’t about being pretty.

The goal of your website is to turn lookers into bookers.

And in this chapter, you’ll learn how to improve the user experience to increase direct bookings.

Use High-Quality Photos

Booking travel isn’t the same as buying a new pair of jeans – you can’t try before you buy.

This means that the photos on your website need to SELL the experience in the same way that flattering mirrors in a changing room make it impossible to walk away empty-handed.

Here are the types of photos to use on your site and a few tips:

Beautiful Scenic Shot

If your business is in adventure travel, having a beautiful scenic shot can be the most eye-catching photo on your entire site. Use these types of photos to show visitors the type of adventure they will experience on your tour.

For example, Blue Ocean Adventure Tours offers zodiac and snorkeling tours along Kauai’s Na Pali Coast.

Photos of Real People on Your Tours

These photos are the most important photos to have on your website. You want to show people having fun, laughing, and engaging. It’s also important to have photos of your ideal customers because after all those are the types of people you want to attract.

Here’s an example from Sacred rides, who offers mountain biking tours all over the world.

Photos of Your Guides

When people spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on a travel experience, they want to know who they’re going to spend their time with. By adding friendly photos of your guides it lets people know that they’ll be well taken care of during their trip.

For example, here’s a photo from American Adventure Expeditions who offers white water rafting adventures in Colorado.

Photos of Guides Interacting With Guests

You also want to show photos of your guides interacting with guests. You know that your tours are personal and engaging, but your website visitors don’t know that (yet).

In this example from E-Magine Tours, you can see the guide telling the guests about the history of Budapest.

Show off Your Gear

Running a tourism business isn’t cheap and you likely invested a lot of money in high-quality gear, such as your vehicles. People want to feel safe and secure and know that you’re using modern equipment and technology – not some beat-up old bus.

For example, Brewvana does an excellent job of showing off their custom wrapped vans.

Stay Away From Stock Photos (If Possible)

You’ve likely been to a website and immediately noticed if they’re using stock photos. This typically causes people to distrust that company from the beginning. For that reason, I don’t recommend using stock photos because you lose that feeling of authenticity.

If you don’t think you can get away from stock photos, check out our next tip.

User-Generated Content

If you’re looking for a cost-effective way of acquiring original and impactful photos, look no further than user-generated content. In today’s digital age, your customers are constantly posting their travel photos on Instagram.

After all, user-generated photos are 5x more likely to convert customers. Just be sure to get permission before using the photos.

Add Video To Inspire Bookings

Travel content has exploded online as people around the world share their experiences and seek inspiration for their next adventure.

And video is a great way to capture those people who are seeking inspiration.

In fact, 80% of YouTube travel searches focus on destinations, attractions, or general travel ideas.

So how can you fully leverage the power of video to drive your tour sales?

Check out these top tips:

Use Video in Your Homepage Banner

We’ve all heard the claim our attention spans are shorter than a goldfish’s at only 8 seconds.

When you use video in your homepage banner you’re able to immediately capture attention, establish credibility, and make a personal connection.

One exception to this rule is when it comes to tablets and mobile you’ll want to swap out the video for an image. Many people get annoyed with video playing automatically when using their mobile data.

Fortunately, these days you can make a video on any budget. You can use the smartphone in your pocket to record HD (and even 4K) video, post an ad in Craigslist or local college newspaper, and even reach out to travel bloggers in your destination.

Check out how E-Magine Tours include a video of their guided MonsteRoller tours in their homepage banner.

Use Video Testimonials

Many tour and activity operators are already using testimonials on their sites from TripAdvisor and Google.

But the top tour operators in the world are taking it a step further and using video to increase social proof and credibility on their website.

And don’t be afraid if you don’t think your videos look “professional”. Off-the-cuff testimonials are great too, and they even add some authenticity to your tours.

Video testimonials can easily be recorded on your smartphone during or after the tour. This allows you to capture your guests’ smiles and laughs in the moment!

Testimonials should remove specific roadblocks, rather than just being a lot of good praise.

After you’ve collected your testimonials you’ll want to add them to your about page, homepage, or product pages.

Pro tip: When shooting video on your smartphone always remember to film horizontally.

Have Clear And Detailed Tour Descriptions

Just like the images and videos on your website, the product descriptions are another area to focus on when improving your booking conversion rates.

If you don’t provide your visitors with enough detailed information that’s easily consumable, they’re leaving your site and going to your competitors.

Here’s how you can structure your tour descriptions to generate more bookings:

  1. Start with an introduction paragraph about your tour that’s no more than 2 or 3 lines.
  2. List 5 highlights about your experience from your customers’ point of view. (e.g. Do you offer free hotel pickup? Will there be amazing views?)
  3. Include a longer, more detailed paragraph that paints a picture your customers head about what they can expect, why they’re going to love it, and what makes your product better than your competitors. (e.g. Do you offer only small group tours? Do you get your guests to the attraction quickest?)
  4. List key information about your experience. (e.g. what do bring, what’s included, where to meet, etc.)
  5. Finish with a clear call-to-action. (e.g. Book Now, Reserve My Spot, etc.)

Here’s an example from one of the top-rated food tour companies in the world, Devour Tours.

Improve The User Experience

You don’t have to be a professional designer at Apple to be able to improve the user experience.

Simply put, user experience is about making it as easy as possible for your visitors to find what they’re looking for on your site.

Here are 9 tips to improve your sites user experience today:

1. Use white space

According to Crazy Egg, white space around text and titles increases user attention by 20%.

That means that visitors to your site will be focused on what you’re offering: tours and activities.

White space can also make your website feel open, fresh, and modern and if your branding is consistent with these then it can help you communicate that feeling to the user.

In this example, you can see that Mailchimp is a big advocate of white space in their designs.

2. Optimize your page speed

Today, it’s critical that tourism business owners create fast web experiences so visitors can quickly find what they’re looking for.

Because if there’s too much friction, they’ll abandon your site and move on.

Analyze your site with the Google PageSpeed Insights tool to see how fast (or slow) your load times are and get recommendations on how to fix it.

3. Be responsive and mobile-friendly

Smartphones are changing travel industry trends by enabling people to be more spontaneous when they arrive at their destination.

In fact, 85% of leisure travelers decide on activities only after having arrived at the destination.

And if your mobile experience is slow, over one-third of smartphone users will have a negative review of your brand.

That means that you need to identify areas on your mobile site that is causing friction for users and take steps to simplify.

You can conduct a quick audit with the Google Mobile Friendly Test tool to get started today.

4. Segment key information with bullet points

Bullet points allow your users to quickly get all the information they want.

Everything from benefits, ways you solve their problem, and key features of your products – all in a short amount of time.

This will make your propositions more attractive and enable your users to get all the information they need.

Additionally, you don’t have to go the traditional route with the simple circle bullet points.

There are tons of cool icons out there that allow you to be creative and help the reader further with images that represent your point.

Such as this great example from Kenai Fjords Tours in Alaska.

5. Write clear headlines

On average, 8 out of 10 people will read headline copy, but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest.

This is the secret to the power of the headline, and why it so highly determines the effectiveness of the entire page.

The copywriting trainers at American Writers & Artists teach The Four U’s approach to writing headlines:

  • Be USEFUL to the reader
  • Provide a sense of URGENCY
  • Convey the idea that the main benefit is somehow UNIQUE
  • Do all of the above in an ULTRA-SPECIFIC way

6. Invest in an online booking system

Your customers should be able to book directly with you any time of day, and in as few steps as possible.

When you invest in an online booking system you’re able to grow your tours and activity sales, streamline your business, delight your customers, and reduce operating costs.

There are currently over 150 booking systems for tour businesses to choose from.

Lucky for you, the fine folks at Polymath have created ATLAS. A free tool that allows tour & activity operators to compare features of these platforms and find the right fit for you.

7. Accept online payments

Revenue is the lifeblood of any small business.

When you accept online payments you’re not only able to generate revenue faster, but you’re also creating a seamless user experience for your new customers.

If you offer big-ticket packages, your payment system should also allow customers to break big payments into multiple installments that can be paid overtime.

Having customers pay ahead of time creates a simpler experience when they arrive on the day of the tour, and also helps reduce no shows.

8. Include reviews on your website

Social proof is incredibly important in the travel and tourism industry.

In fact, 95% of travelers read reviews before completing a booking.

You can use TripAdvisor’s free widget to integrate reviews onto your site in realtime.

Or as discussed earlier, you can record customer testimonials and add them to your site.

9. Have a clear and obvious booking CTA

Once you have a visitor on your site you need to make it clear and obvious how they can book with you.

This takes us to our next chapter where we can dive deeper into this topic of call-to-action (CTA) buttons.

Chapter 5: How To Create Irresistible CTAs

When it comes to improving conversion rates there are few topics that are more widely discussed by experts than call-to-action (CTA) buttons.

If you use the wrong CTA or users can’t find it, they’re hitting the back button and moving on.

But when you use the right CTA, your conversion rates skyrocket.

Here are a few simple (and effective) strategies to create an irresistible call-to-action:

Make It Obvious

Your booking CTA needs to be the most clearly identifiable element on your site.

It needs to be so obvious that if you were to sit your grandmother in front of your computer and ask her to make a booking on your website, she would be able to complete the task.

Use Contrasting Colors

The easiest way to make your CTA stand out is to pick a color that jumps out in comparison to your brand colors, drawing the eye and capturing the attention of your visitors.

In the example below, you can see how Kayak uses a bright orange CTA to capture attention and get users to take their desired action.

If you need some color suggestions I recommend using a free tool, such as Coolors, to help find a call-to-action color for your travel website.

Test First And Second Person

Several conversion rate optimization studies have shown increased conversions when using the first person in your CTAs.

Such as, “Book My Trip”.

However, some people have seen higher conversions when using the second person.

Such as, “Book Your Trip”.

Test both and see which works best for you.

Create A Sense Of Urgency

Want an easy way to convert more lookers to bookers?

Add urgency to your CTAs.

For example, check out Booking.com.

They actually show you the number of rooms left for the dates you’re looking at.

This makes you think, “I better book this room before someone else does.”

Make Your CTA Pop By Using Whitespace

It’s important that you don’t crowd the space around your call-to-action with text or images.

You want to use whitespace to allow your CTA to pop on the page.

Be Consistent Across All CTAs

If the CTA at the top of your page is “Reserve My Seat”, be sure that’s the CTA at the bottom of the page as well.

Make it clear that there is only one potential next step.

Be Concise

Use straightforward, to-the-point language and avoid stop words.

The rest of your page is designed to do the persuading.

The CTA is designed to inspire the desired action, such as “Book Now”.

Chapter 6: How To Create High-Converting Landing Pages

When it comes to improving your sites conversion rates, landing pages provide a HUGE opportunity

That’s because your landing pages exist for one reason: to convert someone into a lead or sale.

In digital marketing, a landing page is a standalone web page, created specifically for the purposes of a marketing or advertising campaign.

It’s where a visitor “lands” when they have clicked on a Facebook ad or similar.

Now that you know what landing pages are let’s dive into some tips to help generate more leads and sales.

Optimize Your Lead Capture Form

Your lead capture form may be the quickest and easiest area for conversion rate improvement on your landing page.

Many studies have been conducted about landing page forms, and it’s a general consensus that the more information you ask for, the lower your conversion rate will be.

Do you ask for both first and last name? Why? Why not just “Name”?

Are you asking for their phone number too? Why?! You can get that later!

In this example, you can see how people can get started with Shopify by only entering their email address.

This makes it easier for the user to get to the point: selling their products online.

Put Landing Page Visitors In The Isolation Tank

One common theme you see with strong landing pages is isolation.

This landing page from Forged Axe Throwing is a great example of an isolated landing page that only has one purpose and no other links.

No header links and nothing else you can click on that might distract you from opting in to receive their free guide.

So with only one task on the page, it’s easier for visitors to focus on that and complete the conversion.

Simplify Your Landing Page

A very simple landing page might seem counterintuitive, but it helps get rid of the visual clutter.

You want your website visitors to focus on the prize: your call to action.

To help convert visitors into hosts, Airbnb simplified their landing page and the process to get started earning money as an Airbnb host.

Airbnb even took it an extra step further by offering some enticing personalization: a monthly earnings estimate if I were to rent my home in Austin.

Employ Trust Badges

Trust badges are pretty commonplace these days.

The most common in the travel and tourism industry being TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence.

Badges like these have been known to help increase landing page conversion rates by as much as 32%.

Check out this example from Blue Hawaiian Helicopters displaying their multiple award-winning customer service awards.

Here are some quick ideas for badge tests on your site:

  • Move your badge closer to the desired action (like the “Book Now” button).
  • Add the badge to your header.
  • Make it clickable so that it’s not just an image, taking people to the third-party verification of your site.

Make Sure People Are Landing On The Right Page

When you put a link to your site on a Facebook ad, email newsletter, or anywhere else, you want to make sure the page you’re linking to matches the messaging.

The closer you match your landing page with the messaging they clicked on, the higher chance you have of converting them to a customer.

And on the flip side, the more steps you create for a visitor on the path to purchase, the higher chance you have of losing them along the way.

For example, if you’re promoting a multi-day tour through the Mount Blanc region, you want to link to that product’s page.

In this example from Active Adventures, their Facebook ad:

Links to this landing page:

Perfect!

If you just link to your homepage, you’re forcing the visitor to navigate to the product page themselves, which will likely result in a lost sale.

Bonus Chapter: Advanced Conversion Rate Optimization Tips

Test One Major Thing At A Time

When you do make changes to your site, make sure you test one major thing at a time (i.e. layout, headline, video in the banner, etc.)

If you change too many things at once, some of the changes might have improved conversion rate while others didn’t, and you won’t know what worked and what didn’t.

Reach At Least A 95% Confidence Level

You want to reach statistical significance with at least a 95% confidence level.

To be on the safe side, make sure your increase in conversions is actually from the change you made, not some external reason you can’t control, like seasonal variance.

All A/B testing software will provide you with a confidence level once the test is complete.

Create MORE Landing Pages

According to Hubspot, companies with 10+ landing pages generate 55% more leads than companies with 5 fewer landing pages.

Why does this work?

  • More landing pages means more conversion opportunities
  • More landing pages means more variety
  • More landing pages means more targeting opportunities

Encourage Customers To Share Their Purchase

Take a page out of Amazon’s playbook and encourage customers to what they just bought on Facebook and Instagram.

This will not only bring you some referral sales (“Wow! That tour looks awesome. I want to go too!”), but it can also increase your brand awareness.

For example, when Eventbrite started encouraging customers to share their tickets on social media. They found that the average return on a share was $4.15 for Facebook and $2.18 for Twitter.

And really, who doesn’t want to tell EVERYONE about the amazing trip they’re about to go on?!

Talk To Your Customers

Yes, you already talk to your customers while they’re on your tour.

But you also need to be talking to your customers from a research perspective.

You need to learn what obstacles they have to buying your product, what words they use to describe their pain points and what they’re looking for, and tailor your marketing materials around what you learn from that.

Set a reasonable goal for how many customers or potential customers you can talk to per week, and make that one of the non-negotiable tasks that you complete every week. This can be done in an interview or an online survey.

Pro tip: The best content is curated, NOT created.

Test The Weakest Links In Your Sales Funnel FIRST

Let’s say you have a sales funnel with 6 steps.

For example:

  1. Visits website
  2. Views tour listings
  3. Views tour
  4. Adds to cart
  5. Starts checkout
  6. Completes booking

How do you know which step to optimize first?

Most people would start at the beginning with their landing page, or at the end with their booking page.

But that would be a rookie mistake.

Instead, you should be focusing on fixing where people are getting stuck.

Here’s a simple 3 step process to get started right now:

  1. Outline each step of your sales funnel.
  2. Use Google Analytics to measure the conversion rate at each step.
  3. Figure out which are your worst-performing steps.

These are the steps where people “fall out” of the funnel, and you have the highest upside.

Now It’s Your Turn

I hope you enjoyed my guide to conversion rate optimization for travel companies.

Now I want to turn it over to you:

Which of the tips from today’s guide are you going to try first?

Are you going to work on your landing pages?

Or start doing customer interviews?

Let me know by leaving a quick comment below right now.

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