Food tastings, art walks, guided city tours – the travel industry is booming with small tourism businesses making a profit from this new-wave of personalized tourism. But some businesses are seeing more success than others, why is that? And how can other small businesses in tourism learn?
Here are our 5 revenue-boosting tips for small businesses in tourism.
1. Expand the business beyond your website
Third party-platforms such as Airbnb and TripAdvisor provide an online marketplace for travel experiences. They can offer a lot of exposure, and conversions, for small travel companies. All they usually ask for is a small commission.
It’s a good idea to sign up for these platforms even if you have your own website. Why?
Online searches have become increasingly competitive, even amongst the big companies. In today’s online world where SEO (search engine optimization) is king, smaller tourism businesses are struggling to obtain a decent ranking for valuable keywords.
For example, the keyword for “best walking tours in London” has 39 million search results – which is a little overwhelming for any small business offering just that.
This doesn’t mean small travel businesses shouldn’t have a website, or shouldn’t optimize their website for search engines. It just means that business owners should look for alternative ways to expand their online exposure.
2. Optimize your payment options
Tourists are more cautious of fraud now than they’ve ever been, so when it comes to booking an activity with a small tourism business there should be no room for error.
Imagine you are booking a wine tasting in Paris on a small wine merchant’s website – you are unfamiliar with the city, the language and the currency. After you check that the location is central and the wine tasting is in English you head to the check-out.
It’s at this point that you realize that payment options are limited and don’t accept your American credit card. So you exit the website and book with another merchant.
The good news for small tourism businesses is that this issue is very easy to fix as payment systems have become more open with options. PayAlto, an alternative payments method, offers businesses access to over 150 payment methods. After a one-time integration process, your business will be able to accept everything from Japanese Yen to Swiss Franc.
3. Build a great mobile website
The travel planning process has shrunk over the past decade. Travel agents are almost extinct, desktop bookings are popular, but mobile bookings are bound to overtake in popularity by 2021.
Here are a few tips to help you optimize your mobile website to help convert website users into paying customers.
Provide information without making it messy – Long paragraphs look messy on mobile screens, so pay attention to format. Make sure the content you show is friendly and informative without going overboard.
Use as few images as possible – Images can look bulky and awkward on mobile websites, especially if they haven’t been sized correctly. They can also make the website load much slower as they can carry a lot of digital weight.
Hire a professional coder if you are not one – It’s tempting to make a mobile website yourself in order to keep costs down. But mobile users are used to engaging with fast and easy to navigate websites. When they’re on a mobile website that is hard to navigate or simply does not work, they will click out without a second thought.
A lot of time can be saved by hiring a well-reviewed coder to build your mobile website. With a tried and tested mobile website in place, you will have more time to spend on other aspects of your business.
Customer service is key
It’s normal for a big business to provide 24/7 customer support, but that’s because the average traveler expects it of them. For smaller businesses, it’s fine to correspond within normal working hours, as long as messages are checked and responded too frequently.
Another tip is to offer more than just a telephone number and email address, make sure that customers can contact you across your social media channels too. The more options you provide, the more trust the customer can build with your business makes them more likely to buy.
Analyze your conversions to help your small travel business scale
Knowing your customer base is essential to scaling. One way of getting to know your customers is through analyzing where your customers are coming from. Paymentwall, the world’s leading payment provider, provides analytical tools that allows merchants to see where their conversions are coming from.
Access to this information gives you the power to adapt your service to your biggest buyer demographic, helps you plan and execute targeted marketing campaigns, and sparks inspiration for a new product or service.