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FareHarbor Partners with Reserve with Google

Our distribution network just got an exciting new addition! We’re happy to announce that we’ve partnered with Reserve with Google to make your tours bookable on Google Search, Maps, and the Reserve with Google website.

What is Reserve with Google?

Reserve with Google allows users to buy tickets for tours, activities and attractions directly from the Google Search, Maps and the Reserve with Google platforms.

With the new API integration between FareHarbor and Reserve with Google, you can add a book button to your Google listing to sell your activities with live, real-time availability. Any bookings will flow directly into your FareHarbor Dashboard; no added work necessary!

Reserve with Google

Why are we so excited about this partnership?

The connection between FareHarbor and Reserve with Google makes it easier than ever for your customers to move from researching to booking an activity, which means nothing but good things for your business.

  • Gain exposure to new customers as they browse Google Search, Maps and the Reserve with Google platforms.
  • Offer your tours, activities and attractions in live, real-time availability directly from the Google platforms.
  • New bookings flow seamlessly into your FareHarbor Dashboard, including availability, customer information and payment.
  • Reserve with Google bookings are commission-free!

How can I get my business listed on Reserve with Google?

If you’re a FareHarbor client, you’re already halfway there! This booking capability is available (and free!) to anyone on FareHarbor. Just get in touch with our Support team if you’re interested in learning more.

The only other requirement is that your business is registered on Google. Registering your business on Google is both a really simple process, and a smart move for any business looking to gain exposure to online customers.

Great for both your customers and ours, this partnership is something we can all get excited about. We can’t wait to see how Reserve with Google helps you grow!

If you’re not already on FareHarbor and are interested in learning more, please get in touch with our team.

FareHarbor at the 2019 CROA and ACCT Conferences in Denver

It’s an exciting week! Not only are we attending two of our favorite industry conferences, but they both happen to be taking place in Denver, CO, home of our North America headquarters.

We’ll be kicking off the week at the Colorado River Outfitters Association Convention and Tradeshow, before heading to the Association for Challenge Course Technology Conference and Exposition!

If you’re attending CROA or ACCT, be sure to stop by our booth and say hello!

CROA: Booth 49 — ACCT: Booth 219

Over the years, the CROA and ACCT conferences have provided an incredible opportunity to learn from industry thought leaders, network with like-minded outfitters and celebrate the future of outdoor adventure tourism. We’re thrilled to be back at these conferences again this year, especially since they’re here in our own backyard.

CROA (Colorado River Outfitters Association) Convention and Tradeshow

CROA, a trade association representing approximately 50 licensed professional river rafting outfitters, specializes in providing outstanding outdoor adventures for families and individuals of all tastes and capabilities. The CROA annual Convention and Tradeshow will be open to current members, prospective members and agency officials. At the show, you will have the opportunity to network with other outfitters, attend multiple seminars designed to help your operation and meet with over 60 vendors in the outdoor adventure industry!

If you are attending, please stop by and say hello to your FareHarbor team!

Dates: February 5 – 7
Location: Crowne Plaza DIA Convention Center, Denver, CO 80239
Booth: 49

ACCT (Association for Challenge Course Technology) Conference and Exposition

FareHarbor will be one of the featured sponsors at the 29th Annual International ACCT Conference and Exposition! The ACCT Conference is a four-day conference for builders, owners, operators practitioners, facilitators and all industry professionals who are serious about the evolution and growth of the challenge course / aerial adventure park industry. Join the rest of the inspiring brand, marketers, industry thought-leaders and influencers as they converge in Denver, to provide you with cutting-edge knowledge and advanced training.

We’d love to connect while we’re both there! Stop by our booth to say hello.

Dates: February 7 – 10
Location: Colorado Convention Center, Denver, Colorado
Booth: 219

Keep the good times rollin’! Join us at 7 pm on Saturday night for a FareHarbor hosted ACCT after event at Lucky Strike. Drinks are on us—the turkey you’ll have to earn for yourself. (500 16th St Mall #340, Denver, CO 80202)

FareHarbor Meetups: Meet, Share, Learn

At FareHarbor, we’re always working hard to bring you new tools and strategies to grow your business. Our latest initiative will help you take full advantage of one of the best resources there is—our community!

To help create a space where tourism professionals like you can meet, share and learn, we’re launching FareHarbor Meetups.

A series of networking events located all across the globe, FareHarbor Meetups are a place to exchange ideas and knowledge with your peers in the tour & activity industry.

With the goal of building our community, we’re inviting clients and colleagues to come together for a casual evening to ask questions, share best practices and get real-world tips on running a tourism business.

Meetups will take place somewhere close to you, like a bar, restaurant or tavern where we can enjoy some cold beer and light bites between all that friendly conversation. We want it to be easy, so the tab’s on us. Just bring yourself, an open mind and maybe a business card or two. (We have a hunch you’ll be making some new friends.)

Of course, our team will be there too. So if you have Dashboard questions or find yourself needing some in-person support, FareHarbor Meetups are the perfect place to handle it.

We’re adding new meetup locations all the time, and already have places like Maui, Vancouver and New York on the calendar. Be sure to bookmark the FareHarbor Meetups website and check back regularly to see when we’re coming your way.

If you’re attending a meetup or want to check in on the meetup experience in other cities, check out #FHmeetups on social media!

FareHarbor Cares: Volunteer Trip To North and South Carolina

fareharbor cares

Ask any of our employees and they’ll tell you—one of the best things about FareHarbor is the community built around it.

Although we’re connected by business, the little stories about life always seem to work their way in. Whether it’s tacked onto the end of an over-the-phone training or tucked into an email about affiliates, we love getting to know the people, places and reasons behind the businesses we work with.

So when Hurricane Florence swept through and rattled part of our community, we felt it. We turned to our friends at SBP and Americorps, who helped us connect with families in North and South Carolina that needed a hand in rebuilding what they’d lost.

volunteers south carolina

Our team of twelve volunteers headed to Columbia and New Bern to help repair homes damaged by Hurricane Florence and Hurricane Joaquin. The trip was incredible! Both the volunteer teams we worked with and the people we were there to help were warm and welcoming.

Replacing wet insulation and painting baseboards was certainly a change of pace from the work we’re used to, but all too worth it. What a gift to make a difference for someone like Catherine, the sweet, 90-year old Columbia native whose severely water damaged home was infested with bugs and plagued by leaking water prior to our arrival.

volunteers north carolina

sbp and fareharbor

After so many trips to the area for business alone, we were happy to be in the Carolinas with a bigger purpose. But still, we couldn’t pass on the opportunity to meet with some of the locals that had us charmed with the area in the first place.

When our time with Catherine and the others came to an end, we stole away to visit some FareHarbor clients in the area. We ended up visiting more than twenty local tour & activity businesses between North and South Carolina, tipping the trip into the “best ever” category.

With team members from four different departments on the trip, we were able to mix business with leisure, offering Dashboard help, tips and tricks in between all of the fun stuff. (And there was a lot of fun stuff.)

client visit north carolina

Express Water Sports

pineapple tours

Pineapple Tours

We watched osprey catching fish with Wilmington Water Tours, sipped our way through a historic pub crawl with Original Pub and Brewery Tours, dined on she-crab soup in Charleston, got spooked at a haunted jail with Bulldog Tours and enjoyed countless other moments connecting with our amazing, local clients.

Perhaps most importantly, we enjoyed the priceless reminder of why we love this industry as we do. Thank you to everyone in North and South Carolina that we had the opportunity to connect with. We left feeling inspired, motivated and ever grateful for the people and places we’ve met through FareHarbor.

A special thank you to SBP and Americorps for organizing an incredible volunteer trip. It all starts with you!

group photo

5 Marketing Strategies For Black Friday Weekend (And Beyond)

Ah, the consumer holidays. They tend to sneak up quickly and when they arrive, it’s in full force. Especially in the age of e-commerce, where Black Friday and Cyber Monday have become more accessible than ever, the excitement surrounding the consumer holidays is growing.

In fact, online sales for Black Friday alone are expected to grow 15.31% from last year, soaring to an incredible $5.8 billion dollars in transactions.

The fervor around the weekend presents a huge opportunity for businesses in the tour and activity space. Customers new and old are both more engaged and more likely to try out a new brand when it comes with a lower cost.

So how do you make the most of the weekend? We have a few ideas up our sleeve.

1. Start prepping your marketing strategy now.

We know this one comes as no surprise, but it’s true! The sooner you start preparing for Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday, the better your campaign will go. Put time and energy into the process and the outcome will naturally follow suit.

So where to start? Grab a box of donuts, get your team together and spend a few hours figuring out exactly what your marketing strategy will be over the Black Friday weekend. Here’s a few questions to get the brainstorm started:

  • What do we want to push customers towards? Seasonal items? Gift cards? Best-sellers? Package deals?
  • Will we offer a discount? Buy-one-get-one-free? A branded item with purchase?
  • How do we want to advertise our promotions?
  • Do we want to send out an email? Should we segment our email list?
  • Which social sites should we market on? What hashtags could we use?

Already using FareHarbor and need help setting up promo codes? Check out our help guide, or just get in touch for help!

2. Don’t underestimate the power of gift cards.

digital gift cards

Although gift cards make an important addition to any Black Friday marketing campaign, this is especially true in the tour and activity industry. Gift cards are a user-friendly way for customers to gift an experience to friends or family, or to purchase an activity for a future trip.

Because they eliminate the need for tricky details like dates, times and even group size, gift cards are an easy sell in your off-season, especially as people begin buying gifts for the holidays.

  • If you use FareHarbor as your online booking system, you can sell gift cards just as easily as you sell any other item. Link directly to gift cards from a button on your site, or add them to your reservation page alongside other bookable items.
  • Remember, gift cards sold through FareHarbor are digital gift cards that can be redeemed online, in-person or over-the-phone, all through FareHarbor.
  • Don’t hesitate to promote gift cards on your homepage and in your email marketing campaigns. They’re an easy purchase for your customers, help boost off-season sales, plus 75% of gift card holders end up spending more than the original value.

3. Get serious about social sharing.

In a world where shoppers are exposed to dozens of brands on a daily basis, it’s no wonder consumers are growing fatigued with digital marketing. As a result, consumers are learning to look for user-generated content—such as photos, reviews, tweets and blog posts—that is created by unpaid contributors.

Considered to be 85% more persuasive than content that comes directly from your brand, user-generated content is just as effective as a personal recommendation from family or friends.

User-generated content is considered to be authentic and honest, which makes it gold for your business. If you collected user content last year, such as customer reviews and photos, now is the time to put it to use. If you didn’t, focus on collecting it this year and then use it to boost Black Friday sales in both 2018 and 2019.

Encourage social sharing from your customers by:

  • Featuring your customers’ content on your own social pages or blog whenever they tag your business or use your hashtag.
  • Offering a discount, stickers or t-shirt to customers who @mention your business, check-in on Facebook, or use your hashtag.
  • Running a contest on social media. Sounds daunting? Here’s a guide that’ll help you get it right.

4. Go big on email marketing.

With so many sales and deals to choose from, it’s easy for your business to get lost in the noise. An email marketing campaign can put your offerings directly under the nose of your customer base, whether they be local or from afar. After all, what’s the point of running an epic Black Friday promotion if nobody knows about it? Here are a few tips to ensure email success:

  • Create anticipation. Sending your first email out before the promotion begins helps overwhelmed consumers prioritize their shopping strategy, as well as create anticipation for what’s to come.
  • Give extra love to past customers. The best way to create loyal customers that return time and time again is to show them just how much you appreciate them. An additional discount or early bird access helps build the kind of relationship that can transform a past customer into a full-on brand advocate.
  • Make sure your emails are mobile-friendly. Big, bold, image-heavy designs can be tempting—just make sure it’s all mobile-friendly. There’s nothing worse than getting your email in front of the right person, then losing the sale because your call-to-action button is wonky on mobile.
  • Include CTAs that link directly to the promotion. If you’re marketing a specific tour or activity, don’t forget to link your call-to-action directly to the item that you’re promoting. This prevents the user from having to click around your site, thus increasing your chances of converting the customer.

5. Create balance with #OptOutside or Giving Tuesday.

REI optoutside

Even if consumer holidays aren’t quite your cup of tea, you don’t have to sit this weekend out. While consumers are hyper-engaged, watching for deals and promotions from their favorite brands, take the opportunity to build brand awareness around your values rather than your products.

It’s an approach that’s been gaining in popularity after REI, a major outdoor retailer, launched #OptOutside four years ago. Acting against the mass consumerism that’s come to characterize Thanksgiving weekend, #OptOutside encourages people to spend the Friday following Thanksgiving away from the computer, instead opting to spend the day outdoors with friends and family. And much to our benefit, we operate in an industry that centers on experiencing life beyond material goods!

Since launching, the campaign has been adopted by hundreds of businesses that agree with the sentiment. Yours can be one of them!

  • Share why your business is choosing to #OptOutside on your social media pages, making sure to use the hashtag in your post. Increase impact by sharing photos of your employees outdoors, and be sure to invite your customers to do the same.

Similarly, Giving Tuesday takes place the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, and is meant to turn the rush of the consumer weekend outwards. Created to foster charity and community during the holiday season, this perfectly complements the spirit of #OptOutside.

  • Giving Tuesday is a great opportunity to give back to your community and sponsor local events, charities or organizations that your business aligns with.

Whether you opt for all of these strategies or just one, take advantage of the increased engagement that comes with Black Friday weekend. Or, alternatively, keep these strategies in your pocket for another important holiday or event.

Let’s Recap! The FareHarbor User Conference

Last Monday, magic happened. And it’s all thanks to you!

More than 300 attendees from 7 different countries joined us in Las Vegas for a full day of all things tours, activities and of course, FareHarbor, at the very first FareHarbor User Conference.

Ever focused on growing your business, we packed one-on-one meetings, educational sessions and even a feature release in between the countless conversations, connections and some pretty tasty food (if we do say so ourselves).

After an endless amount of phone calls and emails exchanged, it was incredible to meet so many of you face-to-face. Our team left feeling humbled by the community that’s formed around FareHarbor, and motivated by the passion and drive you all have for this industry.

Notable moments & statistics

Boost by FareHarbor

  • More than 60 friendly faces from the FareHarbor team in attendance.
  • Personalized, one-on-one meetings with 150 clients.
  • 15 general sessions covering everything from social media to Dashboard best practices.
  • Average session rating of 4.5 out of 5 for usefulness.
  • More than $1 million collectively won on slot machines. (Just makin’ sure you’re still paying attention!)

We also announced the release of FareHarbor Boost, a digital marketing program backed by our team of certified experts. The goal here is simple—to support you in making smart, data-driven marketing decisions.

We’ll work with you to dig through your data, and deliver custom-built strategies that cater to your business and market. From PPC to SEO, organic search to email, we’ll help you decide what’s working, what isn’t, and where next to focus your budget.

As with all of our tools and benefits, FareHarbor Boost is completely free to FareHarbor clients. Simply get in touch if you’re ready for a boost! Our digital marketing experts are excited to start working with you and perfecting your marketing campaigns.

Your most asked questions

FareHarbor User Conference Questions

Over the course of the conference, you sent in 402 questions ranging from, “What time is lunch?” to “Does a blog help SEO?” For brevity’s sake, we selected a few of the most-asked questions to answer here:

Does a blog help SEO? Absolutely! Blogs are one of the easiest and most effective ways to keep fresh, relevant content flowing on your website, and a great way to boost your overall SEO strategy.

With the proper keyword research and on-page SEO, blogging can help your website rank for relevant keywords that bring more traffic and revenue to your business. Here are a few help docs to get you started:

I’m very active on social media, but I don’t feel like I see much business from it. What am I doing wrong? Is it now a total pay to play arena? When it comes to social media marketing, there are two options: organic and paid. Organic allows you as a brand to control 100% of the channel content and platforms. With organic social media, your posts will reach people who have liked or followed your page directly and have chosen to engage with your brand.

On the other end, paid social media allows you to reach users that don’t already follow your brand through boosted posts, offers and promotions. This enables you to target those who have expressed interest in your type of business or service, or a specific demographic.

If you’re not seeing great engagement from your social media marketing efforts, try changing up your content or posting strategy. If refreshing your strategy doesn’t increase your brand awareness and engagement, try incorporating paid posts and promotions.

Remember, all of social media is trial-and-error. Keep at it, and eventually you’ll find the content, frequency and balance between paid and organic posts that works for you.

How do you recommend introducing hotel concierges to becoming an affiliate and using the features of FareHarbor? The best way is get hotel concierges interested in using FareHarbor is to offer the hotel concierge a commission for tour sales, and show them about how easy it is for them to resell your activities or tours.

You could even offer them a comped or discounted ticket to your activity, so they can experience your offering first hand and share their experience when selling your activity to guests.

Remember, once connected with FareHarbor, they’ll receive a login that allows them to book directly through their own Dashboard. They’ll also have trackable ‘Book Now’ buttons that can be placed on their site, so they can resell with no effort needed!

Once you develop a partnership with a hotel concierge, just let your Channel Development rep or our Support Team know and we’ll work with your affiliate to get them set up.

Is there a manifest or other way for an affiliate to track their bookings? When the affiliate logs into their affiliate Dashboard, they’ll be able to see all of the bookings which have them tagged as the affiliate in the Recent Bookings section and in the Reporting section of their Dashboard.

If you have a question about a specific affiliate, reach out to our team and we’ll go over the various ways it’s possible for your affiliate to track their bookings based on your relationship and set up.

Does Telescope allow you to separate out individual tours/products or does it aggregate them all into one average price? FareHarbor Telescope looks at each individual Item for every Availability Month that exists within your Dashboard. Our predictive pricing algorithm then springs into action, taking the Average Price Per Customer for all customer types (Adults, Children, etc.) within that Item.

A look at the event

Conference Check In

Breakfast at FareHarbor Conference

Lawrence User Conference

Gabby

Conference Full House

FareHarbor Client Interaction

Meeting with clients

FareHarbor Swag 2

Google Analytics

One on One

Conference Sessions

Conference Polls

FareHarbor Swag

One on one 2

Relive the conference with session recordings

If you that couldn’t make it this year or if you want to revisit the information shared at the conference, check out our library of recorded sessions. You’ll find everything from Google Analytics advice to Dashboard best practices, all with love from our team to yours.

Get ready for next year’s conference!

We’re still unpacking from this year’s conference—but we can’t help thinking about next year! So, keep your 2019 calendars open for another great event. Until then, thanks for choosing FareHarbor. Onwards & upwards!

FareHarbor Is Headed To Arival, The In-Destination Event

As a proud launch partner of Arival, we couldn’t be more excited for the conference kick off in just a few days! We anticipate a memorable event, marked by a whole lot of great information, networking and enthusiasm for the industry we all love.

If you’re attending Arival, we’d love to connect while we’re both there. We’ll have people from every team at the conference, from Sales to Account Management, so regardless of whether you’re already a FareHarbor client or interested in learning more, let’s chat.

You can find us at the FareHarbor-hosted Workshops and Demo Labs listed below or at the FareHarbor booth in the Artist Hall. And of course, don’t miss Tuesday night’s Hawaiian Luau! We’ll be serving up lots of aloha (and mai tais).


Tuesday, September 25

Demo Lab: Winning Direct Sales
1:30pm – 2:00pm

Consumers are increasingly drawn to the convenience of shopping for experiences over desktop, tablet, and mobile devices. As tour operators, we need to prepare ourselves to offer quick and effective mediums for users to book activities online in order to stay competitive. FareHarbor is invested in understanding and meeting your operational needs to better service your online customer base. Come learn about some simple tactics we use to optimize industry-specific websites so you can make a dramatic difference in your online revenue.

Demo Lab: Grow Your Business Every Year
2:15pm – 2:45pm

FareHarbor partners with medium- to enterprise-level businesses to boost year over year revenue on a multitude of channels. After joining FareHarbor, our clients outperform their year-to-year online revenue by an average of 250%. Not only do we analyze bookings through your online channel, but we provide industry-specific best practices to streamline your operation so you can cut your administrative costs and drive sales. Learn what our team is doing to ensure continued revenue growth and see the potential growth FareHarbor could bring to your business.

Workshop: The Direct Marketing Manifesto
3:00pm – 3:45pm

Within our varied industry of tours, activities, and attractions, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to digital marketing and distribution. This workshop will walk through the essential questions each tour and activity operator must address as they map out their strategy to drive growth and acquire new customers. Touching on everything from Google and Instagram to phone sales and hotel concierge networks, we will guide you through all key marketing channels and strategies we recommend to have in your direct marketing toolkit. Workshop Leader: Max Valverde, President & COO, FareHarbor

Don’t miss out on the FareHarbor Hawaiian Luau! Hosted at the Vanity Nightclub, the party starts at 8:00pm and runs until midnight. Don’t miss it!


Wednesday, September 26

Demo Lab: “FareHarbor Connect: An Effortless Solution To Third-Party Resellers
1:30pm – 2:00pm

FareHarbor offers a variety of integration options to help connect you with your third-party resellers in a convenient way. Through API connections, our Agent Portal, or even adding your book buttons to third-party websites, you no longer need to worry about overbooking or updating availabilities. With FareHarbor Connect, connecting to third-parties is completely risk-free. Join us as we dive into the details of FareHarbor Connect, reviewing all the ways it can work for your unique business. We’ll review our different integrations for different types of resellers, and share benefits and best practices.

You can find our team at any of these events or the FareHarbor booth in the Artist Hall! We can’t wait to see you!

5 Best Practices Every Tourism Site Should Follow

Even as a tour provider, the digital world is still a part of the gig.

Researching and booking travel online is officially the new norm, meaning businesses in the travel industry are all but required to look to the web when it comes to growing their customer base.

The sureness of this is actually a great thing. It gives you, as the business owner, the advantage of knowing exactly what information the majority of customers will see prior to making their final decision. Now, the challenge comes in delivering this information in a way that guides the customer towards your mutual goal—a booking!

To help you master the art, we turned to our local website experts: the FareHarbor Sites team. Together, they’ve built over 1000 sites, each and every one of them for tour, activity or attraction companies. Safe to say they’ve learned a thing or two about what it takes to create a site that converts visitors into paying customers.

From our team to yours, here are the five most important features of a successful tourism website:

Shay K

  1. High-quality images that provide a glimpse into your tours and services can go a long way in enticing potential customers to make a booking. Don’t underestimate the power of professional imagery in creating feelings of trust for your site’s visitors.”

    -Shay Knolle, Senior Web Content Specialist at FareHarbor

Trust and credibility are two of the most important drivers behind purchasing decisions. Your online visitors want to know that they’re choosing a solid company that will provide an awesome experience from start to finish.

Photos help customers visualize the experience, giving them confidence in what they’re booking. High-quality photos deliver this assurance in a beautiful way and make a statement about the professionalism of the company.

Dan J

  1. Treat your website as a tool to guide the customer towards the tour they are most likely to book. Aim to minimize the number of clicks and not overwhelm them with too many choices at each step. Use tools such as colorful badges, taxonomies and categorization to lead your customer to a decision.”

    -Dan Johnson, Web Content Specialist at FareHarbor

Every aspect of your website, from content to design, should lead online visitors to a booking. It’s about predicting what information they need along the path to purchase and delivering it to them in the most succinct, helpful way possible.

If a visitor lands on your site looking to book an activity, is there a short, defined path to purchase? Are all of their pre-booking questions answered along this path? Ask these questions as you move through your site.

Taryn P

  1. Always put a call-to-action above the fold. The goal is to start driving conversions as soon as someone visits your site.”

    -Taryn Parsons, Web Content Specialist at FareHarbor

A call-to-action (CTA) is a button or hyperlink that tells the user to perform a certain action or next step. For a tour, activity or attraction company, the most effective CTA is a ‘Book Now’ button.

Placing your CTA “above the fold” means making the ‘Book Now’ button clearly visible immediately upon landing on your webpage. No scrolling necessary. This way, visitors are pushed into your booking funnel without first having to click around your site.

Sommer S

  1. “Mobile is everything. The amount of people browsing and booking on mobile sites is about equal and soon to overtake desktop users. Google even ranks based on the page load speed of your mobile site. The better your mobile experience, the more people are likely to purchase a ticket on the fly.”

    -Sommer Shearer, Senior Web Content Specialist at FareHarbor

This will hardly come as a surprise but you simply have to think beyond desktop these days. Mobile devices are quickly becoming the new normal for both Google and your customers.

Improving your mobile experience is a quick way to boost both your search engine ranking and your conversion rate. A bonus? A mobile-friendly experience also speaks to the trust and credibility of your site by letting visitors know that your business is modern and up-to-date.

Blake K

  1. You have roughly 3 seconds to tell visitors what your site has to offer. Our team strives to cause action, gain trust, and provide a clear path to your booking flow.”

    -Blake Kenney, Senior Web Content Specialist at FareHarbor

With all the information available on the web, it can be challenging to keep a user’s attention. In fact, most visitors will only give a site a few seconds of their time before they bounce to the next one.

Capture their attention quickly with a site that caters to everything they’re looking for. In this industry, that’s trust, credibility and ease of booking.


The best sites are the ones that anticipate the visitor’s needs and meets them. Keep this and the above tips in mind as you update your site—or if you’re a FareHarbor client, just let us know that you’re interested in working with the Sites team.

Not yet a FareHarbor client but want help with your website? A site from our team is completely free when you partner with FareHarbor! Get in touch with us!

Faces Of FareHarbor: Jess

Meet Jess Pashos!


Jess Pashos

A FareHarbor veteran, Jess was one of the first people to join our Sales team in Needham, MA. Now the VP of Sales Operations in our Amsterdam office, she’s bringing the best of FareHarbor to our friends in Europe. If you partner with FareHarbor, it’s likely Jess has been involved in your go-live in one way or the other. Let’s get to know her!

You just moved to Europe! What’s been your top place to visit so far?

Well, Amsterdam has been amazing. One morning, I woke up at 5am and biked to the I Amsterdam sign before the crowds got there. I watched the sunrise and took some cool pictures of the sign and the Rijksmuseum. I’ve also had some fun trips to other cool cities in the Netherlands.

Outside of the Netherlands, I went to Stavanger, Norway for a long weekend and did some awesome hikes. It is so beautiful there, I cannot wait to go back!

What do you miss most about the Boston area?

Besides all of the rippers in our Needham office and my family and friends, the Red Sox have had an incredible season, and I used to be able to make it to quite a few games at Fenway as I’ve always lived so close to the city.

I think I’ll miss the enthusiasm in the Boston area during all games (baseball, hockey, football, etc) the most.

What’s next on your tour/activity bucket list?

My dad has a work trip in London in a few weeks so he is coming a weekend early. We are meeting in Scotland and hiking the Cairngorms 4000s loop. 21 miles total! And we will hit 5 of the highest peaks in Scotland.

I have a long bucket list though, and as the list of companies that we partner with in the EU grows, that list gets longer and longer!

We have been out with a few of our local clients already including Flagship Cruises and Walks of Europe. We had an amazing time. And when we all first arrived, we immediately got bikes from one of our first live EU companies – Mike’s Bike Tours!

What’s been the most surprising difference about life in Amsterdam?

The same day that I got on the plane to Amsterdam, I sold my car. I knew that things would be different without it, but I have been pleasantly surprised!

We are able to bike everywhere and transportation is super easy, even to surrounding towns and internationally. I thought that I would miss the freedom that a car can but things have been smooth sailing!

You’ve been at FareHarbor for a while. What about this place makes you want to stick around?

The people! I get excited coming to work every single day. What’s even cooler is that our Amsterdam office is bringing together employees from our Boston, Denver and soon, San Francisco offices.

Even though some employees had not met in person before, it felt as if we were one big family right off of the bat. As we start to welcome our first EU hires, everyone just fits right in. Being around so many awesome people with different backgrounds and the same big picture goals makes it a lot of fun to come to work each day.

Not to mention that we work with the coolest clients ever and have the industry-leading product… I could go on and on!

Describe your job at FareHarbor in three words.

Different every day!

Influencer Marketing Strategies for Tour & Activity Businesses

It’s not just you: influencers are indeed taking over the world of marketing. And while we’re all for new marketing trends (especially ones that actually create results) this one can feel a little intimidating. After all, compared to traditional marketing methods where you’re in control of the final product, influencer marketing relies on a third-party to make it happen.

But as with most trends, the question remains—is it here to stay?

Research shows that influencer marketing isn’t disappearing anytime soon. In fact, it’s only getting more popular. Especially in the travel industry, which has always been a stronghold for influencer marketing, influencers are on the rise as one of the most effective ways to connect with your audience.

Of course, it’s only effective if you can get it right. To help you perfect your influencer partnership, we’ve put together a crash course in influencer marketing. Let’s get started:

What is influencer marketing?

influencer-blogging

Like most forms of marketing, influencer marketing is all about building relationships. But instead of building relationships with each individual customer, you focus on one very specific customer; the influencer.

Influencers can be bloggers, popular Instagram users, YouTube stars or even the neighbor next door—anyone that has a large, dedicated social following.

They use social media as a platform to create a community around their own personal brand, connecting with people (followers!) that share their same interests.

Similar to the way you might reach for your favorite magazine, people look to influencers for inspiration, up-and-coming trends, product reviews and advice.

In fact, the average person trusts the opinion of the influencers they follow as much as they trust their friends and family.

That leaves hundreds, thousands or even tens of thousands of customers to be reached with a trusted peer review, all by connecting with just one influencer.

That’s the beauty of influencer marketing. One relationship can transform into a tour de force of customer connection. A trusted voice advocating your brand can be that powerful.

The challenge, of course, comes in finding the right voice to work with.

How to choose an influencer

location tag searches

In any form of marketing, the key to an effective campaign is knowing your audience. After all, how effective would an advertisement for men’s shaving cream be in a room full of single females? If you aren’t selling to the right customer, it simply won’t matter how good your activity is.

Keep this in mind as you choose an influencer to work with. It’s not just about them, it’s about their audience too. After all, these are the people that you’re targeting with the partnership.

So how do you make sure you choose the right person?

  • Search hashtags, location tags and Google to find influencers you like. A little research goes a long way. If you’re looking to connect with a blogger, tools like BuzzSumo make it easy to find bloggers that have used your keyword. A simple Google search will do the trick too!

    If you’re looking for an Instagram influencer, use the app to browse hashtag keywords associated with your activity or area. Try starting locally, with hashtags that feature your location’s name, like #explorehonolulu or #surfhawaii. You can use Instagram location tags in the same way.

  • Take follower count lightly. Follower count seems like it’d be an intuitive way to gauge the potential of an influencer, but that’s not always the case. A larger reach also means a higher price tag, and the promise of a higher return has led some accounts to purchase fake followers. Fake accounts obviously won’t give a great ROI (return on investment), so keep followers as a metric, but not the metric.

  • Check for authentic likes and comments. Remember that fake followers warning? Here’s where you vet your influencer for authenticity. In the social media world, likes and comments are known as “engagement.”

    Good engagement means your influencer’s followers are real people who care about what they say—not bot accounts purchased online. You’ll know you’ve found a good one if people are tagging their friends in the comments, asking questions and getting responses from the influencer.

  • Scan posts for consistency. You’re looking to make sure they not only post consistently but that their brand is solid. The influencer you choose should have a brand that aligns with yours—and not just while on vacation or in your area.

    Scroll through a few months of their posts to view their content and read their captions. Remember, you’ll be putting your brand in their hands. The extra time it takes to dig in is worth it.

What to focus on

instagram searches

Now that you have the right partner and the right audience, what comes next? You’ll get the best results if you work side-by-side, planning and executing the promotional content as a team.

While the influencer is ultimately in control of how the brand message comes to life, it’s your job to pass along clear expectations about your business’ values and goals, as well as technical details like post length, frequency and compensation.

  • Decide what you want to offer beforehand. Be strategic, and fully plan out what you’re willing to offer an influencer in exchange for exposure to their audience. What is expected will vary between influencers, so it’s easiest to establish the partnership on your terms.

  • Don’t break the rules! There are, of course, rules when it comes to advertising your product but you’ll navigate them well if you keep things transparent.

    You’ll always be in the safe zone if you insist that your influencer is fully transparent about the partnership, letting their audience know that the experience was sponsored. This can be as simple as a “#sponsored” or a thank you included in their caption.

  • Be prepared to measure ROI. It’s valuable to track likes and comments, but you’ll want to keep an eye out for an increase in subscribers to your own page, shares, views and of course, bookings.

    You can create a unique link or promo code for your influencer to share, then dig into Google Analytics and look for referrals from that link or from their blog site.

  • Work together for the best results. Spending time generating ideas, discussing branding goals and sharing content with your influencer will always lead to better results. Both you and the influencer you work with will benefit from treating the gig as a true partnership.

Main takeaway:

When it comes to influencer marketing, it’s all about selecting the right partner for your unique business.

Because you’re trusting them with your brand, it’s incredibly important that you partner with someone you align with. Someone that just gets it.

As they relay their experience to their community, it’ll be through their own lens. It’s both what makes influencer marketing so intimidating—and so effective. Embrace this fully by doing diligent research before you make your choice and working closely with whoever you partner with.

If you’re still feeling nervous about taking the dive into influencer marketing, start slow! Practice partnering with people in your local neighborhood, offering discounts or free swag for sharing their experience on social media and tagging your business or using your hashtag.

After all, with 68% of social media users between the ages of 18 and 24 reporting that they’re more likely to make a purchase after seeing a product on a friend’s post, truly anyone can be an influencer.