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4 Ways Tour Companies Can Target Customers with PPC Advertising

Winter or summer. Skydiving or snorkeling. The desire to travel and explore the world has not changed over the last century and likely won’t change in the future. What has evolved drastically is the way we plan and book travel. A disruption made possible by the internet.

The internet opened a whole world of information and mobile technology did the rest by changing the way we search and make purchases indefinitely. *Cue The Travel Customer Journey,* or what Google has identified as the newest path in which customers are mapping out their vacations.

With this shift, digital advertising is almost a necessity in order to maintain a strong online presence. Over 74% of both leisure and travel planning starts online. 57% of people claim they begin by using a search engine, so getting set up with a robust paid search strategy is critical.

The world of paid advertising can be tricky, but when done right, it can be extremely successful. Pay-Per-Click (PPC) is one of the fastest ways to validate your tour offerings and generate leads. Essentially, PPC is the ability to buy advertising from search engines like Google, and only pay when someone clicks on your ad. By identifying the keywords your customers are using to find your business, you can set up parameters to target that exact audience. Google AdWords is a great place to start learning more about keyword targeting.

By targeting qualified customers who are actively searching, paid advertising has a 50% higher conversion rate than organic search. Position your PPC ads to hit your customers during the right time in their traveler customer journey. Let’s break it down:

1. Dreaming – Introducing the Dream Team a.k.a. Your Business

These customers have just begun the trip-planning process, and are mostly looking for travel inspiration. Show ‘em what you’ve got!

Customer Problem: What Do I Need?

People turn to search engines because they don’t know exactly what they are looking for. This step in the journey usually starts with a broad search; “Fun summer activities,” “boat trips near an ocean.” They are looking for opinions, resources, and inspiration.

Marketing Solution: Define Their Need

Define that need for them. Lead them to your boat tour before they even have a chance to search the second page of Google. By utilizing paid search ads, your business will be seen using those keywords we mentioned earlier that match your ad. When they see your ad, you’re now on their  radar for further consideration. You might also make them aware of your tours through inspirational content such as blog posts and social media.

AdWord Tip: Choose generic keywords that drive volume, but not direct conversions. Aiming for ad positions 3 – 4 here will help to improve your overall cost efficiency while ensuring brand exposure.

2. Researching – A World Wide Web of Possibilities

The information-gathering stage, this is where customers begin building a list of potential activities they want to do.

Customer Problem: How can my need be met?

People have chosen a destination. They start looking for the right dates, the best flight, and all the things to do while visiting. They may have some idea of what to do in that area based off of initial research and start to compare options; “Things to do in Boston during summer,” “best boating excursions in San Diego.”

Marketing Solution: Retargeted Ads

Your customer may have learned about you already through an ad or by visiting your website. Once they’ve interacted with your brand by clicking on your ad or checking out your website in the Dreaming phase, keep your tour company name in the forefront of their minds. If a searcher visits your landing page for ATV tours, follow them around with ads showing happy vacationers riding through lush valleys. This will incentivise them to return to your site and puts you in the mix for a conversion.

AdWord Tip: Aim for more specific keywords, often with a location included in them. Ad copy should match these keywords as closely as possible and you should aim for ad positions 2 – 3.

3. Planning – Time For a Reality Check

You’ve made it to the final consideration round. This is where customers start weighing their options.

Customer Problem: Which is the best solution?

Customers have decided on a specific place they want to visit and now they are looking for the best things to do while they are there. This means they will be choosing between you and your competitors in the area. They might be searching for a tour in a specific part of town or an activity that meets a desired price range; “Summer sightseeing tour in Beacon Hill, Boston,” “cheap harbour cruise in San Diego.”

Marketing Solution:

Show social proof by displaying the number of travelers you’ve served on your PPC ads. The copy you use here should address your target market directly. What makes you stand out as the best scooter tours in Denver, or why do people enjoy booking your horseback riding tours? One of the best ways to find this information is to talk to your customers directly.

AdWord Tip: Same as the Researching phase, use more specific keywords with a location included. Match your ad copy with these keywords and aim for ad positions 2 – 3.

4. Booking – First, Second, and Third Impressions Matter

Customers know exactly what kind of experience they’re seeking, and are ready to book!

Customer Problem: How do I buy?

Once customers have made it to the booking stage, they want everything to be as easy as possible. Your PPC approach answered their need, solved their problem and showed them the benefits and features of your tour company! At this point, they are tuned into your company and like what you have to offer; “Bobby’s Boston Walking Tours in Beacon Hill,” “Sunny Dock Cruise Line in San Diego.”

Marketing Solution: Strong Call-To-Action

Retarget one more time and drive urgency by showing deadlines for deals. Everyone likes a deal and chances are, your customers are searching to find one. Even at the luxury end of the tour and activity market, nobody is above a little incentive. If they were on the fence, this might be the very thing that tips them over to book your jet ski rental. SOLD!

AdWord Tip: Use highly specific keywords, often with terms like “book” or “purchase” included in them. Higher bids and higher ad positions are recommended here due to the lower overall volumes and the likelihood of these keywords converting.

 

Curious about getting setup with PPC and other marketing services? FareHarbor has recently partnered with TRK, a team specialized marketing for tour, activity, and attraction businesses. Head over to toursandactivitiesmarketing.com to see more…

Mapping Your Customer’s Digital Journey

Booking vacations can be an exciting experience, but it can also require a lot of research from the traveler’s perspective. Customer journey maps are a great tool to visually represent your customers’ experience from beginning to end, but what exactly are they, how do you create them, and what is the best way to use them for your tour, activity, or attraction business?

Journey mapping uses pictures to represent the process to better understand the flow of experiences a customer has with your business where words can not. It can be a challenge to get in the minds of your customers and untangle the ten or more steps it took for them to get from landing on your homepage to finalizing their booking when your expectation was that it should only take one or two steps. Wherever the confusion may be, customer journey mapping can help lay out the process and identify the touchpoints from start to finish. By practicing journey mapping, you not only help establish a consistent narrative across multiple channels but also surface the needs and pain points of your customers to ultimately align their journey with your overall goals.

Since the typical customer journey can no longer be represented in a linear model, it’s important for businesses to understand the current process customers are experiencing from the first to the final touchpoint. The ease of digital movement between multiple channels is becoming increasingly more popular, and customers are weighing their options now more than ever, so mapping can be hard to visualize. But no matter the representation tool, Excel sheets to post-it notes on a whiteboard, it’s important your for your map to make sense to all those who will be using it.

Stages:

  1. Set clear objectives for the purpose of your map
  2. Identify customer personas and define their goals
  3. List out all touchpoints
  4. Define the “micro-moments” of your customer’s journey
  5. Take yourself on the customer journey
  6. Go back, assess, and make changes

1. Set clear objectives for the purpose of your map

Before jumping into the visual aspect of the map, it’s important to step back and ask yourself why you are creating this journey map in the first place. Define your goals. You can start by answering questions such as these as an initial guide.

  • Am I trying to drive awareness toward my tours and activities?
  • Are too many potential customers being lost to competitors?
  • Is my tour company easy to find when using online search engines?
  • Am I driving consideration to my tours, but losing potential customers because the booking process is too hard to follow?
  • Do I want to create a network of repeat customers?
  • Are people sharing positive reviews of their experiences on my tour?

Once your goals are clearly defined, it can be helpful to create personas for each of your targeted customers.

2. Identify customer personas and define their goals

Personas help give a clear understanding of who you are trying to reach. By stepping into the mind of your ideal customer type(s), you can develop the language and psychographic around who you’ll be speaking to. Within the travel space, there is a wide range of personas you could be speaking to, ranging from business travelers to family vacationers to solo adventure seekers. The easiest way to identify your customers is by talking with them. Getting feedback through questionnaires is a good method to get direct answers. To get you started, questions can include:

  • How did you hear about us?
  • Where were you first drawn to on our website?
  • How easy was our website for you to navigate?
  • How could we have made your experience easier?
  • Did you end up booking a tour/activity/etc. with us?

By building out personas, you not only identify the best methods of communication for each customer type but can also save time investing in certain channels where you may not have an active audience. If your ideal customer isn’t engaging with your business or similar brands on Twitter, then you don’t need to invest in Twitter. If customers aren’t downloading the boating manual prominently displayed on your website, then you can use that space to develop a well-thought-out piece of content based on your customers’ high levels of engagement. So how do you identify where those high levels of engagement are?

3. List out all touchpoints

Most travelers these days are using multiple channels across multiple devices to book. Understanding all of the places where your customers interact with your business is a very important aspect of creating your journey map. According to Think Google, 94% of leisure travelers switch between devices when booking a trip. This means keeping everything from pages of your website on desktop and mobile, as well as any social channels, paid ads, emails, or third-party review sites top of mind. It’s helpful to list all touchpoints YOU believe customers should be using along with any data you can gather from backend research. Google Analytics can be a valuable tool in this step to see where a majority of your traffic is coming from. Any overlap between what you see as necessary channels and the backend research can be used as a good baseline for the channels to focus on. We’ve broken down the customer journey into six “micro-moments” to understand which touchpoints to you can focus on.

4. Define the “micro-moments” of your customer journey

This is where you can begin to piece together your map. You have your goals clearly outlined, and now you can align to your customer’s goals. Different personas come with different experiential expectations. Get to know your customers and understand their expectations throughout the whole journey by walking through these micro-moments.

  • Dreaming

The stage where you grab the consumer’s attention — your visitors are discovering their options and getting inspiration from channels like social media, pictures, and ads. They are scrolling through social media feeds sending friends photos of inspirational travel destinations.

  • Research

The stage where consumers start looking into specific activities. Examine where your personas are searching for activities in your niche. 74% of families use search engines for researching travel options, making Google Ads a good tool to get in front of traveling families, while 87% of millennials use Facebook to make travel decisions, making user-generated content (UGC) a valuable resource.

  • Planning

By now customers have determined where they will be going and are aware of your company and the activities you offer. They start weighing their options and figuring out how the experiences you offer fit into travel plans compared to other options.

  • Booking

Your company is the best fit and they’ve locked in a booking! You landed the customer and they are feeling excited for the experience you’re going to be providing them.

  • Experiencing

You provide the perfect catered experience before, during, and after your tour or activity. They are posting live photos and are already planning their next activity with you.

  • Sharing

Advocacy stems from the great experience that you provided to your customer. You’ve secured a brand ambassador  and TripAdvisor just sent you a notification that you just received a glowing five-star review.

Now you’re ready to take all of the ingredients from the previous stages and bake the cake. Here your map will come to life. As mentioned, the way you display your customer journey map is entirely discretionary, but feel free to use this as a template.

5. Take yourself on the customer journey

For every persona you’ve developed and every touchpoint you’ve identified, go through the journey. Put on your “first-time user” goggles and ask yourself the important questions as you’re walking through the user experience from every angle.

  • Are you clicking into the website but then closing out before booking a tour?
  • Are you easily guided to the checkout?
  • Do you feel like you are receiving the right amount of support?
  • Can you identify the overall goal of the website easily, and how many clicks did it take to get you there?

By answering these questions and then analyzing your results, you can show where customer needs are not being met before a potential customer ever visits your platform.

6. Go back, assess, and make changes

A cartographer’s work is never done. Your map should be a constant work in progress. By setting aside time to review your map, you are able to identify gaps, pain points, or opportunities quickly and ideally keep growing your business. Keep in contact with your customers, value their feedback, and always keep improving!

New Tools to Take Away from Hawaii FareHarbor Conference

One week has gone by, and if you were unable to attend FareHarbor Conference in Hawaii, you missed out (and we missed you!). It was a full day packed with engaging one-on-one discussions, speaker sessions, and a networking happy hour for the decades.

Our team was excited to get back to our roots and spend time connecting with over 300 incredible attendees who made FHConference a wild success. There was a real sense of Ohana, and it was great to see everyone contributing to the conversations around Hawaiian tourism. Seeing the excitement within the Hawaii market reaffirmed FareHarbor’s commitment to keep delivering real and transformative value through everything we do. While it’s nearly impossible to capture all of the one-on-ones, presentations, and networking that went on, here are a few tools that were covered at the FareHarbor Conference to bring back and apply to your business.

Grow Your Business

In this digital age, it’s no longer an expectation to be technologically optimized; it’s a requirement. So how do you stand out in a super competitive industry like travel and tourism? Building a strong online presence is necessary to reach new customers, retain old ones, and help you stand out. Here are a few tools mentioned during the conference to get you started:

Email Marketing – According to Statista, 90% of American adults use email. Email within the travel industry specifically yields a high open rate of 20.69% according to MailChimp. The benefits of email marketing for your tour business can include building brand loyalty, attracting new customers, and allowing you to compete with larger tour companies. Head over to Compass, our online suite full of resources to grow your business, to learn more about email marketing and get started with your first email campaign.

Google Analytics – With more and more travelers looking to book activities online, having an optimized website can do wonders for your business. Using Google Analytics in conjunction with your website can provide valuable insights into the best way to run your site. As a free online tool, Google Analytics can help you track your web visitors’ behaviors and analyze your traffic. There are thousands of ways you can slice and dice the data you have available in Google Analytics, so let us help you! Head to our help page to get started with setting up a free analytics account.

PPC Advertising (Pay-per-click) – According to Ipsos MediaCT, 80% of travelers start shopping for tours to book for an upcoming vacation by searching online. Having a paid search strategy could greatly benefit your business growth. By visiting FareHarbor’s Compass page dedicated to showing you how to get into PPC, you’ll learn how to control your advertising costs, optimize your ads, and increase your conversion rates. Don’t wait to start boosting your business.

Distribution Channels

The number of ways to promote your tours can seem daunting, which is why we offer easy ways to connect your activities to third-party resellers, including Online Travel Agents (OTAs), other tour companies, and local connections within your area. These useful tools allow you to work with businesses to reach travelers in different market segments and increase your reach.

API and Affiliate connections – By using our Application Programming Interface (API) connections, partnering with online travel agencies like Expedia or Viator can be easy. Availabilities between platforms are updated in real time and can be seen from your FareHarbor Dashboard. To learn more about setting up your API, get in touch with our connectivity team today.

Reserve with Google – FareHarbor’s recent integration with Reserve with Google is a revolutionary way to connect Google search users right to your activities. When travelers search for an activity using Google Search, Google Maps, or Google Assistant, they will be matched with your available offerings and an option to book right from the Google page. FareHarbor gets your business on Reserve with Google and gives you full control to manage which activities are available for booking. Get discovered and booked through the world’s largest search engine by reaching out to our team today.

Partner Program – Grow and support your business by connecting with local resellers in your area who are also using the FareHarbor platform. Our Partner Program is a regionalized network of FareHabor clients who opt-in to resell and be resold by one another for a commission. We introduced this program as a way for you to easily gain more exposure for your business, all while earning commission on referrals. Learn about existing Partner Programs and how you can get involved.

Dashboard Training

Our Dashboard track focused on a bunch of new features that were introduced over the past year. We’re always trying to take the customer’s experience to the next level, and the following Dashboard additions make improvements to the overall ease and accessibility of your bookings on both the front and back end. Select a feature below to get started!

Thank you to each and every person who made FareHarbor Conference Hawaii a success. We can’t wait to see the value you bring back to your business and your team to make a difference. Make it stick by applying these tools!

If you missed the FH Conference in Hawaii, we’ll be heading to Orlando in October 2019 for conference number two. Stay tuned for updates and sign up for more information by visiting fareharborconference.com.

How Instagram Can Help Your Small Business & 3 Tips on Getting Started

This morning I woke up to a sunrise like no other. Gold and pink hues spread out across the expansive baby blue sky in every direction and the reflection of the cocktail of colors brought out blues in the distant ocean that words can’t do justice.

The stone-paved roads of Capri began to appear, winding from side to side down to the water’s edge. And then, in an instant, the text message that popped up on my phone ruined the moment, blocking the view of the sunrise in my Instagram feed and casting me back to reality. But you can bet ‘see a sunrise in Capri’ was added to my travel list.

Instagram has gone from something fun we do when we travel to an entirely separate reason to travel, and the tourism industry is picking up on the trend.

Technology has made planning and booking travel easier than ever. In fact, more than 70% of people are using their smartphones for the entire process, from destination inspiration to booking tickets, and Instagram is the epicenter for that initial planning piece. It’s been estimated that users are less than 10 clicks away from seeing an image on Instagram and booking a ticket to go to the location pictured in the post.

The more technology evolves, the smaller the world gets and the sense of wanderlust that social media creates plays a large factor. As easy as posting a great picture sounds, the irony is that it takes a lot of knowledge to understand how to curate the perfect “authentic” Instagram travel experience.

Why Use Instagram For Small Businesses

About 67% of avid travelers look to Instagram for inspiration on their next destination. Some call this growing trend social-media tourism. Between 2009 and 2014, Trolltunga, a jutting Instagram-famous cliff in Odda, Norway, saw a huge spike in the number of visitors largely, if not completely attributed to its ‘instagrammability.’

Trolltunga’s visitor count rose from 500 to 40,000, mainly including hikers and bikers who stand in the long line of visitors every morning waiting to get the perfect Insta-worthy shot which you would probably never expect from the vast, desolate, and open area the lens captures.

Today a picture is not just worth a thousand words. It can be worth thousands of actual dollars. With just one post, someone can change the way we perceive a city, an experience, or an entire area of the world, whether that person has five followers or five million.

The evolution of the average person’s social reach has become so expansive that we now pay people to try out our product, have them turn it into a promotional experience and call them ‘influencers.’ Influencers have this ability to look at their audience and understand the value that they bring to every single one of their followers.

By tapping into those valued areas, influencers reach new audiences on a personal level and convey a relatable, authentic point of view that makes followers feel as though they are being recommended an experience by a friend.

In certain respects, thinking along the lines of an influencer is something your business should be taking into account every time you push out a post. Find that niche your audience values and play to it. Is the adrenaline that rushes through previous jumpers evident in every skydiving video you post? Or have you captured the calm blue waters and green mossy unknown that waits for your customer on their next paddle boarding adventure? Finding that sweet spot for your audience is key to crafting the perfect post with our guide on how to use instagram for business!

3 Tips to Start Using Instagram for Your Business

Tip #1: Get creative with storytelling.

In this day and age, you don’t need to be a photographer to capture high-quality photos that tell a cohesive story. People have an eye for content with human aspects that brings them to a place where they can imagine themselves traveling and discovering. Take a second to stop and think like a customer. What would make you pause in the middle of your tour to capture an image to post to social media? Nail that authentic “Instagrammable” moment and pair it with a crafty caption that matches the tone of your brand.

You have up to 2,200 characters to tell an engaging story, and one of the components of the algorithm that sends posts to the top of users feeds is the time spent on a post. The longer someone spends on your post, the higher you’ll show up in your followers Instagram feed. This isn’t to say you need to use 2,200 characters in every one of your posts, but composing a full sentence or two rather than a few emojis can help you climb the ladder. A good caption can be the difference between a post that gets overlooked, and one that breaks through the clutter with a unique emotional or engaging spin. 

 

View this post on Instagram

 

If this pic is giving you equal parts awe and anxiety (we feel you), don’t worry — there are more relaxing ways to discover Yosemite National Park. From hikes to driving tours, experience California’s natural beauty in the way that suits you (no tightrope required). Check out the link in our bio and plan your trip. 📷 by @bradynations #GetYourGuide #LoveWhereYoureGoing

Tip #2: Social media is meant to be just that, social.

When you are actively engaging with your followers, adding accounts with similar interests, and interacting with users in your area, you’re almost guaranteed to see an increase in engagement and followers on your own account.

In turn, your business name will show up for similar content around Instagram. For example, a group visiting from out of town posted a photo of their deep sea fishing trip from the day before and tagged the fishing charter they used. You had left a comment on one of the charter’s pictures and all of a sudden the group lands on your Instagram page full of heavy jet skiing imagery wanting to take a jet ski ride themselves. Next thing you know, you’ve given that group some instant gratification and they have given you your next five bookings.

Tip #3: Take advantage of Instagram stories.

Here is one of our favorite Instagram best practices for businesses! First off, Instagram stories are placed at the top of app users’ feeds when they open the app which could not be more ideal for visibility. Next, since stories are meant to be taken in real time, the quality doesn’t have to be as high as your normal posts. Perhaps the most important aspects of Instagram stories are the authenticity and trustworthiness they can bring to your business. Stories can be a great way for you to brag about your business a bit with some user-generated content.

Instead of filling your business’ Instagram page with people mentioning or tagging your Cajun crocodile swamp tour, you can create advocacy and show your current fan base some love while showcasing your tour and building credibility with those who may book in the future. Save these types of stories under a ‘highlight’ album for your followers to reference past the 24-hour live window.

What kind of inspiration are your posts feeding the hungry travelers when they open Instagram? Is it a calm morning in Capri? A blood pumping UTV trip in Aruba? Whatever it may be, we hope these Instagram business ideas will help you begin to paint that picture. The one thing to remember when growing your social presence on Instagram is that it won’t happen overnight, but getting the ball rolling will get you on the path to building an organic traffic goldmine.

To learn more about social media’s impact on the travel industry and how you can stay ahead of your customers, be on the lookout for our webinar dedicated to social media and growing your business! Find out more on our webinars page.

The Top 3 Tourism Takeaways from The Arival & IT Berlin Conference

Just days back from Berlin, we’re still on a tourism and travel high from joining the Arival and ITB conferences. Both of these events brought exhibitors representing every corner of the world under the roof of one amazing city. Our expectations were exceeded when we were joined by the 160,000 attendees who all gave us some serious insight into our industry and current travel trends.

In between logging countless miles (or kilometers) walking the exhibition halls, the FareHarbor team held it down in Berlin visiting with partners, clients, and new and old friends alike. As we keep expanding into Europe and other areas of the world, it’s important to stick to our FareHarbor roots and develop those genuine connections we were founded on, and we were very happy to find that those came very naturally during our time in Berlin. From visiting with tourism boards, tour operators, and sitting in on different segments, we noticed a few trending topics emphasizing sustainability and overtourism in the travel space, technology continuing to expand for operators but not at the cost of exceptional service, and bridging the gap between all in the tourism industry.

FareHarbor’s Top Takeaways from Arival and ITB

Operators in all areas of the travel industry are putting a higher emphasis on sustainability and overtourism. Areas such as Costa Rica, South Africa, and Venice who have relied heavily on ecotourism in the past have have come forward and began to take new approaches into preserving their rural populations and increasing environmental protection. Costa Rica themselves are sustaining their energy sources by using  99 percent renewable energy and have recently undergone massive reforestation efforts to counter the overtourism in ideal areas for European hiking and beach holidays. Other’s have joined in the sustainability efforts including the home to FareHarbor headquarters, Colorado, asking all who travel to the outdoor activity focused area to leave all plastic bottles at home, or better yet, get rid of them altogether. The main question to come from these discussions: Who will be the ones to take responsibility and be the agents of change?

Technology continues to build on the ease of travel and areas of booking – and not at the cost of good service for their customers. People are excited about the advancements of tech in travel and that definitely showed at a conference as massive ITB with the introduction of the Technology, Travel, and Activities forum, the eTravel World area growing by 20 percent since last year, and in our experience, technology and activities being the most talked about topic throughout the conference. FareHarbor’s own, Drew Barrett, took the stage at the Tech, Tours, and Activities forum and was able to give some insight into why a mobile friendly experience is crucial for booking activities and tours online with one important statistic. 70% of travelers use their phone while traveling. The people booking last minute, or two days ahead of time make up 63 percent of all activity bookings which is moving mobile friendly reservations to the top of a lot of operators to-do lists.

Celebrating International Women’s Day while in Berlin presented a great segway into how the tour and travel industry is making strides in bridging gaps across the board. Being the worlds leading travel trade show, ITB has opened a number of doors for voices around the world. As a company who supports the utmost inclusive environments for all, we were excited to be apart of an industry that across the globe, more women work in than men and income disparities are smaller than other industries. Also coming from the Global Report on Women in Tourism, our industry offers women a better chance of reaching executive positions and further, becoming successfully self-employed. The LGBT+ tourism community has also not only made strides in the ITB space, but the tourism and travel world as well, noting that more and more countries are legalizing or embarking on recognizing civil partnerships between same gender partners. This has lead to a boom in LBGT+ travel in a number of countries.   


And for all of those tour operators asking for FareHarbor to make a move into your area of the world, we’re coming for you and we’ll be there soon! In the meantime, we’re so glad to have been a part of ITB and Arival in Berlin and we’ll be back next year with more stroopwafels! Many of the speakers on these discussions mentioned above recognize the travel industry still has a lot of room to grow and improve, but as a whole, we are headed in a great direction. We believe this is the case for everything we took away during our time in Berlin, and we can’t wait to see what next year brings! Find all of these highlights among many other discussed at ITB by visiting the ITB eLibrary.

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.

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!

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.

Keyword Basics: Finding And Using The Right Keywords

For many of you, the busiest time of year is just around the corner. While you prep crew and inventory for the upcoming season, the travelers you’re getting ready for will be busy browsing the internet for “things to do” on their Summer trip.

Make sure your business is the one their search lands on by investing some time into your keywords. No matter what your digital marketing strategy, discovering and utilizing the right keywords is essential to capturing search traffic.

What are keywords?

Google keyword search Keywords are the equivalent of an elevator pitch. In a broad sense, they’re the ideas that define your business—words that are essential to who you are and what you do.

In the world of SEO, keywords are the words or phrases that people enter into search engines. Commonly referred to as “search queries,” keywords are what searchers use to find answers on the Internet.

As a business owner, keywords are an important part of attracting online visitors to your site.

When the keywords you use on your website match the terms people use on search engines, your content will appear in their search results. This, of course, results in more traffic to your website and more opportunities to convert that traffic into paying customers.

Types of keywords

As you begin your keyword research, you’ll find that the search queries you can target are limitless. You can target single, generic words, highly detailed phrases or anything in-between. With so many options, finding the right keywords can be a challenge. Here’s a breakdown of the three main types of keywords you’ll encounter:

Generic Keywords
Generic keywords are generally single word terms that represent a broad subject, but offer little insight into the searcher’s intent. Searches like “kayaks” or “ziplines” fall into this category.

These keywords tend to be extremely competitive and difficult to rank for because there are so many sites that could be relevant to these broad, generic terms. The searcher might be looking for photos of people kayaking, looking for a type of kayak to purchase, or of course, browsing for kayak rentals or tours nearby. All related sites will be competing for this search query.

Nonetheless, generic keywords are still an important part of your keyword strategy. Use these as the frame for your keyword strategy, adding them throughout your website.

Long-Tail Keywords
Long-tail keywords are highly specific search queries that generally appear as phrases or sentences, like “kayaking in monterey with young kids” or “what to wear ziplining in Maui.” Unlike single keywords, long-tail keywords have a very specific focus and give a clear picture of the searcher’s intent.

Since these keywords generate significantly less traffic, they’re also less competitive. This makes long-tail keywords a great opportunity to rank for searches that are highly relevant to your business. Long-tail keywords should be your go-to when creating blog content with the goal of driving customers to your site.

Broad Keywords
Broad keywords fall somewhere in between generic and long-tail keywords, as short phrases that are neither incredibly generic nor specific. This category includes terms like “kayaking in monterey” and “maui zipline tours.”

As you strengthen your SEO, these will become the bread-and-butter of your keyword strategy. Broad keywords are ideal for your homepage copy, in headlines and indexable content.

Keyword Do’s and Don’ts

Google Keyword Planner

DO! Spend time researching your keywords. Getting searchers to your site won’t help much if they’re not the right searchers. There are several tools out there to help you make an educated decision about what keywords matter for your business. Visit one (or all!) to help narrow down your keyword list:
Google’s Keyword Planner
Ubersuggest
SEMrush
KWFinder
– Your own Google Analytics data!

DON’T! Don’t incorporate keywords based on gut feeling alone. The tools mentioned above will help you select keywords that make sense for your unique business, by offering data like search volume and the level of competition for the keyword. Ask friends, family, and Google for keyword ideas, then narrow down your list using the tools listed above.

DO! Work keywords into every part of your webpage. This includes title tags, meta descriptions, headings, alt text and URLs. Remember, keywords are meant to get Google’s attention, so you need to pay just as much attention to indexable content (the HTML text you can assign to images and non-text content) as the content you write for users to search and see.

DO! Use your blog to create thoughtful and informative content around your top keywords. Your content should be evergreen—meaning always relevant— and written on a topic that you’re knowledgeable about and can write about naturally. You can find a lot of great tips on blogging here.

DON’T! Don’t overuse your keywords. Packing too many of your keywords into your content is called “keyword stuffing,” and will actually work against you in search rankings. Content should be written with your keywords in mind but keywords should never be overused.

DO! Create an excel sheet that lists your keywords in order of priority. Turn to this when you need blog inspiration, when you’re updating tour descriptions or creating new AdWords campaigns.


As you research keywords and develop your strategy, remember that the key is finding a balance between writing for the user and writing for the search engine. Keyword nirvana is hidden somewhere between the two.

Use Google Analytics Data To Take Your Business To New Heights

Post by Kristin Rooke, Senior Account Manager

How do you make decisions when it comes to your online business? Do you base them on a gut feeling or on conversations that you have with your customers?

While there’s a lot to be said for instinct and customer feedback, if you’re not looking at your website data then you’re missing out on a wealth of opportunities to grow your business.

Are You Using Google Analytics?

We’ll go over the basics and some industry-specific tools but before we get there, here’s a quick rundown:

Google Analytics is a freemium (free and premium) website analytics tool that tells you how well your website is performing. You can track:

  • the number of users that visit your site
  • how they find you
  • what device they’re using
  • where customers drop off when exploring your site

In short, it provides incredibly valuable information about what’s working and what isn’t when it comes to your online business. When you know your strengths and weaknesses, you can optimize your site to more effectively convert your users (get more customers to buy your experiences, making you more money).

Getting Started With Google Analytics

Before we dive into a few Analytics reports, let’s first address a critical question—do you have a Google Analytics account?

If the answer is no, then your first step is to set up an account and install your unique tracking code on your website.

The process of adding the tracking code to your website varies depending on the type of content management system (CMS) you’re using. The list below includes the most common CMS’s and a link to step-by-step instructions on how to add the Google Analytics tag for each:

If you’re a FareHarbor client and you’d like help adding your tracking code to your website the correct way, or if you’re using a different type of CMS, reach out to our Support Team and we can install Google Analytics on your site for you.

5 Essential Google Analytics Reports To Assess Website Performance

After you add your Google Analytics tag to your website, it can take between 24-72 hours to start collecting user data. Even after you begin seeing data in your account, you’ll probably want to wait until you have at least 1-3 months of information before making any conclusions.

Once you’ve collected a few month’s worth of data, you can start digging into your reports to identify trends. These five reports give you a basic rundown of what your site is doing well, and what needs to be optimized.

1. Audience Overview

audience-overview

The Audience Overview report gives you a broad look at overall website performance. This report shows you things like:

  • how many people visit your website per day
  • the number of new versus returning users
  • and your average website bounce rate for the specified period of time

Let’s explore two key numbers here:

Website Traffic

Before talking numbers, there are two key terms you should understand—users and sessions.

A website user is a unique person that visited your website. A user is considered “new” when they’re visiting your site for the first time. Returning users have visited your site before.

When a user visits your website they trigger a session, which is the duration of time they spend clicking on and navigating around your site. By default, sessions will time out after 30 minutes of inactivity. If the user clicks something else on your site after being inactive for 30 minutes, it starts a new session.

So, one user can have multiple sessions on your site.

In the example above, we’re looking at website data from February 1, 2018 – March 7, 2018. If you hover over a point on the line graph, you’ll see the total number of website users on that day. In this case, you can see that 127 people visited the site on February 15th.

Depending on your domain and page authority, overall SEO, and social and digital marketing strategy, you might have more or fewer daily visitors to your site.

FareHarbor client? If you’re concerned about your website traffic and want to strategize ways to increase the number of users visiting your site per day, get in touch with us. We can assess your current website SEO and user engagement strategy.

Bounce Rate

A “bounce” is when a user visits your website and takes no additional action before leaving your site. For example, a user lands on your homepage and leaves without clicking on any other pages or buttons.

How does your bounce rate compare to other businesses? Let’s break it down:

  • Bounce rate of 0-15%: Usually a sign of bad data.

    Very low bounce rates often mean that your Google Analytics tag is improperly implemented on your website and that you’re not collecting accurate user data. Definitely check to make sure that your tag has been added to your site correctly.

  • Bounce rate of 16-40%: Excellent bounce rates.

    The users visiting your site are high-quality leads and are interested in your tours and activities.

  • Bounce rate of 41-60%: Average bounce rates.

    Your website is performing well for you but bounce rates closer to 60% indicate there’s room for improvement.

  • Bounce rate of 61-90%: Poor bounce rates.

Your website could use some serious optimization. Is your site mobile-friendly? Is it easy for the user to navigate? How many clicks does it take to make a booking? Do you have too much or too little website content?

If you look at the report above, the average bounce rate for the website is 30.24%. This is an excellent bounce rate, so we can assume that overall the website is attracting high-quality leads.

Now that we have a basic understanding of this website’s bounce rate, let’s dig a little deeper by looking at bounce rates across devices.

2. Mobile Overview

mobile-overview

The Mobile Overview report breaks down how your website is performing on different devices — specifically desktop, mobile, and tablet.

Why is this valuable? Because your website might do well on desktop but not on mobile (or vice versa). In a world that is becoming increasingly mobile-dependent, having a mobile-friendly website is essential.

If you take a look at the data above, what observations can you make? Here are a few big takeaways:

  • Most users visiting the site are on desktop (63.11% of traffic). Mobile users are second, followed closely by tablet users.

  • The bounce rate is lower for desktop users (27.90%), and much higher for mobile users (39.58%).

  • Desktop users have the highest Ecommerce Conversion Rate (9.59%), whereas mobile users have the lowest Ecommerce Conversion Rate (1.64%).

What can you conclude from this data? This website could benefit from improving the mobile experience. If it increases its mobile-friendliness, it could generate more revenue from users on mobile devices.

3. Acquisition Overview

acquisition-overview

Do you know where most of your website traffic is coming from? Do most of your users find you via organic search or are they finding you through social media?

The Acquisition Overview report answers all of these questions. In looking at this report, you can see that there are four primary channels driving traffic — organic search, direct, referral, and social. If you’re doing search or display advertising, you’ll see those show up as channels here too.

What are each of these channels?

  • Organic Search: When users find your website by typing keywords into Google (or a different browser).

  • Direct: The user types your domain into the browser bar to get to your website or uses bookmarks.

    Keep in mind, if Google Analytics can’t recognize the traffic source of a visit, it will categorize it as direct traffic. So as much as 60% of direct traffic is usually organic search or referral. This is known as “Dark Traffic” since its true source is veiled.

  • Referral: When users find your website by clicking a link on a different website. For example, if a customer clicks your website link on Yelp, then Yelp is the source of the referral.

  • Social: When users find your website from a social media page, such as Facebook.

Your top traffic channels are also influenced by your Domain and Page Authority, overall SEO, and your social media or digital marketing engagement strategy. When your website has solid authority and good SEO, your top channel will probably be organic search.

In the example above, you can see that referral is driving the most traffic to this website. The site could probably benefit from improving their website SEO to drive more organic search traffic.

4. Behavior Flow

behavior-flow

Want to know how users are flowing through your website? The Behavior Flow report shows you where users land on your site and which pages they visit during their session. The starting pages are the pages that users land on and each interaction thereafter is the next page along their journey.

Ideally, we like to see customers enter the booking funnel within 1-3 clicks.

If you’re using FareHarbor, you can tell when a customer enters the FareHarbor book form by the URL strings that include /embeds/.

If you take a look at the Behavior Flow above, you can see that the top landing page is the homepage. This is normal and usually the ideal case scenario from a conversions perspective.

You can also tell that customers are entering the booking funnel within the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd interactions on the site. This means that the user experience on this site is pretty clean and users are finding the information they’re looking for.

Take a look at your own analytics. How many clicks does it take for your users to enter the book form?

5. Ecommerce Overview

ecommerce-overview

The Ecommerce Overview report is where you can view and track your website performance from a conversion standpoint. First, let’s chat about what your Ecommerce Conversion Rate is.

Your Ecommerce Conversion Rate is the percentage of total website traffic that completes a purchase. So if 100 people visit your site today and 5 people book something, your Ecommerce Conversion Rate for the day is 5%.

The average Ecommerce Conversion Rate for the travel and activity industry is 2.4%. Your Ecommerce Conversion Rate might be different depending on your company type, tour/activity options, and ticket prices. But 2.4% is a good goal to aim for.

If your Ecommerce Conversion Rate is higher than 2.4%, your website is converting very well for you. If it’s lower, you could use the information from the four other reports we’ve explored up to this point to determine the best ways to improve your website and grow your business.

How FareHarbor Can Help

When you work with FareHarbor, you gain unlimited access to our Account Management team.

Trained for your industry, they can help you read and understand your data in Google Analytics, and work with you to identify the top areas of optimization on your website.

FareHarbor’s goal is to help you improve the user experience on your website and increase your conversions.

Our team can take a look at your Google Analytics data, provide you with a website SEO audit, and assess your Dashboard setup to ensure that your booking flow is performing as best as possible.

If you’re already a FareHarbor client, reach out to our team to get the conversation started. If you’re not currently a client, but are interested in what FareHarbor can do for your business, get it touch here!

And, as we say in the office, keep ripping!

All the information found in this post was first shared in our Google Analytics webinar. Exclusive for FareHarbor clients, our webinars go in-depth on topics ranging from Google Analytics to perfecting your website copy.

If you’re already using FareHarbor, stay tuned for the next webinar! If you’re not, what are you waiting for?