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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.

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!