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Planning Your Tourism Website

With travel and tourism being one of the most popular products on the Internet, a website is critical to the success of any tourism operation. Just having a website is not enough, however. Just sticking up a brochure website and marketing over the Internet are very different things.Your tourism website must be designed to meet your online marketing objectives and with your target market in mind. Your website needs to attract visitors, spur them to visit your safari lodge, hotel, apartments, buy your tour excursion or product and encourage them to spread the word.

When planning your tourism website it is important to:

  • Define your target market and develop your Internet marketing strategy and website with them in mind
  • Develop an Internet marketing strategy that is appropriate for your tourism or hospitality operation
  • Define your online objectives

Fundamentals of Tourism Websites

Gone are the days when a simple brochure website was sufficient. Successful tourism websites are design with the following three key elements in mind:

  • Objectives of the tourism business
  • Needs, wants and expectations of the target market
  • Products and services on offer

The operator of a tourism or hospitality business knows their business, target market and products the best and so the operator must define these and clearly communicate them to your Web developer. This will enable your Web developer to build a website that will be beneficial to your tourism business and satisfy your customers.

Objectives

It is surprising to us how many business’ approach us to build them a website when they have no clear objective in mind. “I just need a website” is a common refrain. Step back and think about what you want the website to achieve for your business. Talk to your front of house staff and your back of house staff, ask your customer service people, your sales staff, your admin staff, they all interact differently with your customers and may have useful insights.

Some common objectives are:

  • Advertising your tourism property, tour or destination
  • Selling your property, products, services, packages or destination
  • Provision of customer service and support
  • Provision of tourism property, accommodation, services and features information
  • Creation of brand identity and awareness

Target Market

For each of the tourism operation’s target markets the following should be considered:

  • Their needs
  • Their wants
  • Their expectations

Consider how the website can be designed and what items or functionality can be included to satisfy each target market’s needs, wants and expectations.

It is always a good idea to segment your target market so you can correctly identify and cater for each segments differing needs, wants and expectations. Different segments could be travel agents, family groups, eco-tourists, adventure travelers or budget travelers.

Products and Services

The website should be designed and developed to reflect the products and services on offer. These products and services must be clearly identified and defined and considered in the design process.

Some examples of design complementing the products or services are:

  • Safari lodge – earth tones, wildlife photo galleries
  • Family hotel – Fun, interactive site with images of children and families
  • Holiday apartments – Accommodation and location photos and information, testimonials from former guests
  • Restaurants – Food images, updated menus, specials information, maps

Other Important Considerations For Your Website

  • The website should be designed to be search engine friendly
  • The website should be designed to encourage repeat traffic
  • The website should encourage visitors to spread the word and recommend your property, products and destination to other people
  • The website should include permission marketing so that you can communicate with them on a regular basis
  • The website should encourage customer loyalty
  • The website should be ‘sticky’, that is encouraging visitors to stay with the website and visit multiple areas and pages

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