ZAMM Communications • June 15, 2020
Why You Need a Great Tourism or Event Website
Why do you need a great website? The short answer is because it’s 2020! More than 80% of people go online when travel planning or considering attending an event. Your missing out when your website is subpar or doesn’t exist.
It doesn’t matter if you’re in a rural area or how big or small your event or business might be. A great website will help increase your awareness with people who might be interested in what you’re doing.
We’re selling experiences in tourism. How do you demonstrate and captivate people about the great experience you provide when you’re not online when they are looking for information?
Consumers have plenty of choices on where to go and where to spend money. You’re not only competing with others but you’re also competing with consumers not taking an action. It’s easier for people to stay home than attend your event.
A great website opens up digital advertising options. You simply cannot execute a digital campaign without a great web presence. And to be perfectly honest, your event, group or business should be doing targeted digital campaigns to grow.
Digital campaigns aren’t just buying digital advertising. Digital campaigns include email marketing, social media, and SEO. Your traditional advertising will be more effective too when you can send people to a modern and well-built website.
Sadly the web presence in rural areas is lacking – unnecessarily. Community development and tourism groups such as Chambers of Commerce, local events, and small businesses that don’t have a modern website need to make this a priority.
How to Get a Kick-Butt Website
Today there are no real barriers to getting an amazing website. Well, no barriers besides being behind the times. And that’s not how we should present our organizations.
There are three common ways to get a website. Hire a designer, do it yourself with WordPress, or do it yourself through a website builder.
Hire a Designer
Hiring a web designer will get you a website you’re happy with and they’ll usually take care of hosting (for a monthly fee). This is a great option to outsource using a professional so you don’t have to maintain your website yourself.
The only drawbacks are that this is by far the most expensive option and a lot of web designers don’t understand marketing or writing marketing copy. Agencies are a better value than a freelance web designer as an agency has marketing people who work on design projects.
Using a Website Builder
Using a website builder such as Squarespace makes designing a website easy with no technical experience needed. I only use Squarespace as an example because they’re the largest provider and they have great reviews. I have no affiliation with them.
This option has the advantage of little upfront costs. I strongly advise hiring a professional to write the copy (words used on your pages). A quality copywriter will write for SEO and deliver strong messages with proper CTA’s. An experienced copywriter will also have suggestions for website structure and display. They’re a good resource to get into the process early.
Hosting a WordPress site isn’t difficult. You need to pay for monthly website hosting from a host like Hostpapa, GoDaddy, or Hostgator. Hosting can cost between $7 to $15 per month for shared hosting. The only other expenses is your yearly domain name and any WordPress plugins you might need to purchase.
The advantage here is you have full control of your website and self-hosting is the least expensive option. I again recommend hiring a copywriter to make sure your website has proper messaging.
What Your Website Needs
Every website is different. But there are a few things every website needs to have for it to deliver a great user experience. And a quality user experience is really the point. Your website is not something that just contains information. It needs to engage your site visitors and sell what you’re selling.
It’s embarrassing to see a website display poorly on my phone. It’s just not necessary. In fact, if your website is newer than 6 years old – it’s likely mobile friendly. It became the standard.
Most people use their mobile devices while online. You need to think of first and foremost how your site will display and function on mobile devices. Your site should still look good on desktop but when thinking of structure, ease of use and how and where media will display – prioritize mobile.
Strong Copy and Images
When a visitor arrives on your website they should immediately know who you are and what you’re about. A good mix of words and storytelling images should communicate and resonate with your site visitor.
Clear messages need to fill your pages. They don’t want your life story. Sorry to tell you but no one cares. Your website needs to compel your visitor to take some sort of action. You should have clear user paths through your website for visitors to navigate.
Your site’s structure and navigation should be organized so people find what they’re looking for quickly and easily. Sections should make sense. This is especially important on larger bulkier websites.
Social Media Integration
Display your social feeds in certain places on your site is a no brainer. The major social networks make integration easy. Showing your Instagram or Facebook feed shows that you’re active. It shows the visitor the nifty useful things you post. It’s far more effective than just an outbound link button.
Selling/Booking Should Be Easy with Strong CTA’s
Get the sale as soon as possible. Shopping cart and booking systems are cheap or free and there is no reason to not have a way to make sales or take bookings online. Implementation isn’t difficult either. Consumers want to shop online. Remove barriers to buy from you!
Your user paths should take them to a desired action. If you’re selling online then you need to lead them there and use strong Calls-to-Actions so visitors know what to do next.
Getting You Online
Getting online is a must for every tourism-based business, group, and event. If you need help with any part of getting a great website up, drop us a line.