June 21, 2007

LinkBaiting For Tourism Companies

There has been a huge focus on SEO (Search Engine Optimization) in recent years. People hire companies to optimize their website and streamline the page results. It has now been realized that small companies can increase their SEO presence through more creative and innovative means. The way that sites like google.com and yahoo.com index their sites makes it very beneficial for companies to have links to their sites from other websites. This is termed linkbaiting, or agreeing to host another non-competitive website's link on your site in exchange for a similar service. The Canadian Tourism Commission recently released 5 suggestions to maximize your web presence with minimal cost. These recommendations are focused on small independent tourism companies:

  • Top 10: Creating a ‘top 10’ type list closely related to your industry usually gets quality results. It is therefore important to define which subjects truly interest your target market and to evaluate what is already available on the internet.
  • Resource site: Listing the blogs, forums, directories and so on that are of interest relative to your domain can attract numerous links. In fact, the creators of these sites will probably be interested to create a link to a resource site, especially if it is in a neutral field.
  • Humour/Controversy: According to your industry or positioning, humour or controversy could be a good link generator. If you’re lacking imagination, you can check Flickr or YouTube and find an amusing video or image with a link to your products or services.
  • Useful functionality: Developing a tool that can be used by your potential clients has as much of an effect on links to your site as your renown for being forward‑thinking in your area of expertise!
  • Link a study or report: A report with different content and exclusive data will be sure to attract quality links.
Linkbaiting or link exchanges have been a very effective driver to our site, Rezgo.com. Recently when looking at our google analytics we have noticed that 65% of our site traffic has been directed by companies that we provide booking server CMS solutions for. People are finding our link on accomodation and tour provider's websites and following the link to our site. These click-throughs have a low bounce % and spend an average of 5.5 minutes on our site. These are people you want looking at your site.

What have you found with Linkbaiting?

Has it worked for you?

June 15, 2007

Booking Travel Products Online

In the last quarter of '06, Forrester Research released findings on why there is still a resistance for consumers to book their tour and travel plans through the Web. Over 5,000 North American tourists were polled to reveal the top 3 reasons why they put down the mouse and pick up a phone to book their travel plans. The top of the list is an obvious choice, people are affraid to put their personal information over the Net. With the rampent credit card fraud and identity theft in the news, people don't know what they can trust. In 2006 32 percent of those polled said that the reason they use traditional travel-reservation methods is fear of identity theft.If you are an online retailor you better make it clear that your site is secure from the beggining of any transaction in order to appease any of these fears.

The second largest turn-off of those polled was the lack of customizable options for their selection. Whether it was a type of model, room configuration, dietary requirements, the people want to be heard. Give the options when customers are booking, you never know this could lead to an upsale!

The last reason people preferred not to book on line was that there were user interface problems. If a common tourist can not figure out how to book and what the result will be, they are not going to follow through with the reservation. Give the consumer some scope, let them know how many steps are required to complete the booking. Tell them what the outcome will be, will they receive an email? Will they get further confirmation once the tour has been validated? Give them a sense of control of the situation and you will guarantee more reservations streaming in through your website.


June 8, 2007

Booking Trends for Tourism Products

The times are changing. Can anyone really remember a time when you weren't able to research your next holiday, find customer reviews and then have the ability to make a reservation online?

Once online security issues were addressed and customer confidence increased the wave began, This service started with hotels, vacation packages and flights. Well the next wave of online reservations services are now being introduced. With the proliferation of web 2.0, a new more accessible form of reservation service has allowed small independent accomodation and tour providers an economical solution for getting their products onto the net.

In the past large GDS's such as Amadeus or Soft Voyage have ruled the booking world, these mega companies have an inaccessible starting fee for small companies, as well they charge commissions on all of the sales that are made with their system. There is a need for change.

Customers are becoming web savvy and are demanding more interaction from websites. Sites that can offer a great presentation and sales delivery to the guest are likely to succeed.