As a tour company, you might think a website update means rewriting every tour description. But before you start agonizing over a new way to describe the ancient tourist site or natural wonder your tour visits, consider this.
By the time the guest visits your site, they’ve already decided to visit your city or country. They might have even booked tickets.
They could have a list of the places they want to visit.
Now they are trying to decide what they will do. Or they might already be in your city, making plans for the coming days.
So before you brief a copywrite to rewrite every tour description, here are some things we learned from a recent project.
As the copywriter, I worked with the UX (user experience) expert to update the home page and 15 tours.
Here are 10 tried (and tested) copywriting tips to improve your tour descriptions.
1. First things first – understand the website template
We’ll start with the thing we wished we had considered first up.
How is the website built? How is the content added to the website? Can you change the template?
We devised a new layout that made it easier to digest the information, especially on a mobile phone. But halfway through the project, we found out we could not change the template. The website took content from a database that also had limited formatting options.
Although we couldn’t change the layout, we improved the content, using the tips below. And we gave the client suggestions if they decided to update their website template in the future.
2. Remove unnecessary words
Most of the tour descriptions were too long. There were paragraphs of text full of unnecessary adjectives and duplicate information.
We streamlined the text. We cut out the adjectives and we used bullet points.
3. Get the language right
The company was in Europe and the target market were Americans. The English content was ok. We fixed spelling and grammar mistakes that detracted from the quality and prestige of the company.
4. Focus on tour highlights
There were inconsistencies in what was included as a tour highlight.
We used this section to focus on the tourist attractions the guest would visit during the tour making it easier for a guest to compare tours, especially on a mobile phone.
Information about extra services like audio guides and transport features was listed under inclusions.
5. Is this tour right for me?
Guests need to be able to decide whether the tour is right for them.
The tour description should answer questions like:
- Is the tour suitable for children?
- Is there a lot of walking involved?
- Can I use a stroller or wheelchair?
- Are there restrictions on the size of the bag I can bring on the tour?
- Is there a cloakroom?
- Are there any dress restrictions?
These might seem like boring details. But if a guest can’t find this information on your page, they may book elsewhere.
And if they turn up and find they aren’t catered for, they’re going to have a negative experience.
6. FAQ pages
A page of frequently asked questions (FAQs) is useful if there is information that is common to many tours.
For example, you might have several tours that visit the Colosseum. You could link to the FAQ page for specific information about that site.
The other advantage of having this information in one place is that you only need to update it once.
7. Make sure your guests can find you
Include clear pick-up and meeting options.
If there is a pick-up service, be clear about the areas and hotels covered and what time they will be picked up. Let guests know if there is transport back to their hotel.
If guests need to make their own way to the start of the tour, make the meeting point clear. Include the full address, landmarks and transport stops.
Tell them what to look for. Will your staff be wearing a uniform or carrying a flag? Have you included a telephone number?
Keep the formatting of addresses and phone numbers consistent. It looks more professional and reassures the guest that the information is correct.
8. Make sure they aren’t late
Your tour description should state when the tour starts and finishes. Tell guests how far in advance they need to arrive.
Be clear if there are restrictions on joining the tour late.
9. Be clear about changes, black-out periods and exclusions
It can be tempting to make it look like your guests can visit any time. But tell them if there are exclusions or black-out periods.
You don’t want your guests starting to book and finding out the tour isn’t available when they are visiting.
The same goes for changes to the tour.
You don’t want guests turning up to find a part of the tour is not offered on that day, especially if they could have booked on a different day.
If there is anything that isn’t included in the tour (eg: entrance tickets or a guide), tell guests in the tour description.
10. Show clear pricing
If there’s different pricing for different days or seasons, make it clear before the guest starts booking. This goes for options you can add for an extra cost.
Your headline price should show from $XX – and be clear what currency you are using.
So when it comes time to update your tour descriptions, keep these 10 points in mind.
It might seem a lot to consider, so a standard template could streamline the update process.
A style guide will also help staff use a consistent tone of voice and language when updating tour descriptions.
Last but not least – track and measure
How do we know these things make a difference?
We used heatmap software to show us where guests spent the most time on the page.
Polls were set up on the home and tour pages. Customers were asked if they had found what they were looking for.
Over 70% of guests said yes.
Finally, we compared Google analytics data for the period after the update, to the same period the year before.
We were able to show the client that because of these small changes, online transactions has increased by 327%.
It’s true what they say, the devil is in the detail.