UPDATED: October 1, 2023
If you are in the tours and activities industry, it's not enough to be on social media; you need your own website. Think of it as your online office, always open and ready for business.
This guide will walk you through a step-by-step guide on how to make a booking website even without coding skills.
Worried about technical stuff? Don't be. I've put together a straightforward guide that'll help you pick a reliable website builder and set up an easy-to-use online booking system. We'll cover all the basics so your website works smoothly and your customers can book their tickets online without any hiccups.
By the end of this guide, you'll have a booking website that makes online booking easy for your customers. Let's get started!
Step 1: Create your website
Setting up a website can seem daunting, but breaking it down into manageable steps makes it easy.
Let's go through the fundamental steps to get you online.
Choose your domain
Your domain is like your online address, a place where your customers can find you. It should be catchy, easy to remember, and relevant to your business.
Remember, a relevant domain not only sets you apart but also helps with online recognition.
Pick a website builder
For tech-shy people, website builders are a lifesaver. No need to know the nitty-gritty of coding; these platforms offer pre-made templates. This means you don't have to start from scratch.
💡 I have included a quick guide on how to choose the right website builder that meets your tour business' needs and goals- after the next two subheadings below. 👇🏼
Design with a template
Once you pick a builder, you'll choose a template. This is the initial layout and design of your site. Website builders let you drag and drop different elements, changing things around until it feels right.
Your website should explain what your tour company is all about. Here’s what to include:
- About Page: Share your journey, mission, and story behind tours and activities.
- Contact Section: Essential so customers know how to reach out for inquiries or bookings.
- Services Catalog: List all the tours and activities you offer with engaging descriptions and professionally taken photos.
- Social Media Pages: Link to your Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook pages.
- Photo Gallery: Post vibrant photos of happy customers enjoying their trips. It gives a sneak peek at your experiences.
- Testimonials: Showcasing Google reviews or Facebook recommendations can build trust and give potential customers confidence in your services.
With these steps, you're well on your way to establishing a robust online presence for your tour and activity business services online. As we proceed, remember: your website is an extension of your brand, so let it shine brightly!
What to look for in a website builder
Embarking on the digital journey of creating your tour and activities website is a big step. The website builder you choose plays a pivotal role in this.
For those who are not tech-savvy, here are some essential features to consider when choosing a website builder:
- Beginner-Friendly Features: Especially if you're new to website creation, the platform should be intuitive. Look for builders that offer drag-and-drop editors, easy photo uploads, and text editors that don’t require coding.
- Pricing: Let's talk about money. While you want a robust website, you also need to consider costs. Many website builders offer tiered pricing models. You should also set aside a small percentage of your budget for your domain name. This can vary in price but is crucial to your online identity.
- Mobile-Friendly Features: With a significant chunk of users browsing and booking on mobile devices, your website needs to look and work great on smartphones and tablets. Mobile-responsive designs can enhance the user experience and even improve your SEO.
- Scalability: Envisioning growth is part of the business. As your tour operations expand, your website needs to keep up. The last thing you'd want is to switch platforms because your current one can't handle more traffic or features. Migration is not only a headache but also costly and prone to errors. Choose a builder that promises scalability, catering to both your current and future needs.
- Ease of Backend Use & Support: The backend, or the behind-the-scenes part of your website, should be simple to use. It saves you precious time and eliminates frustrations. Also, a solid support system is crucial. Whether it's how-to videos, a responsive help desk, or online training sessions, the platform should offer resources to help you get acquainted with their software.
Choosing a website builder is like selecting the foundation for your house – it needs to be stable, reliable, and able to withstand changes.
Take your time evaluating your options, and pick one that aligns with your business needs and future visions. Remember, a well-chosen platform can make your digital journey smoother and more fruitful.
Free Booking Websites with Tourism Marketing Agency
The Tourism Marketing Agency (TMA) is here to help. If you're just starting out in this world, don't worry! TMA has got you covered. Imagine getting a professional WordPress website for free. Yes, you read that right, for free. You can lay a strong foundation for your budding company with this incredible offer from TMA.
Now let's talk about the real deal. This isn't just any website. It's an in-built availability calendar linked to Stripe or PayPal for tourism bookings. This ensures your transactions are a breeze, offering a seamless and delightful experience for your customers. And guess what? You own the website after a short six-month period.
It's not just about getting a website; it's about being a part of a network devoted to mutual success in the tourism industry. Joining TMA is like joining a family, a community of tour operators who care about each other's growth.
Step 2: Install a booking widget
In the digital age, efficiency and user-friendliness define the customer experience. This section will guide you through the integration of a booking widget. This is a crucial tool for streamlining the booking process and enhancing your website’s functionality.
What is a Booking Widget?
A booking widget is a software tool that can be easily embedded into your website. It allows customers to check availability, make reservation bookings for tours, and make payments directly from your site without contacting you directly.
Think of it as a small, dedicated virtual assistant always ready to help customers complete their bookings.
What Does It Do for Sales and Customer Experience?
A booking widget is not just a scheduling tool; it’s a sales-boosting powerhouse. It accepts various currencies and payment gateways, providing a seamless checkout process for international and local guests alike.
Acting as a 24/7 online receptionist, it validates email addresses to prevent invalid bookings. It features live calendar availability, ensuring overbooking is passé. These features collectively enhance the user experience, encouraging customers to finalize their bookings without hesitation.
What Is Its Difference from a Booking Page?
While both facilitate online bookings, a booking widget is embedded directly on your website. This allows customers to book without leaving the page they are on.
A booking page, on the other hand, redirects users to a different page for booking, which can be more time-consuming and less user-friendly. The widget keeps everything compact, convenient, and cohesive, enhancing the overall user experience.
What Features Should a Booking Widget Have?
When choosing a booking widget, ensure it’s easy for your guests to navigate and your staff to manage on the backend. It should allow for effortless customization to reflect your brand identity and seamlessly integrate various payment options for your customers.
💡 Look for widgets that provide:
- User-friendly interfaces for guests and staff
- Comprehensive customization options
- A range of integrated payment gateways
- Real-time calendar synchronization
- Efficient email validation
In essence, a robust booking widget is like a mini website on your website. It is dedicated to making the booking process smooth for your guests and staff alike.
Incorporating a booking widget that ticks all these boxes will enhance your customers' experience but also streamline your business operations. This will drive up bookings and ensure smooth operations.
Which is the best option: Generic Booking Apps or an Online Booking System for Tours and Activities?
Navigating online booking options can be challenging. With so many tools available, how do you know which one is right for your business?
If you're in the tours and activities sector, the decision boils down to two primary options: generic booking apps or dedicated online booking systems.
Let’s break down the key differences and see which suits your business best.
Generic Booking Apps: A Quick Fix for Simple Needs
Generic booking apps cater to a broad audience. Whether you run beauty salons, hotel rooms, or fitness sessions that require booking services - these apps serve as a basic bridge connecting service providers and clients. They allow for:
- Basic scheduling and booking functionalities
- Simple payment integration
- Basic notifications and reminders
For small business owners offering basic services, these apps are fantastic. They provide an easy way for professionals to manage their schedules, take bookings, process payments, and ensure payments.
However, the operative word here is "generic." While these tools are efficient for smaller or more straightforward operations, they might not necessarily be equipped to handle the intricate needs of a dynamic tour operator.
Dedicated Online Booking Systems: Tailored for Complexity
Activities and tours are unique. They are multifaceted, dealing with different tour types, varying group sizes, multiple locations, and often coordinating with third-party vendors or agencies. A dedicated online booking system is designed with these complexities in mind.
- Staff Management: Assign and track which staff members handle which tours, ensuring no overlap or confusion.
- Daily Manifests: Generate day-to-day schedules, allowing seamless operations.
- Integrated Systems: Whether it's Point-of-Sale (POS) hardware or offline bookings, the system can integrate and sync these, ensuring real-time accuracy.
- Promotions and Discounts: Offer seasonal deals, early bird specials, or group booking discounts easily.
- Real-time Calendar Synchronization: Ensure your availability is up-to-date across all sales channels, from your website to global OTAs.
- OTA Integrations: Seamlessly connect with Online Travel Agents, broadening your reach and sales channels.
- Self-booking management: Allow your guests to change their bookings, saving you hours of phone calls and customer queues.
- Customization: Since no two tour operations are exactly alike, the system can often be tailored to specific needs, adding unique features or functionalities based on the operator's preferences.
In essence, while generic booking apps can serve simpler businesses, a dedicated online booking system for tours and activities is designed in depth.
The multifaceted tour industry demands tools that adapt, scale, and provide comprehensive solutions. This ensures not just a booking but an experience that starts smoothly from the first click.
For operators in the tours and activities sector, investing in a specialized system is setting the stage for efficiency, growth, and enhanced customer satisfaction.
How Can You Choose the Right Online Booking System?
Choosing the right online booking system for your tours and activities business is like picking the right pair of shoes. It should fit well, be comfortable, and suit your style, or in this case, meet your specific business needs.
Here's how to find the right match:
- Understand Your Needs: Before diving into the ocean of booking systems available, make a list of your requirements. Consider your business size, the types of tours and activities you offer, and the features you need the most.
- Evaluate Features: Look for systems that offer comprehensive features catering to tours and activities operations. Essential functionalities should include staff management, daily manifests, POS hardware system integration, offline to online booking synchronization, discount and promotion management, self-booking for guests, and OTA integrations.
- Check compatibility: Ensure the system integrates seamlessly with your existing website and other platforms you use. It should be user-friendly for both your team and your customers, and provide efficient customer support.
- Consider Your Budget: Evaluate the costs and ensure it fits within your budget without compromising essential features. Remember, an effective booking system is an investment that should increase efficiency and boosting sales.
- Take It For A Spin: Most companies offer free trials or demos. Make the most of these to assess the system's ease of use and functionality.
Additionally, for a deeper dive into assessing the suitability of a booking system, check out the comprehensive checklist by Chris from the Tourism Marketing Agency: How Online Booking Systems Work > Is an online booking system right for you?
Taking these steps will help ensure that you select an online booking system that meets your current needs. However, it also scales with your business as it grows.
Step 3: Optimize the Website for SEO
Starting the journey of building a booking website is only part of the process. Once your site is up, the next crucial step is ensuring people can find it. That's where Search Engine Optimization (SEO) comes in.
SEO is like the digital equivalent of putting up a big, flashy sign outside a brick-and-mortar store, helping potential customers find you.
If terms like "keywords" or "meta tags" make your head spin, don't fret! Let's break down the essentials to ensure your website ranks higher on search engines:
Hire an SEO Specialist or DIY
Consider hiring an SEO expert if you have the budget. They come equipped to optimize every nook and cranny of your site. However, if you're looking to save some bucks or enjoy hands-on work, you can DIY.
Tools like Google Analytics, SEMrush, Ubersuggest, Ahrefs, and Moz can guide you, providing valuable insights into keyword planning, site audits, and backlink analysis.
Ensure Google Knows Your Site Exists
One of the first things to do is make sure your website is indexed by Google. You can submit your website to Google Search Console. This tool not only ensures Google knows about your site but also helps you monitor and maintain your site's presence in Google Search results.
Claim Your Google My Business Listing
For local SEO, which is vital for tours and activities, set up a Google My Business account. This makes it easier for locals and tourists to find you when searching for related activities in your area. It can also boost your visibility on Google Maps.
SEO-Friendly Content Practices
- Keywords: Research and use relevant keywords naturally within your content. These are terms people use when searching for your services.
- Images: Always add ‘alt text’ to images, describing what they depict. It helps search engines understand the image content.
- Meta Descriptions: These brief snippets appear under your page title in search engine results. Ensure they are compelling and accurately describe the content.
- Consistency: Regularly update your site with fresh content, including blog posts about tours or updates about your services. This can signal to search engines that your site is active and relevant.
💡 Pro Tip: When crafting content, write for humans first, then optimize for search engines. It's the balance between the two that drives genuine engagement and search engine rankings.
TicketingHub for Tours & Activities
In the bustling world of tours and activities, a reliable online booking system is indispensable. Enter TicketingHub, a cutting-edge solution tailored specifically for tour operators, activity hosts, and even those offering experiences, classes, and events.
Why should you consider TicketingHub for your operation?
Here are the standout features of this platform:
- Magic Link: Ever had guests who wanted to make changes post-booking? With the Magic Link feature, guests have the flexibility to cancel, change dates, or even transform their ticket into a voucher. This self-booking management feature minimizes manual interventions, making the process efficient for both operators and guests.
- 5-Step Checkout Process: TicketingHub's streamlined checkout is designed for an optimal user experience. With just five simple steps, your customers can easily finalize their bookings, ensuring minimal drop-offs and maximizing conversions.
- Effortless Integration: The TicketingHub booking widget is lightweight and easy to integrate. With just a single line of code, your booking system will be up and running, ensuring your website remains fast and responsive.
- Email Validator: In the age of digital communication, an invalid booking due to an incorrect email can be a setback. The built-in email validator in TicketingHub addresses this by preventing such bookings from the outset.
- Upselling & Affiliate Marketing: Want to increase revenue per customer? The platform allows you to upsell merchandise and other goods during the booking process. Additionally, with the affiliate marketing feature, you can expand your sales channels by collaborating with resellers and affiliate marketers. They even get a dedicated portal to manage their bookings, further simplifying your operations.
Pricing is another area where TicketingHub stands out. At only 3% per booking (excluding payment gateway fees), it offers a cost-effective solution for small businesses, especially when compared to many competitors who charge upwards of 6%.
For larger operations with annual revenue exceeding £2M, TicketingHub also provides specialized enterprise solutions to cater to more intricate requirements.
🌟 Takeaway: The world of online bookings is evolving, and TicketingHub is at the forefront of this revolution. With a blend of user-centric features and competitive pricing, it's an affordable option worth exploring for any tour or activity operator.
Intrigued? Dive deeper and discover how TicketingHub can revolutionize your booking experience.
In summary, embarking on the journey to create a booking website for your tours and activities doesn't have to be daunting. From choosing the right domain name and website builder to integrating an efficient booking widget and selecting a specialized online booking system, each step is pivotal to your website's success.
Remember the significance of SEO in making your site easily discoverable by potential new customers everywhere. The digital world offers a plethora of tools and resources to streamline each process, making your website both functional and user-friendly.
As you work through each step, focus on providing an exceptional user experience. This will ensure that your website is not just a booking platform, but a bridge connecting your customers to unforgettable tour experiences. Your website is an investment in your business's future growth and success. Make it count!
People also ask
Q: Can I make my own booking system?
A: Yes, you can create your own booking system. With advancements in booking software, you can establish an online booking system tailored to your business needs - whether you enable guests to book on a booking widget or a booking page, the process should not be too hard. This not only allows your target audience to make online bookings at their convenience but also simplifies your operations with a scheduling solution. This saves you time and resources.
Q: Is it hard to make a booking website?
A: The process of creating a booking website can be straightforward with the right tools and guidance. Utilizing robust booking software can help you set up an efficient online booking system that is intuitive for your customers to navigate. It is also easy to manage. It’s about choosing the right platform that aligns with your business model and customer expectations.
Q: How do I create a booking website with online bookings?
A: Creating an online booking website involves several strategic steps. Start by choosing reputable scheduling software that aligns with your business size and type. Integrate the services you offer online, add a book now button (CTA - booking button), set your business hours, and provide secure payment methods. Ensure your system allows customers to view availability, schedule appointments, and make online payments seamlessly, enhancing their overall booking experience.
Q: How do I create a Google booking site?
A: To establish a Google booking site, start by registering your business with Google My Business. Enable the booking feature to allow your customers to make online reservations and book appointments directly from Google Search and Maps. This visibility on Google platforms enhances your business's accessibility, making booking easier for potential customers.
Q: How do I create an online booking form?
A: To create an efficient online booking form, utilize form builder tools that offer customizable templates and integration capabilities. Ensure your booking form is user-friendly, providing customers with a straightforward and efficient path to make online reservations and book appointments, contributing positively to their user experience.
Q: How do I create a simple booking website?
A: To create a simple booking website, leverage website builders that offer specialized booking features and templates. These tools facilitate the creation of your own booking website, optimized for user navigation and online bookings. This enhances customer satisfaction and boosting online reservations.
Q: What makes an effective booking website?
A: An effective booking website is characterized by a user-friendly interface, clear and concise information about services, prices, offers, discounts, and availability, and a seamless online booking process. It should securely handle online payments and customer data, offer clear communication regarding bookings and cancellations, and provide efficient customer support. This will ensure a satisfying and hassle-free booking experience for customers.
Q: How does a booking website work?
A: A booking website showcases the availability of services or appointments. It enables customers to select their preferred slots for recurring appointments and facilitates online payments for the booked services. It automates and streamlines the booking process, enhancing efficiency and customer satisfaction by providing immediate booking confirmations. It also reduces manual data entry and phone calls.
Q: What is the best way to create an online booking form?
A: The optimal way to create an online booking form is by employing form builder tools that offer extensive customization, integration with calendars, and secure payment processing. This setup ensures a smooth, efficient, and secure online booking process, enhancing customer confidence and satisfaction in using your booking system.