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Established 2009

Your Website Isn’t the Yellow Pages


When it comes to websites for tourism bureaus, amusement parks, restaurants and other destination brands, there’s a set of “must have” website elements that always need to be factored in to the equation when you’re going through website development.

Depending on which type of destination business you’re in, those elements look something like this:

  • Hours of operation/Location information
  • Mechanisms for making reservations/booking hotels
  • A-Z or “Yellow Pages”-styled restaurant lists or directories
  • Menu items (As in “Here’s our breakfast, lunch, and dinner menu”)
  • A-Z lists of hotels/accommodations
  • Pricing lists (“If you come on Monday it’s X price”/ “Groups of this many get X price”)
  • Lists of attractions(“Here’s the A-Z rundown on things to do in our city/At our venue”)

And so forth. Any tourism, destination, or entertainment website that includes these elements probably gets a gold star – a gold star for meeting minimum standards, that is. And that brings us to the point of this article. Why stop at minimum standards for website development when it’s so easy to overachieve and outshine the competition?

Yellow Pages-styled listings of restaurants and menu items are fine – they have an important place in your overall website development or content marketing strategy. But it’s important to remember that your website plays a very important role in your business’s battle for conversions (the effort to turn prospects/visitors to your website into actual customers).

Why on earth would you want to settle for “fine” when a little bit of creativity and strategy can help you take your website to the next level?

So what does that next level look like?

It looks like this:

  • Less website content focus on “Let’s tell our visitors everything we think that they need to know about us”
  • More focus on “What do our customers/visitors want to know/want to accomplish, based on our understanding of our best customer personas?”

If you need a little help jump starting a conversation about what your new and improved website content might look like, here are three content strategies you can consider:

Strategy One: Help your guests/visitors have a meaningful experience – not just a visit.

Websites that show guests or visitors how to get things done (make a reservation, find a Tex-Mex restaurant, buy tickets) are highly competent. Websites that show their visitors how to have a top-shelf platinum experience when they make their visit are highly effective.

Rather than stopping with the Yellow Pages listings of restaurants, attractions, and opportunities, help your guests and visitors understand how to put those things together for a memorable experience.

For example: What do you recommend to your visitors in terms of “bundling” (grouping of attractions or opportunities)? The timing of their visit? What to do/what to order/where to stay if they are entertaining clients? Suggestions for guests who are looking to spend a perfect day with family or that special someone? Tips and insights for people who are planning work outings or conferences?

Strategy Two: Surprise your website visitors with your honesty.

Consumers expect that you’re going to try to sell them on the notion that there is no downside to your brand experience – ever. So if your website content offers some refreshing frankness, especially when compared to competitors, you will take a huge leap forward in credibility with your existing and prospective guests or visitors.

Being honest doesn’t mean that you have to torpedo your own business goals, by the way. Let’s say that you are a tourism bureau for a city that tends to shut down in the dead of winter.

Your website can still make a case for visiting in the off season – like shorter waits for attractions and discounted hotel rates – while being honest about the fact that you don’t recommend visiting during the off season if you’re coming for the first time, or if you are coming with a corporate group, or if there are certain attractions you’d like to experience, etc.

Strategy Three: Be a concierge.

This type of content is so easy to put together that we’re constantly amazed at how few brands actually do it. Just like your website should help your visitors have an actual experience, rather than simply providing information, it should also show them how to make that experience as trouble-free as possible.

For example: “Do you like spicier menu items? Then we’d like to suggest these dishes.” “Are you visiting with a group? We suggest these particular dates/times/seasons.” “Is your child under 5? We recommend you try these particular rides, games, or attractions.” “Want to save money? Here are 5 discounts you might now know about.”

There you have it, website development rockstars. Now that you know how to put out killer content – what are you waiting for?

Related Articles:
“Mobile-Friendly Websites: No Longer Just a Good Idea”
“5 Ways Your Website Is Letting You Down”
“If I Have Good SEO, Why Isn’t My Phone Ringing?”

We’ve helped dozens of clients with website development, SEO, and other web-related challenges – and we can help you, too. If you’re ready to go to the next level, Let’s talk.

restaurant marketing, tourism marketing, website development