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Sabah Karimi

Writing marketing copy that will pique potential customers' interest is a delicate dance—your site visitors and prospective guests need to get a taste of the tour or activity without too much effort. Resent research finds that the average attention span in 2015 is a mere 8.25 seconds, down from 12 seconds since 2000. So if you want your prospects to book one of your tours or activities, you need to find ways to keep them engaged and make a booking decision—and preferably in fewer than 9 seconds.

Use these tips to write powerful and impactful tour and activity descriptions that can help to increase bookings each season.

Create a Scene

Tours and activities are immersive experiences, not products. Engage a prospect by showing them how they will feel, what they will see, and what they will experience during their visit—not just what a great time they will have. Offer up some concrete information about the tour or activity, but turn it into a story.

Here's a sample description for a sailing tour around San Francisco Bay:

"Our sunset sailing tour takes you to Alcatraz, Angel Island, along the Golden Gate Bridge, and down the city front. Price includes beer and wine!"

And here's a revised version:

"Explore the beautiful coast of San Francisco Bay with our 90-minute narrated tour. We'll depart from Pier 39 and sail over to Alcatraz Island where you can see the historic prison. Next, it's on to Angel Island, one of the most enchanting islands in the Bay Area. Grab your camera to capture the silhouette of the Golden Gate Bridge as we sail around Sausalito and take in the views of the city skyline as we head back to the pier around sunset. Enjoy beer and wine of your choice, compliments of our crew!"

The first description provides just the basics and gives the reader an idea of what the tour is about. But it doesn't help to create a scene in the eyes of the reader. The second example walks the guest through the experience, giving the reader a taste of the actual experience.

Use Visuals to Your Advantage

This infographic about The Science of Storytelling by OneSpot indicates that the brain processes images 60 times faster than words. This is why the concept of "showing, not telling" can be so powerful when it comes to promoting tours and activities—you want to be able to engage and entice the customer in the fastest and most impactful way possible.

Peruvian ecotourism company Rainforest Expeditions has created comprehensive tour descriptions for its website, complete with a photo gallery, a sample itinerary, and a list of activities guests enjoy on the tour. While lengthy and detailed, the presentation of visuals can be a powerful addition to any description.

se visual media, such as professional photographs or video snippets of the tour or activity experience. You might even consider adding user-generated snapshots of the experience in your descriptions for a more personalized touch—visitors can see photos of the experience form a guest's point of view. Embed a video right next to the written description, add large professional photos to the description, and link out to a gallery of images sent to you by happy customers or candid shots you have taken yourself.

Captain K's Bait, Tackle & Charter has created an informational video on YouTube and embedded it right with the landing page about their fishing charter packages and rates. This is an impactful way to attract the site visitor's attention and provide relevant information quickly.

Share Highlights with Bullet Points

Bullet points are easy on the eyes and great for readers who tend to scan content rather than read every single line. The experts at Ironpaper, a digital agency based in New York, share some web design statistics in this blog post and indicates that 70 percent of people look at lists with bullet points. Bullet points make web pages easier to read and can be an attractive element for any tour and activity description.

Distill some of the highlights of your tour or activity in about four to five bullet points so that every reader has some takeaways to work with when choosing one activity over another. For example, a brewery tour operator might include a set of bullet points like this below their tour summary:

  • Available Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays

  • Includes tour of brewery and restaurant

  • Complimentary pour samples

  • Complimentary beer of choice at the end of the tour

  • Free parking

For a live example, take a look at how Alpine Endeavors, a company that offers rock climbing tours and skills training programs, breaks down their description in an easy-to-read format. They use bullet points to break out the description and include a basic itinerary along with what is and what isn't included in the rate.

Provide Preparation Tips

If you sell hard adventure experiences such as rock climbing, trekking, and whitewater rafting, or soft adventures such as snorkeling, horseback riding, and snowshoeing that require some basic skills and experience, make sure your adventure seeker can determine if they are fit for the experience. Unless you plan on selling an educational or training component as part of the experience, your visitors need to be comfortable using special gear and equipment, and feel confident that they can handle the high-energy experience.

Southern Yosemite Mountain Guides, a company that coordinates mountain trips around Yosemite high country, does a great job with this by providing a breakdown of equipment provided, preparation and experience requirements, and indicates whether climbing gear rentals and equipment are included in the cost.

If you're offering equipment rentals, consider including them as an add-on option when the guest checks out. You can use online booking software like ZOZI Advance to list a set of add-ons for each tour or activity you offer so that everything is available to the traveler within a few clicks.

Don't Share Too Many Options Upfront

Consider the effect of having too many choices, as illustrated by the famous jam study conducted by psychologists Sheena Iyengar and Mark Lepper. Results of this study found that when shoppers had 24 flavors of jam available, only 3 percent who tasted the samples purchased something. When only six options were available, 10 times as many shoppers—30 percent—purchased at least one jar of jam.

Limiting the number of options available can help to grab your prospects' attention without overwhelming them. Your prospects will still have the option to page through your entire catalog or menu of offerings at another time but those first few interactions with your company—those first visits to your website—need to be as straightforward and impactful as possible.

Consider limiting your offerings to one to two in each category on the main pages of your website. For example, a kayak tour operator who offers 10 different kayaking experiences for singles, couples, and families could pick two popular experiences for each customer type and elaborate on only those six experiences with fully fleshed-out descriptions, photos, and video clips. The remaining four options could be listed elsewhere on the website with summaries, photos, and relevant booking information.

Final Thoughts

Helping prospects understand what types of experiences you offer and what to expect during their visit can help you drive more bookings. You want to share many highlights of the tour or activity to appeal to your target customer but you also want to leave some things to the imagination—giving your prospects a taste of what's to come can encourage them to book and get excited about the experience. Use these writing tips and presentation ideas to drive more bookings for your tour and activity business each season.