The adventure travel industry is an interesting one– it’s an extremely competitive environment dominated by a few huge players (National Geographic Expeditions, for example) and hundreds of smaller fish. With dozens of unique niche markets and hundreds of boutique adventure destinations, it’s absolutely critical that your website stands out from the crowd and that your trips can be found in the search engines.
When I first got involved in the adventure travel industry, I was a software marketing guy from the Seattle boom times. I had worked with some of the biggest and the best in web development and software marketing, and I was used to getting a solid product at a fair (though relatively high) price.
My first foray into the adventure travel marketing industry floored me. The smaller “mom and pop” travel providers are in many cases getting completely taken advantage of by unscrupulous “experts” in SEO/SEM and website marketing. I’ve seen these struggling, low margin companies paying top dollar for absolutely shoddy sites and services, and just accepting it since they don’t have the technical knowledge to argue the point.
One of our clients was paying hundreds of dollars a month for a static HTML website with an amateur design and minimal SEO services. They were used to waiting weeks, if not months for their provider to update the site for them, critical factors when you’re adding or removing trips and destinations or gearing up for a new season. And though they expressed great confidence in the SEO expertise of their provider, I found that they had probably been taken for a ride– they had identical meta descriptions and in many cases, meta keyword tags on every page of the site, and their “consultant” had taken little, if any thought to the content of the page.
So– after that long-winded tirade, you might be asking yourself “Well, what should I expect as a small-to-midsized adventure travel company who just needs a respectable and functional web presence?”
I’m glad you asked!
1) Make sure you get a CMS (Content Management System).
There is no earthly reason why you need to be struggling with a painfully useless tool like Frontpage, or even worse, waiting for your provider to update your website and then charging you for the privilege. Modern CMS frameworks allow you to go to a “backend” section of your site and simply fill out a form with the information you want, in an interface that looks and feels like Microsoft Word. The data is all maintained in a database, so there’s not hundreds of pages of static content that all need to be modified when you change your phone number or update your logo. And it’s extremely easy to publish or unpublish content based on calendar dates or a user’s access level.
2) Take advantage of Google.
Google has tons of great tools that can help your website and marketing efforts succeed. Google Webmaster Tools allow you to keep tabs on how often your site is getting crawled by Google, how many URLs are indexed, what keywords people are finding your site by, and they’ll even point out issues with your site that may be hurting your SEO performance.
Google Analytics is the best thing going for webmasters to see exactly how their site is performing. There’s way too much to go into here, but if you’re not using Google Analytics, you should be!
Google Sitemaps– make sure you’re generating an XML sitemap with all your site content easily accessible. Google loves these things, and it makes your site that much easier for the Google spiders to traverse. Simple to do, and if done right, will dynamically update itself so it’s always current.
3) Be organized.
One of the worst things we see on the small-to-midsized adventure travel company websites is badly organized page content. Part of this is due to point number one, above: since there’s no CMS, and no good way to edit content (or because the provider editing the content is incompetent!), content just gets tossed all into one long page, or gets broken up with no real rhyme or reason.
Think before you type! Try this– make a grid, with geographic locations on one axis and adventure types (eg. fishing, camping, hiking, boating, etc.) on the other. Then, populate the grid with your individual trips, and subcategorize them by any demographics you might use (eg. family trips, children’s trips, women only, etc.).
Once you’ve got this plan worked out, you’ll see that it’s much easier to find a “slot” for each individual trip– and your users (and the search engines!) will thank you for it.
4) Remember: Content is KING!
I’ll go ahead and say it– I think that a lot of the SEO practitioners out there are snake oil salesmen. They send confusing reports with ambiguous information, then claim that it was their fiddling with a few meta tags that resulted in a great jump in rankings or in better traffic, and then they charge you $100/month.
While a good SEO guy can really make an impact, the fact is that this type of dramatic change from simple meta tag management is increasingly unlikely. The best thing you can do to help your search engine ranking is to have well written, topical content! If you are the world’s best fly fishing outfitter, prove it– with detailed, interesting and professional articles about all the cool stuff you do.
Are you planning your next vocation and thinking of taking an adventure travel tour instead of traditional beach – resort type of vocation? You are not alone, many people these days prefer active, adventurous style of travel. And the best way to have a safe adventure is to go for adventure travel in a small group.
Small group adventures travel is a fast growing industry and for a good reason. There are many definite advantages to having a guided adventure vocation in a small group:
- you can get more attention from the tour guide
- there is a great variety of small group adventures available even to rare and not tourist popular destinations
- if the group is not large the tour can be better customized to your needs
- often traveling in a small group is cheaper than participating in a conventional tour, because only a few people need accommodation, so it doesn’t have to be a big hotel
- tours are less formal and you have more freedom, yet a safety of having a guide, in case you need help
These tips will help you to get the most from your vocation
1. Decide what kind of adventure you are looking for. Adventure vocation is a broad term – for some it means exploring the wildness of Alaska or the jungles of Amazon, while others want a guided tour to Paris or Sydney. Not all adventures require you to be in a top physical shape. Some tours involve a lot of hiking, but not all – you can still see a lot of interesting and exciting things without accosting yourself. Find out in advance how difficult your tour is going to be.
2. Do you want to explore just one country in depth or would you rather see a lot of different things in different countries? This question might sound silly, but it actually is important. Since most adventure vocation tours are 7-14 days long, you can’t expect to see a lot of places and to spend a long time in each of them. More places and countries doesn’t necessarily mean better vocation, you might just become exhausted and overwhelmed by too many things to see.
3. Are you after a family adventure or you preferring only a company of adult travelers? As adventurous traveling gains its popularity, many companies offer family friendly adventure tours. These are usually light tours with many activities to interest children. So, if you plan to go with kids, search for family adventures. On the other hand, if you don’t want children as members of your group, make sure to ask your travel agent, if families with kids go for this type of tour.
4. Spend several hours researching adventure travel companies and comparing adventure tours they offer – that will save you a lot of money and frustration. If you do your research online, and you should, read what other people who took the tour you like have to say. Most traveling companies put testimonials online. You can also search adventure forums, where people share their real experiences.
5. Adventure travel doesn’t have to be very expensive, especially if we are talking about traveling in small groups. Search around and find a tour that suits your budget. In traveling industry expensive doesn’t necessarily mean the best. Compare what activities the tours offer and what kind of accommodation is included. It is possible to find great adventure tours at reasonable prices.
Planning is of essence knowing that it takes time and blood to accumulate funds for a decent adventure vacation.
Adventure Travel Companies -Memories of a life time
Getting away from the hustle and bustle of every day life requires many years of hard work and without vacation makes Jack a dull boy… When one is ready and set the question of where to visit creeps in… Asia? Africa? Or any other destination requires one to get proper information of a particular country and on different tour packages offered.
There are one million and one tour companies on the internet and one would get confused as to which one to use for their yearned or most hoped for vacation. Visit online travel forums to get a glimpse of what other travelers have to say concerning their upcoming vacation or others reveling on their experiences from a recent vacation abroad.
The first thing would be to look out for a reputable Tour company that gives advice on the best tourist spots in the country of visit and eventually plan a memorable vacation of a life time. Do not fear to ask as many questions as possible till one becomes almost familiar with that country of visit, one needs to be careful as many tour companies are masquerading as know it all, it would be prudent to seek for tour operators that offer or provide professional services; do not fall for cheap tour packages as this will ruin your longed for adventure vacation-I do not know how cheap is cheap but what I know is that cheap is expensive in the long run. Try to avoid briefcase tour operators; these companies will ruin you most desired holiday.
Do not be afraid to seek information on:
Medical covers and Health requirements or restrictions
What to carry or not carry
Vehicle and driver guide
Highlights on areas to be visited etc
Here are few best adventure travel organizations that provide a discriminating and interesting range of adventurous traveling plans. Hiking the Inca Trail, biking in Morocco and rafting through Grand Canyon are simply the shortest sample of experiences these organizations could provide customers. All their sites list specific adventurous trips, with elaborated travel plans, cost and pictures.
This company provides a choice of about 1,200 adventurous trip plans to all 7 continents. To find some discount rates on fascinating tours check out their “Specials” section.
Geographic Expeditions Adventure tours:
This company provides the portfolio of land trips, walks, treks and military ocean trips to the most impressive places in the world, ranging right from travels in Nepal, China and Vietnam to Ghana and Mongolia.
Austin-Lehman adventurous trips:
If you are anticipating adventurous traveling trips that children of all ages could enjoy, or tours only for you or for adolescents, consider this company. Austin-Lehman offers the hike, bike, paddle, climb, ride and Multi-Sport tours– visit such beautiful destination such as Costa Rica, Alaska, Mexico, Bryce, Canada, Yosemite National Parks and Zion.
This company provides nature-tours and eco trips to different places comprising the Egypt, Amazon, India, Galapagos and Kenya. International Expeditions provides deep itineraries planned to explore the region’s mortal of the country.
This is the niche adventure travel company which concentrates on taking customers out-of-the-way track to about ninety place over the world. On this typical tour you could trip in paths similar to localized people, respecting the environment and the culture. This travel tour operator company takes generally public transport, stay and dines in small local-owned organizations.
Small adventurous trips with classic journeys:
This company is specializes in small-group, boutique and soft adventurous trip. Classic journeys functions 3 types of tours: family journeying, cultural walking adventures and culinary trips.