So you have your digital ad campaign running on your official tourism website. Impressions are high. Click-through rates are well above the industry average. But new revenue generated from your ad program is only trickling in. While the ads appear to be performing well, there is a disconnect between the click and the sale. What’s happening?

There are a myriad of reasons why your prospects don’t convert after clicking. Most of them are manageable. And they’re likely not related to your ad.

First, it’s important to recognize that your online digital advertising program is designed to generate clicks, not cash. Each click to your website is a lead. And that lead will (or will not) book or buy based largely on their experience with your website and staff after the click.

Unfortunately, it’s common for a lead to not convert right away. Luckily for you, our experts are here to help you close that sale! Destination Travel Network Customer Success Specialist Kurtis Durfey, an MBA with seven years high-level marketing experience, has identified six tips you can use to bridge your ad click and the sale and help you make your campaign stronger, start to finish!

Kurtis Durfey, DTN Customer Success Specialist   
 Tips to Convert Ad Leads to Sales


1. Reiterate Your Ad Promise

If you’re seeing great ad performance, you’re likely on-point with your ad creative and you’ve appropriately highlighted the way your product or service satisfies a specific need of our visitors. Be sure to reiterate that message on your landing page. Let’s say, for example, that you’re a hotel that has promised “luxury” and being “near major attractions” in your ad copy. You can highlight these benefits on your landing page with relevant content; a list of your luxury amenities, a map of nearby attractions, photos of visitors enjoying the hotel’s spa, or an article about the top ten things to do in your neighborhood or district.

I’ve clicked on your digital advertisement. I’m obviously interested in what you’ve told me about your offerings with your ad creative. If you use your landing page to show me how you’ll meet that promise when I come to visit, you’ll reward my curiosity, cater to my specific interests, remove any lingering hesitancy, and push me that much closer to buying.

"Our visitors want to see experiences that they’d like to have when they’re visiting your market."

2. Is It Worth It? (Emotionally, I mean?)

One thing you can bet every visitor is thinking in our trip-planning process: “is this worth what I’m going to spend for it?”. And it’s easy math: if we think the benefits are greater than the cost, we’re probably going to book. If the cost seems to be higher than the benefit, we’ll bounce. But there’s an unknown in there that you can use to increase the visitor’s perceived value of your product or service: the emotional benefit that we can expect to receive after our experience with you.

Take a hard look at your value proposition from your customer’s perspective. When you’re crafting your ad creative and your landing page, make sure your product is positioned in a way that meets the emotional needs of the visitor. A hotel might offer a relaxing place to recoup. A winery might offer adult conversation and a fun night without the kids. A museum might offer a rich family learning experience. Figure out how your products and services satisfy the emotional needs of the visitor and celebrate it.

And I’m not just talking about your ad copy. If your digital ad shows a photo of your storefront or an interior shot of your hotel room, you’re missing out on an incredible opportunity to highlight what it is that makes you great. Find photography of people happily engaging with your product and your staff. Our visitors want to see experiences that they’d like to have when they’re visiting your market.

And, finally, deliver on it. Whatever your ad promise is, you want to make sure it’s something that you and your team will deliver when the visitor is in your market. Meeting this commitment is a critical move to encourage loyal visitor customers and returning visitor revenue.

3. Make it Easy to Convert.

"Whatever you’re doing to move your visitors towards the sale, just make sure they can find it and do it quickly and easily."

You’re not doing yourself any favors if you pay us to get customers to your website and they can’t figure out how to give you money. If the visitor has arrived on your site from your digital advertisement, they’re likely ready to buy.

Make it easy for them. Use clear, well-designed website tools to navigate the customer through your purchase process. Make the process fast and easy with as few clicks as possible. And remove any hurdles or distractions that may take their focus away from what they’re doing.

But what of the restaurants and other businesses who don’t have an online booking or sales portal? Obviously, online sales are more relevant to businesses like hotels and attractions that have online booking channels. It’s much more difficult for restaurants and merchants to track the visitor from the click-on-the-ad to the butt-in-the-seat. But restaurants and small merchants can still move the visitor closer to the sale with a clear online reservations page, email newsletter sign-up form, and events calendar.

Whatever you’re doing to move your visitors towards the sale, just make sure they can find it and do it quickly and easily.

4. Deliver a Relationship Experience.

Okay, I’m a visitor. I like your ad. It marries with my ideas of what a fun trip looks like. I’m getting more excited by the second at the prospect of adding you to my trip itinerary. This could be super fun. I think we could be friends. I think I’ll click on you. And now...

Now I’m on your homepage.
Just. Like. Everybody. Else.
And I thought we had something special.

You know where these visitors are coming from (the CVB site). Make it special for them! Have your ad click through to a special landing page for these visitors. Use language that makes them feel special: “Welcome to [market name]!”.

This level of (more) personal dialogue helps to break down emotional barriers and turn your interaction into a conversation and then into a relationship. Invite your visitors to share their travel plans, to tag or check-in on your social media. Next thing you know, you’re a favorite spot that gets revisited again and again.

5. “Don’t Forget About Me!”

Alright! Your customer has booked. But you’re not quite done yet. Follow-up communication with the visitor after the sale and before their visit will keep your business top-of-mind and will reduce the risk of canceling, opting out, or simply forgetting about you.

If you’ve already captured their payment information and email, you’re three steps ahead. If you’ve secured the visitor’s interest but not their credit card, it’s even more important that you engage with them. Make sure you have the tools on your website to help them easily give you the information you need to stay top-of-mind through casual, conversational follow up communications.

You could send a personalized email with trip-planning ideas, tips on how to ride the Metro, or a map with must-try local coffee shops. What about a postcard (there was this thing, back in the day, called a mailbox…) with your smiling face on it saying that you can’t wait to meet them, or a personalized invitation to an upcoming community event? Sending your visitors information that you think they’d really like to see will help you move into that relationship zone.

6. Finally, send a Thank You. 

A thank you is polite. It’s also an opportunity to reinforce a candid and personal relationship with the visitor. Remember that your current advertising efforts could lead to lifetime customers. Make sure that they know that you’d like to see them again. And add them to your holiday card list while you’re at it!

Getting your ads on the tourism bureau’s website is the easy part (just talk to your DTN Account Executive). Even the task of getting your visitors to click on your ad is pretty straightforward. But the value of your ad program is lost if the user is not converting after the click.

If you’re ready to start advertising on the DTN Ad Network, learn how to become an advertiser. If you’re a Destination Marketing Organization and would like to offer the DTN Ad Network to your tourism stakeholders, schedule a demonstration with Paul Franke.