Guest article : The author of this article is Thibaut Rom. Web entrepreneur and frequent traveler, Thibaut decided to live from his passion by launching tourism websites. He shares his advice and offers products and services adapted to travelers. In this article, the author explains how he managed to develop and monetize his sites, before being hit hard by the tourism crisis linked to Covid-19. Feedback that will interest all web project promoters!
Many tourism businesses that launch on the internet fail to succeed. Either by a lack of traffic on their site, or by ineffective monetization.
After launching a tourism site near 100,000 visitors / month, I think I have some interesting techniques that I will share with you here. It is thanks to certain techniques that I managed in a short time to get as much traffic and generate more than € 4,000 in profit per month for my business.
Unfortunately, partly because of the coronavirus, my business is about to bankruptcy. But it’s partly my fault too, as I’ll explain later in this article.
But then, how to properly reference a tourism site? How to monetize it well? What strategic mistake did I make to experience such a rapid fall?
I tell everything here by sharing you also my journey.
A good SEO strategy is important
If you want grow your site and see its traffic explode, you will need to use different SEO techniques.
These will allow you to quickly get your site up in search engines to arrive in top recommendations. When I speak of top recommendation, I speak of TOP 3. Beyond that, the traffic brought is generally very low (unless the request has an extremely large search volume). Even today, I use these techniques powerful which can bring you a lot of visitors.
In 2015, when I put my first site dedicated to Lisbon online (Bonjourlisbonne.fr), I tell myself that we must strike hard in SEO strategy. I’m already starting to work a lot on the content.
I decided to write more than 150 articles related to tourism in Lisbon, which made me the site with the most content on Lisbon in a few months. All are optimized for SEO of course.
I make sure that blog architecture is simple and that everything is available very quickly (in less than 2 clicks).
Most of my articles revolve around 800 words, are optimized and have an effective title. For the keywords, I put in place a whole maneuver to be as relevant as possible.
I first consult all the monuments, gardens or tourist activities available in Lisbon. Provided with the tool Ahref, I’m doing research on the places previously identified.
This tool (essential!) Makes it possible to display the various keywords most sought on the Internet in relation to the place in question, while displaying their difficulty in positioning themselves on the first page (even if it would have been better to know in relation TOP 3 I think). So I’m sure I have the perfect keyword which will allow me to attract easily a large number of visitors.
I also present my blog in many directories (of quality and with non-automatic submission) and forums dedicated to tourism to make it known to the greatest number.
I contact the sites which have dead links (as well as those which link towards these dead links) and I propose to them to replace these links by mine. The links don’t need to be perfectly consistent with the ones to be replaced, as I show with the screenshot below.
Finally, I suggest to many blogs to write quality content on the city of Lisbon in exchange a link or several links to my site in the article.
I also proofread articles from other bloggers that are out of date, in exchange for mentioning my site.
I invite well-known travel bloggers and I receive them at my house or I pay them accommodation. So when they write their travel story, they naturally place a link to my site.
These are all smart strategies, white hat, easy to set up. They may take time and require organization, but it is clearly worth it.
These many strategies allowed me to quickly publicize my blog and to tell Google that I mastered the tourism sector in Lisbon.
Website creation – Personalized price estimation
Websites Are Us has developed a recommendation engine which allows you to obtain a free detailed price estimate as well as a selection of software and providers adapted to your website creation needs.
Its effects on my site dedicated to Lisbon, and its monetization
The effects on my site bonjourlisbonne.fr were very fast. The first year, I have grown to over 60,000 unique visitors on my blog.
At that time, I open my business and employ different teammates to help me with my project. They take care of the life of the site, manage the various partnerships that I have been able to set up with the merchants and guide my clients in the visit of the city.
A year later, my business explodes. By 60,000 annual visitors, I now exceeded 650,000 unique visitors year round.
I owe this success to this SEO work.
Thanks to the visitors that SEO brought me, I manage to make a net profit of € 3,000 per month.
Monetization has been easy, it was enough to develop partnerships and affiliations with everything that interests travelers and where they spend money. But many sites just offer affiliation by recommending platforms like Getyourguide.
It’s good to do that, but it’s not ideal. Why ?
Quite simply because by going through an intermediate booking site, the commission is less naturally. The reservation site makes the link between the site which brings the customer, and the service provider.
So, I went negotiate directly with providers and establishments to double or triple my commissions. This is what I did in particular with airport transfer for example. It’s me who takes reservation requests directly on my site.
Another possibility is to launch its own services, like what I did with guided tours. This requires managing reservations, finding people to carry out site visits. But the income is much more attractive.
Effective monetization takes time to reach out to your own partners and develop your own services, but that’s what makes the business real profit. This is how this first site is already very profitable.
That is why early 2019, I’m going for it to conquer Rome with Hello Rome.
This time, I remain cautious and I develop the site little by little. After a short year of effort, it’s very interesting. Indeed, the site dedicated to Rome brings me back a little more 50,000 unique visitors from the first year.
As for Lisbon, I focused on a big SEO work coupled with the writing of a large number of quality articles on the main places to visit (example with this article on the Colosseum).
The site is still quite new and small, I want to be ready for the 2020 season. I then engage the almost all of my cash in this battle.
I commit several people to help me with SEO, for communication, for writing articles. Other people on site to find partners, another person to start answering emails.
Wanting to go too fast and investing almost everything in a few weeks has been my mistake.
The disaster of the health crisis
Unfortunately, the current health crisis has made me move from bankruptcy success in less than a month.
Indeed, in February 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic the borders are closed one by one. Italy is the most affected country. Shops close, tourist spots too and customers cancel their trip one by one. Tourism is then to the point of death. My partners have no cash flow and must also defer payment.
Overnight I don’t touch no more income of my sites. Of course, I had to separate myself from my teams while the crisis subsided.
I continues to work on SEO of my sites, in the hope that tourism will resume as soon as possible.
In addition to my personal expenses, I know of unavoidable professional expenses. Indeed, I need maintain functional sites As the crisis passes, I have business costs, bills to settle …
Once tourism starts again, I can resume contact with my partners and restart my tourist activity as before (or almost).
I can also set out again to conquer Rome and will offer this city tourism that meets my concept. My clients will quickly come back to enjoy my unforgettable services and holidays both in London and in Italy. At least I hope so.
Courage to all professionals in the field of tourism and do not hesitate to follow the advice set out in this article!
Web entrepreneur and frequent traveler, I decided to live from my passion by launching tourism websites. I share my advice and offer products and services adapted to travelers.