Part 2 - 6 ways to drive more traffic to your Viking booking widget

This blog post is written by guest author Alice Writes Copy

How to be the apex predator in a sea of fiercely competitive businesses

If you're in a highly competitive industry, and you offer something really similar to your neighbour, getting more traffic to your website can feel like paddling against a rip current. 

In my last blog post, we looked at 3 free techniques for getting prospective customers onto your bookings widget, having come from external platforms, like Google and Instagram. If you missed those last 3 traffic-growth strategies, you can read Part One of this series here.

Yes, getting new eyes on your website — especially if you can do it through search engines, using SEO — is vital for increasing your bookings.

BUT even once you’ve got your SEO nailed and more people are finding you online (high five) , it’s still highly likely that you’re losing people once they’ve arrived on your website. People who could but don’t ever click on your ‘Book now’ button. 

Of course, some of those people aren’t a good fit for watersports so they won’t ever be excited by the prospect of swallowing salt water or wrestling with a wetsuit no matter how fabulous your website. So it’s A-ok to let those little fishies go. 

However, you do want to ensure that every potential customer who IS a good fit does get caught in your net (and not your competitors’). 

A common and natural reaction to the how-do-we-get-more-bookings question, is “we just need more people to come to the website in order to get more bookings.” 

But, whether they’re aware of it or not, what business owners are actually saying here is: “we can (and will) convert our web visitors into customers, regardless of what our website says and how we say it”. This is a little naive.

Having an effective website isn’t just about the volume of traffic. It’s also about making sure that people have a seamless experience once they get there, so they don’t fall by the wayside. 

There are likely spots on your website where you are leaking potential customers: potential customers who would be a great fit for your taster lesson, prospective clients you know would have an awesome time on your week-long developer courses. But they’re slipping through the cracks. They’ve obviously shown enough interest in your company to get as far as your website…but they’re leaving your website empty-handed.

Stop leaking customers by plugging the holes in your website

Think of your website as a stand-alone funnel. 

(But more zoomed in than your traditional sales funnel.)

No, seriously. Imagine in your mind a funnel you use in your kitchen (or the kind your kids use in the sand pit).

If you’re pouring more water into the top — aka getting more traffic to your website — the leaky holes (aka non-optimised web copy and wonky navigation) mean you’re losing prospects at an equally drastic rate. You’ll end up looking more like a colander.

What’s the point of putting a ton of energy into sending new people to your website,when the site itself isn’t optimised for more conversions first?

You need good copy AND good on-site navigation to make the SEO work worth it. That means not only getting people to your website, but keeping them there. 

A better flow of customers all the way through your website, including your key sales page or bookings widget, can be the game-changer for increasing bookings. 

The more you’re able to utlise the words on your website, the less hours you have to put into getting your watersports school in front of new people: so it’s a no-brainer to convert a higher percentage of people who are already looking at your website, so that fewer people leave empty-handed. That also means there are fewer people wandering off in search of a different school or centre, a different location, different activity altogether...

Your goal? To create an effortless, supportive booking experience for your customers. Remove the obstacles and hesitations that are holding them back from clicking ‘Book now’. Eliminate the friction points that are slowing down your pipeline of future customers and clients.

Swap that colander for a leak-proof funnel by making your website a breeze for your customers

It’s time to make the best of your website by optimising it if any of these sound like you… 

  • You’re pouring effort into your different methods/platforms of outreach, but leaking energy and resources in trying to get more people to your website
  • You're having to sacrifice more and more of your precious time staring at a screen, attempting in vain to satiate those ravenous algorithms, rather than being out there doing the thing you love
  • You’re seeing a direct correlation between the amount of effort you’re putting into social media versus the number of enquiries you are getting
  • If, the minute you stop posting and being present on social media, there’s a fairly significant drop in terms of web activity
  • If you’re having to manually find clients, month-on-month, and continually promote your products and get people over the line — basically a whole load of legwork that your website should be doing for you

Well, it turns out you don’t have to give up your time outdoors to see growth in your business.

You’ve just got to implement a handful of tactical changes on your website. 

Let’s get the band-aids out. (You know the ones with pirates, parrots and buried treasure plastered all over.) Then start plugging the holes in your website. 

Block these accidental escape routes, so you can see sustained flow of clicks and conversions on your site. The techniques and strategies you’ll uncover today will:

  1. Draw your future customers into your experiences (while they’re still sitting at their laptop) 
  2. Stop giving your website visitors the opportunity to meander and go off-piste 
  3. Get your customers to testify to your awesomeness — because your current website might not be showing the good stuff in the right places

So whether someone’s meeting you for the first time or they’ve been following you for years, and they’re ready to book your experiences, you’re set up to utilise that traffic for good.

Then you can take a spontaneous morning off when the wind’s off-shore and get out in the water for yourself, knowing your website is doing the legwork for you.

1. Draw your future customers into the experience (while they’re still sitting at their laptop) 

When Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia, said “If you can create a company of honest messaging and trust, your customers will look to you for what’s right”. I don’t think he was just talking about being transparent as to where you get your materials from.

The more attainable an experience feels to a prospective customer, the easier it is for them to imagine themselves actually participating. The more informed they are, the closer the experience feels to them. 

On the flip side, the less informed they feel, the further away they will be from understanding if this is a good fit for them or not. 

Sharing little (or no) information about your booking process can stand as a barrier that stops prospective customers engaging with you. This is particularly pertinent when we see that TravelPort reported 3 in 5 travellers believe that the travel industry is littered with hidden costs and travel companies aren’t transparent enough when preparing them for extras that might pop up along the way. 

The last thing that a busy parent of 4 wants on their summer holiday is a complicated booking process — they’ve still got to sort the laundry, collect their little ones from football club, get dinner on the stove, and pay the deposit for their accommodation. They don’t have the brain space to faff around scouring a website for answers when their questions and queries about the booking process are left unresolved. 

If they have to stop to consider how to navigate the booking system at any point - if there is any confusion or uncertainty along the way (especially if they have to commit to paying right there and then), they are less likely to hit your desired end goal (aka book your watersports experience).

Lack of transparency around how people book on your website can make your future customers concerned that their in-person experience will be trying and complicated on the day too. This becomes clear when we learn that 64% of people surveyed said they really enjoyed travel, but only 26% said they enjoyed booking travel. This suggests that there aren’t enough businesses making the booking process an enjoyable, straight-forward experience. 

By making sure that your future customers KNOW your booking process will be easy, you can become one of the few companies that make booking an enjoyable experience. This means that not only are they more likely to book quickly the first time, but they are also more likely to become a repeat customer, which is very good news for your bottom line. (Pretty key to the sustainability of your business when it’s reported that 80% of your profits in the future will come into your business through 20% of your existing client base: Gartner Group and “Leading on the Edge of Chaos”, Emmet C. Murphy and Mark A Murphy, 2002.)

So how do you make your booking process easy and transparent for your prospective customers? What impact will that have on the number of people that click through to your Viking bookings widget?


Near the ‘Book now’ button on your activities page, include a simple step-by-step guide, (limited to 3 - 5 stages) that walks your future customers clearly through your booking process. By showing the booking process on your activities page BEFORE people actually have to press the Book Now button, you’re showing them what to expect and building their trust in you. This means they can start to imagine themselves actually taking part in this process. They envision the excitement of turning up and preparing (under your kind guidance) for taking part in the activity they want to do. For your future customers, ease of booking (and then having everything taken care of for them will imply the ease of the experience as a whole. 

The fewer blocks to someone booking, the smoother the process, the more likely your website visitors are to click your ‘Book now’ button. 

2. Stop your website visitors from meandering off-piste (and keep them on-course to pressing your ‘Book now’ button)

Let’s go back to our leaky sieve/colander analogy.

Now start to think about different links you’ve got on your website that might give prospective customers the opportunity to navigate away from your website.

If one of your website visitors clicks on a link on your services page that actually takes them to an external website, they’re straying away from potentially booking you. This might include:

  • A local cafe you want to recommend to your customers
  • A social media page, where you’ve got an awesome video detailing your signature improvers course
  • A surf or wind report, so that advanced water-enthusiasts can make sure they book for the right conditions
  • The hostel next door you’ve partnered with for development or instructor camps 

Even if the website visitor has the intention of coming back to your website, they are more likely to get distracted and forget to come back to you if you start sending them elsewhere. 

So how can you keep these absolutely vital links away from your website, without potentially losing a customer? What does it take to pop a band-aid over this accidental escape route for your prospective website visitors?


Make sure that any link to a different website opens up in a new window, so you’re still present in their browser (just in an older tab) so your prospective customer will stumble upon you once again, but just later on.

And for Pete’s sake, please make sure you DON’T have your Instagram grid sitting at the bottom of your services or activities page. 

Because images steal attention. 

We are naturally drawn to images before text. If you’ve got a strip of beautiful images in your footer, immediately after a really important call-to-action at the bottom of your services page (aka your ‘Book Now’ button) where do you think their eye is going to be drawn?... I’ll tell you: they’re going to be drawn in by the Instagram banner of your most recent posts INSTEAD of that all-important ‘Book now’ button. 

You worked SO hard to get people away from social media onto your website, and now you’ve got their undivided attention, why encourage them to take a U-turn and go back there?!

Just pop a couple of small social media logo icons in your footer instead. 

3. Get your customers to testify to your awesomeness (and make sure your current website isn’t hiding the good stuff)

Testimonials are a common feature on most websites, activity centres and outdoor adventure businesses included. 

The concept of ‘social proof’ was coined by Robert Cialdini in his book that kind of rewrote the rules of modern marketing: “Influence”, and it essentially means that you’re sharing experiences from other customers who are demonstrating the ‘correct behavior’ (i.e. booking a session with you guys), in the hope that future customers follow suit. It also gives you extra credibility.

Social proof in the form of testimonials is a great way to build trust with prospective customers, proving to those shopping around on the web that people just like them used your watersports school before, and they loved it.

We can see how important testimonials and reviews are when we look at the stats: 92% of internet shoppers say they are tentative to buy from a brand where no customer feedback can be easily found. And 52% of surveyed companies reported that showcasing reviews improved brand loyalty.

However, website scrollers can start to become immune to testimonials (and their impact) when they are presented with a sliding block of multiple testimonials that has been embedded into the page. In order to see every single review, the website visitor has to click little tiny arrows in the margin, to scroll through every testimonial.

Especially for prospective customers who are skim-readers and fast decision-makers, they don’t have time to pore through every single comment from your past clients. Therefore the testimonials that aren’t immediately visible are going to get missed. Fewer people are going to see them, and that means they won’t be experiencing that reassuring sense of social proof when it comes to booking with you. 

What do you do when there’s a high likelihood that your amazing testimonials are getting missed? How can you be more strategic with the placement of your reviews to reduce friction and encourage more bookings?


Avoid hiding testimonials in scrolling banners. Give each of your precious testimonials their own space. This means that they are unavoidable to your prospective client — there’s no chance they will miss them.

The more testimonials presented to prospective customers, the more fuel you have to persuade them to engage with you, as they are seeing more stories that mirror their own. The experience they could have with your business becomes more tangible (since it’s clear that people just like them have already had an incredible time).

Bonus points if you can hand-pick a testimonial that acts as a vote of confidence for the previous paragraph or section on your website. 

So for example, if you’ve written a paragraph on your services page about how your make sure each instructor takes the time to ask individuals in a group the skills and techniques they’ve been struggling with in the water, then you should follow it up in the next section/banner of your website with a testimonial that speaks about exactly that: a past customer whose instructor listened to what they did in their past lessons at a different watersports school, understood what their biggest challenges were, and they were then given 1-to-1 feedback which made a HUGE impact on their rate of improvement.

Using this technique means you have a third-party backing up your claims, as your customers directly vouch for your awesomeness.

One of my old clients has done this really well on their home page: Global Boarders just happen to use Vikings bookings software too! In the section about paddleboarding tours, they highlight the benefit of being flexible with their locations, depending on the conditions. And it’s reiterated in the testimonial from Tim B immediately below it. Now they’ve got a second opinion, which really highlights how adaptable Global Boarders are, getting people in the sea no matter what the conditions are like.

Double bonus points if you can put a testimonial immediately before your ‘Book now’ button, to further remove the friction that arises when your prospective customer is considering whether you can deliver on your promises to them, weighing up whether giving you their hard-earned cash will be worth it.

Boosted bookings: How I increased an outdoor adventure centre’s revenue-per-instructor by 63%

Now you’ve got a deeper insight from Part One and Part 2 of this blog series, you can begin combining all 6 of these techniques in the knowledge that they can will have a powerful impact on your bookings. 

Even just utilising a couple of them can result in a significant bump in revenue: I was lucky enough to spend 3 winter seasons working in a ski resort in Hokkaido, which is the northernmost island in Japan. The wind there brings this crazy, light champagne powder across the Sea of Japan from Siberia — our best week out there saw 50cm of fresh powder every single day.

I worked in the office for a backcountry ski guiding company, called Japan Powder Connection.

Their very first website was bodged together by one of their ski guides the year before, so I made it my mission to rework the customer journey, with the aim of increasing their number of bigger bookings. 

Our resort was growing fast. Competition was increasing. So we needed to make sure we were converting more of the half-decent web traffic we were already getting.

The main changes I made to the website were:

  1. Being super transparent with the bookings process (inc. payment requirements, refund policy, what happens if the wind is too wild or the snow is sub-par, etc.)
  2. Outlining what a guided tour in the backcountry looked like, so our customers could prepare sufficiently to get the most out of a day off-piste
  3. Making the experiences we offered feel more real and attainable for our website visitors (in part, by adding testimonials, using the technique I’ve just described to you) 

As I developed their services page, I made sure to manage the expectations of our web visitors, removing floating question marks about what was required of them in terms of payment, but also, necessary preparation ahead of the ski tour. These changes were made slowly between December and March (peak winter season in the Northern hemisphere). 

Japan Powder Connection saw an increase in revenue-per-instructor by 63% the season after we made the website changes. 

Could a few website tweaks take the pressure off the daily Insta-grind?

When it gets to the summer, you feel the immediate need to pick up the pace on your social channels to try and make sure you get a good stream of people through your doors. But that’s the time everyone else is starting to get noisier as well. So it’s easier to get lost amid all the other accounts vying for the attention of your prospective customers as well. You might end up spending a whole lot of time and effort feeding that algorithm for very little gain.

Instead, looking at your website performance and plugging some of those website leaks might be a more time-efficient solution to get more people to click through to your Viking booking widget. That also means freeing up more time in the sea/away from a screen.

If you’re looking for FREE ways to get more bookings with less effort (as your website’s doing more of the hard graft), get my fortnightly mini-marketing how-tos here.

Hey, I'm Alice. I'm super passionate about being outdoors. It keeps me sane, for sure. 

I want others to benefit from the power of the outdoors too, which I do by exploring the friction points and psychological barriers that hold some people back from getting outside their comfort zone and trying something that will ultimately impact their wellbeing. 

I've worked in the outdoors and adventure sports industry for 15 years and now run a copywriting and website optimisation business from Cornwall, England.

Back to blog overview