Qualities of an excellent fishing charter website

qualities of a good fishing charter website

Let’s face it, the internet has revolutionized the way we live our lives today. The web keeps us connected with people from different parts of the globe at any time. Communicating, getting information, and shopping for goods and services are all possible without leaving the comforts of our home. In fact, with just a few strokes on the keyboard, we can buy almost anything we want from basic needs to luxuries.

As more people become digitally-savvy, it’s important to establish an online presence to drive your business in the millennium and there’s no better way to start than to build a company website with all the right components.

If you’re in the fishing charter business, here are some key ingredients to consider when building a digital platform where potential customers can learn more about your fishing trips and engage in them.

Your website has to be visually appealing

First impressions always matter! Many people say, “do not judge a book by its cover” but in reality, we often make snap judgments based on outer appearance. The same thing applies to an online site; a visually appealing website can catch the attention of the visitor and ultimately convince them to book a charter.

soleman

Check out these simple tips that might help you come up with a visually attractive website:

Choice of color scheme – Lack of color can be boring but using too much can be a distraction. The rule of thumb is to choose two or three primary colors (preferably from your company logo) that go well and refrain from using extremely vibrant hues that can make your fishing charter website look tacky and appear unprofessional. Remember, your target market is anglers and not children, so don’t overdo the use of colors to save it from looking childish.

Avoid flashing images, auto-playing multimedia, or anything distracting – Animations, blinking or flashing graphics, auto-playing music or videos, and pop-ups (also called interstitials) are not only annoying but they can disrupt the reading experience and drive an individual to leave the site. Imagine a user trying to browse quietly through your website in a cafe, only to be shocked by the loud sounds from an auto-playing video. Shattering the calm and peaceful atmosphere is embarrassing enough but being unable to locate the mute button can make matters worse! Keeping this tip in mind can save users from experiencing such an awkward moment.

Utilize relevant images or graphics – The right images or graphics can bring vitality to a boring site and turn it into a powerful platform for your business. For a fishing charter, you can capture the interest of your target market by putting photos of your location, boats, and clients holding their catches.

Aside from selecting relevant photos, you should also pay attention to the file size and resolution to optimize the use of graphics. Selecting low-quality and pixelated images may be considered poor taste and give your fishing charter website an unprofessional touch while high-quality photos more than the recommended size might slow it down. A web designer recommends adding no more than five images or graphics (1MB or less) per page.

Post only images of the actual charter boats, equipment, and amenities to prevent potential clients from making uninformed purchasing decisions. Misguiding users, whether intentionally or not, with impressive photos that are not yours and far from what you offer in reality may lead to complaints, negative reviews, and loss of customers.

gaviotas
Gaviotas features photos of its charter fleet on their website.

Use appropriate text and font – The standard black text on white background is a safe combination and commonly used in many websites but that doesn’t mean that it’s a mistake to use other color combinations. You may do so, provided that the colors you choose are pleasing to the eyes. When it comes to font types, use those that are easy to read and commonly available on most computers. Whimsical fonts are cute but they may not be appropriate for your audience so it’s better to stick with the more classic types. Good font size for paragraph text may range between 10 to 12 pts.

Have a simple and easy navigation

Navigation is just like a compass; if you’re going on a forest trail, it’s wise to carry one to lead you to the right path. Otherwise, you might get hopelessly lost in the dense vegetation. The same concept may be applied to a website because the navigation system helps web users find their way through the different pages.

A good website should have a simple, clear, comprehensive, and structured navigation system that people can easily understand. The visitor should have no difficulty going around the website and finding the information that he/she needs with a minimal number of clicks.

The menu tabs should be ideally positioned on the top of the site or on either side where they can easily be seen. For better user experience, limit the tabs between 5 and 7 and cut down the number of clicks required before acquiring the information needed.

phantom website
The menu tabs of Phantom Fishing are strategically placed on top where they can easily be spotted by readers.

Nobody likes a slow website

In this Internet-driven world where instant gratification is highly favored, many individuals have somehow developed short attention spans. As a result, more online users expect fast loading websites and have little patience when it comes to web pages that take more than three seconds to load. Individuals are easily frustrated by turtle-pace websites and are likely to abandon their browsing activities in search of similar but faster loading online sites. Fishing charters that want favorable conversation rates should ensure that their websites have acceptable loading speed to sustain the interest of potential clients. In addition, websites with fast load time are rewarded by Google with excellent positioning in its search engine results pages.

You might wonder, how fast should a website load? Maile Ohye from Google says:

“2 seconds is the threshold for e-commerce website acceptability. At Google, we aim for under a half second.”

Pingdom and PageSpeed Insights are examples of tools used for testing website load speed. Below are actual Pingdom Website Speed Test and PageSpeed Insights performed for one of our clients, Phantom Fishing.

speed test
As you can see, Solmar Sportfishing has a loading time of 1.12 seconds which meets the ideal standards.

Your website needs to have informative content

Content is the body and soul of the website and a quality one should have original and engaging content.

For a fishing charter business, the goal of having a website is to convince visitors that you have everything that they are looking for in a fishing charter. Here are some essential pages recommended by a web specialist:

About Us page – This section is dedicated to the charter company’s history or background, mission and vision, and information about the owner, captain and the other team members. This is where you can share the biggest and best fish you’ve caught on your charter and fishing tournaments that you’ve won. Make it more interesting for potential customers by sharing stories and showing some photos. This page may also include specifications of your fishing vessel (the type of boat, model, engine, speed, capacity, etc.), electronics, equipment, and amenities. Showcase the best photos of the boat in different angles to convince customers that your charter is worth their time and money.

Fishing trip information and pricing – Describe your fishing trips by telling your customers what they can expect including duration, package inclusions and exclusions, and related fees. Always provide accurate pricing and avoid surprising your guests with unexpected fees like gas surcharges and tips after they arrive at your boat. This page should have a visible “Book now” button that customers can click to allow them to easily book reservations on your website and conveniently pay online using a credit card or debit card.

Fishing calendar – Let anglers know when it is the best time to go fishing on your charter by including a fishing calendar that illustrates the types of fish that can be caught by month.

Photo gallery – Designate a photo gallery section where you can share some of your recent catches, best catches, and captions of success stories. You may also post videos of real-time fishing action to motivate anglers to book your charter.

Social media links – Boost your targeted audience’s interest in booking your boat by including active social media links on your website such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Other links – You can link TripAdvisor reviews and ratings to boost your reputation as a good and reliable fishing charter company.

FAQs – By addressing frequently asked questions about your business, you can save time answering phone calls and email inquiries about the same questions and concerns. A well-developed FAQ page can also be a way to communicate the terms and conditions of your fishing trips and manage customer expectations from the beginning.

Contact information – Your contact page should include an email address, contact number, and a Google Map. Ideally, you should answer emails within 24 hours.

Live chat that’s available 24/7

Customer service is an integral component of a fishing charter business and in today’s fast-paced world where people expect instant support, it may be a good time to give your website an edge by featuring a live chat. This is an opportunity to interact with potential customers in real-time and get to know their various fishing needs and concerns and provide them with real-time answers and solutions. A website live chat is a great way to build customer confidence and improve conversation rates. Examples of live chat software are Zendesk, Intercom, LiveChat, LiveAgent, Talk Desk, and Chat io.

fishhunter
Fish Hunter Charters uses the Zendesk live chat software.

Website security

As people become more reliant on technology, the call for better website security has increased. Discerning consumers are more aware of the threats of engaging in an unsecured website such as the risk of customer data and credit card information theft.

Here are some tips that may help protect both your fishing charter business and customers from hackers, phishing attempts, and malware attacks:

1. Keep your website’s software, security, and scripts up to date.
2. Use security software or plugins.
3. Order an SSL certificate from your Domain Provider (examples: Siteground, Bluehost, and GoDaddy). Then install the SSL certificate to activate the padlock and the https protocol and provide secure connections between your server and a user’s browser.
4. Create secure passwords and encrypt passwords.
5. Prevent users from uploading files that may be infected by a virus or malware.

In modern times like this, a website with all the right components can be a key tool for growth and burgeoning opportunities with the potential to boost customer awareness, improve your credibility, give your business a global reach, and increase your bookings.

How to get great fishing charter reviews regardless of catch

get positive reviews

Online reviews can greatly affect how your fishing charter is viewed in the public eye. If you find yourself in the spotlight, isn’t it better if it’s due to positive customer reviews rather than the opposite?

Think of it this way, every online review is a form of advertising for your fishing charter but keep in mind that reviews can go either direction. It can be a good way to make clients aware of your quality services but it can also be detrimental if the review exposes your faults and shortcomings. Good reviews can also lead to repeat customers, referrals and an increase in bookings while negative ones can result in the opposite of all those.

Fishing experience as the main highlight

When one hires a fishing charter and head out to sea, they might envision himself/herself arm wrestling with a mighty and heavyweight champ of the sea only to face the bitter reality of little or no fishing action. The ocean is unpredictable and a scenario like this can happen to even the best of fishermen. There is no assurance that an angler can always catch a fish that’s why a captain should never take on the role of a fortune teller and guarantee the client that he/she will reel in a fish during the trip. To get good reviews, a discerning captain should focus on giving the best fishing experience regardless of the catch. After all, fishing is not solely about catching fish but more about the quality of the experience and the drive to improve fishing skills.

If you want to receive good reviews, it only makes sense that you give anglers a wonderful fishing experience to rave about. Here are some tips that can help increase positive feedback no matter what the fishing outcomes are.

Make online transactions a walk in the park

Modern-day users prefer the convenience of online browsing, making an online reservation, and paying using a credit card or debit card. In line with these, good user experience is inarguably a vital factor in making a positive purchasing decision to make the process a breeze.

You might ask, where do you begin? A good starting point is establishing a quality website that is visually appealing, has seamless navigation, loads fast, contains informative content, secure from phishing and hacks, and features an easy booking and payment system.

online booking fishing charter

It’s like a chain of reaction where one thing leads to another. If a visitor likes the way the website looks, his/her interest and curiosity are triggered and it pushes him/her to look deeper by checking out what your business has to offer. Whereas, if a user doesn’t like what he/she sees, there is a tendency to simply click away and look elsewhere. Same thing with navigation; if a potential customer has no difficulty finding his/her way around the website and looking for information that he/she needs, it can prompt the individual to take action. In order to convert browsers to actual customers, you need to establish a website with a good loading speed because in this modern time, web users expect faster page loads and quickly lose interest when an online site has a sluggish speed. In terms of security, modern users often look for security seals/badges (such as Norton or McAfee) and website privacy policy before pushing forward with online transactions. For the last and fundamental step, the users should be able to book and pay using a credit card or debit card for the fishing charter trip through your website without delay and hassle.

By combining these elements, you can give users the ease, convenience, speed, and efficiency that they expect with their online transactions. Satisfied customers are likely to take the time and effort to give your fishing charter a favorable review.

A poor user experience, on the other hand, can discourage people from checking your website and finding business somewhere else. The last thing you want to happen is to lose a potential customer because of a slow, complicated, unsecured, and unreliable website.

Expectation vs. reality

Nothing can be more disappointing than to be presented with an illusion of something very appealing only to receive something inferior and lackluster.

expectations vs reality

Always present the user with clear and precise packages with the correct prices and explain in detail the things that are and are not included in the package. To prevent disappointments, ensure that the boat they see online is what they can expect in reality and all the equipment mentioned in the package are provided. You are likely to get favorable feedback if you are honest about every aspect of the trip.

Avoid misleading information that can influence your customer to make uninformed decisions. Deceptive advertising such as promising package inclusions you cannot deliver, claiming boat amenities that do not exist, and imposing undisclosed expenses can damage your reputation.

The customer must be aware of the fishing season so that they can have a realistic expectation of what types of fish they can catch during the fishing trip. They should also know about fishing laws that aim to conserve and improve populations of certain species like billfish. For instance, policies like catch and release should be discussed so that they won’t be disappointed if they can’t keep their prized catch. Inform them about regulations that require them to return any fish that did not meet a certain size requirement back to the ocean.

Outstanding service makes the difference!

Novice and serious anglers who feel that they are valued by the fishing charter company are likely to give positive reviews. A good way of achieving this is by keeping their needs at the forefront of your services and providing an excellent customer support that is always on standby to provide important information, help them choose the best package, and answer various inquiries.

The tone of customer support is equally important as people respond well to friendly communication. If you want to win the positive reviews, take time to listen before responding to their questions or offering solutions.

Customers appreciate companies that respond quickly to their queries and do not keep them hanging so always treat every inquiry important and maintain a good time frame for answering each one. Keep in mind that an overdue response might give the people the impression that you are not interested in conducting business.

Remind, meet and greet

A great fishing charter will make it a point to remind the customer when the trip is near through SMS, phone call and/or email to avoid late arrivals and no-shows that can deprive both parties of having a positive fishing experience. Provide them with the exact meeting point to prevent them from getting lost and wasting precious time.

It is also paramount to remind clients to bring all the necessary requirements for the trip such as ID and fishing license (when needed) plus essentials like a hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, camera, and others.

Another important thing that some fishing charters neglect is the gesture of giving the anglers a proper welcome at the port. You can avoid this by giving a warm greeting and personally accompanying them aboard the fishing vessel. Make the passengers feel right at home by immediately offering them water, soft drinks, and other refreshments that are included in the package.

Cleanliness counts big time

clean boat

When you invite a guest into your home, the proper thing to do is to clean your house and make it presentable to your guests. The same thing applies to a fishing charter; thus, the captain should instruct his crew to clean the boat before each trip. Make sure that every section of the boat from the deck, salon, galley, and down to the toilet are clean, uncluttered, and free from unpleasant odor. Dirty surroundings and the fishy smell is a real turnoff.

Oh, captain! My captain!

If you’re fishing for good reviews, you’ll need something really enticing to help you zero in for the catch and that’s none other than a great captain. Needless to say, the captain plays a significant role in how a fishing trip turns out because he is responsible for steering the boat to the best fishing spots; knows the territory and depths; and exhibits good judgement where to throw the anchor and where to tie the ropes when the boat is in a remote site.

The status of captain doesn’t automatically mean that he has what it takes to give clients the best value for their money. Besides, anyone can acquire a captain’s license and own a charter boat, but not everyone can deliver an unforgettable fishing adventure.

cabo-fishing-2

There are numerous fishing charters out there and with that kind of stiff competition, a captain should have an edge from the others beginning with his expertise. Anglers will highly benefit from having an experienced full-time captain who has been fishing in the waters for years because he is privy to the best and sometimes secret fishing spots that yield great catches. Experience also gives the captain the ability to predict the waters, understand the fish behavior, and instinctively know the best fishing techniques that work on the targeted fish and current conditions.

A great captain also goes the extra mile to guide newbies who are still learning the ins and outs of fishing. Make lasting impressions on your clients by patiently teaching novice fishers the proper methods to ensure a fun and memorable fishing experience.

There are moments when the fish are simply not biting which can be very frustrating especially for idealistic beginners. They may feel a sense of defeat when his companions have all caught a fish except him. An admirable captain is always there to give encouragement to anglers, especially beginners, who are having a tough time. It’s the captain’s job to subtly hint that process and journey of fishing are far more important than catching a fish and that sometimes fishing can be a hit and miss depending on the season, weather, and water conditions. This way, clients can feel less pressured about the fishing outcome and focus more on the experience.

Another trait of a wonderful captain is his ability to express concern for the passengers. Some fishermen, especially newbies, may be prone to seasickness or show physical exhaustion after a tough battle with a fish. A great captain has a keen eye for things like these and is are always ready to lend a hand. For instance, the captain can offer over-the-counter medication or other natural alternatives to counteract seasickness and advise exhausted fishermen to take some time to rest and recover their energy before resuming fishing.

Bring out the smiles and cheers!

Everyone will appreciate not only a knowledgeable captain but someone with a warm and sunny disposition. The captain, passengers, and crew are going to spend an average of four to eight hours together on the boat, and it’s good to establish a fun and relaxed atmosphere aboard. A warm, friendly, accommodating captain and crew who smile a lot can easily win the hearts of their guests and it won’t take long for them to start getting to know one another, enjoying fishing, cracking jokes, and learning how to improve hook-up ratios.

Until we meet again

As they say, goodbye is not the end. Set yourself apart from other fishing charters that end their contact with the client the moment that they step off from their boat. Giving your customers a great fishing experience is a good benchmark that can lead to repeat business and referrals. Take advantage of this by maintaining ties with them and building a positive business relationship with them.

After the trip, it’s a good practice to send them an email thanking them for using your services and asking them to share their fishing experience. Give your email a personal touch by mentioning something fun and memorable about the trip to inspire anglers to relive the moment by going on another fishing trip. In addition, you can consider enticing repeat customers by giving them a discount or perhaps some freebies on their next trip as a way of expressing your appreciation for the relationship that you have built.

Keep room for improvement

It’s always rewarding to receive positive reviews from clients which you can share on your website to build a great image in the fishing charter business. You might get your share of negative reviews but don’t let those opinions discourage you; instead, think of them as constructive criticisms and use them to further improve your business and satisfy more customers.

Advantage of Online vs. Offline Bookings

online-vs-offline-bookings

Tourism is one of the fastest growing industries today with the Internet playing an important part of its rapid growth. The internet has changed tourists’ behavior and as a result, the booking process is longer than before. People are comparing prices online, asking for advice through social media, or reading customer reviews before making an online reservation.

But despite the increasing reach of the internet, Americans still mostly book offline either through phone calls or going directly service provider’s physical location. But that will soon change. According to a recent study, the online channel is expected to account for 49% of all travel bookings in the US by 2020. Now is the time for tourism businesses, especially the charters and tours sectors, to embrace online reservation systems.

What are the benefits of online bookings vs. offline?

Having the option to book online presents numerous advantages that will benefit not only you, the business owner, but your customer as well.

Continue reading “Advantage of Online vs. Offline Bookings”

How can SEO help your water-sports company?

seo-watersports-company

No matter the industry your business is in, whether you operate a tour or a water park, today’s market is tougher than ever before. The internet has opened up so many possibilities but it also rendered almost every company vulnerable to fiercer competition. Failing to adapt to this changing times, at the very least, means losing a huge chunk of revenue.

One way your water sports business can get market penetration and gain an edge over your competitors is through greater online visibility. Today’s consumers are savvy and most will do an internet research first before availing any type of service. With excellent Search Engine Optimization or SEO, your company website can capture the attention of over 50% of online consumers.

But what exactly is SEO? You’ve heard of it, you’ve read about it in countless editorials, you may have seen all the whitepapers. In this article, we’ll look at how it is used as a marketing tool to help grow any business into an enterprise.

What exactly is SEO?

To most business owners, Search Engine Optimization is an enigma. SEO has that misunderstood reputation that caused even the savviest businessmen to devalue its importance. Boat captains may not even have heard of it. But to fully understand SEO, we have to go back to its roots.

Continue reading “How can SEO help your water-sports company?”