If you’re like most avid anglers (and if you’re reading this I’m guessing you are) you probably spend a good portion of each day dreaming about your next adventure. You know the feeling. You’re in your office at your desk…or in the car on the drive home…or laying in bed at the end of the day, and you’re no longer present. You’ve drifted off to a far away flat with tailing bonefish within casting range, or a nameless creek with brown trout sipping caddisflies from the water’s surface.
Sometimes you envision yourself on your local waters, chasing, catching & releasing the fish you’ve become so familiar with – but often you’re transported to a destination and fishery you’ve only dreamed of experiencing. It could be a photo in the latest issue of “The Drake“, your Instagram feed or flipping through the channels and seeing a re-run of “Walker’s Cay Chronicles”…whatever your inspiration – you know the feeling and you’re not alone.
This scenario plays out in the minds of adventure-seeking anglers around the globe multiple times a day, every day. And these dreams often turn into action, when the angler decides to take things a step further and starts researching the exotic species or destinations they’ve seen in their Insta feed.
Many times it begins with a Google search, maybe something like “tarpon fishing belize” or “fly fishing in montana” or “wyoming fishing lodges”. What that angler finds will ultimately shape the decisions they make as they progress through the 5 stages of the traveler buying cycle – Dreaming, Planning, Booking, Experiencing & Reflection.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the role your fishing lodge’s website plays in the “dreaming stage” of the buying cycle and more importantly how it can influence the traveler’s final decision!
Be There – Your Fishing Lodge Must be Found in Search
During the dreaming stage, travelers are taking inspiration from any number of channels including your website. But in order for your website to provide that inspiration, it must be found when the traveler performs a search at Google (or Bing/Yahoo).
Your fishing lodge’s website being found through organic Google searches is a matter of both content strategy and search engine optimization (SEO). The first phase of which is performing keyword research in order to understand what anglers might be searching for and directly relates to your fishing lodge’s offerings.
For instance, not only should your website show up in organic search results for the name of your lodge but also for searches relating to:
- Your fishing lodge’s destination
- Fish species your lodge is known for
- Best times of year for target species
- Specific techniques (ex: fly fishing) your lodge specializes in
- Your fishing lodge’s accommodations, amenities & dining options
- Anything additional that makes your lodge a standout (for instance being family-friendly)
Having a strategy implemented into your website for SEO is key to being found and considered, among other choices and competitors, when dreamers are researching options for their fishing trip. If your fishing lodge is not among the search results, it’s simply a missed opportunity.
Provide a Great Mobile Experience for Traveling Anglers
With over 60% (source: Think With Google) of destination related searches being performed on mobile devices, your fishing lodge’s website has got to be designed responsively (mobile-friendly). If it’s not already, we should talk sooner than later.
The greatest benefit for having a mobile-friendly website for your fishing lodge is the experience your site visitors receive. They’ll have a better overall visit to your website, be able to better get a feel for your offering and build trust and confidence in your brand – knowing that your lodge is concerned with having an up-to-date, polished brand presentation.
Just like the first impression you and your staff want to make on check-in day, the first time a traveler visits your website (whether on desktop or mobile device) your lodge has to grab their attention and leave a lasting, positive impression.
In addition, by having a responsively built website for your fishing lodge you’ll reap additional SEO benefits. When a user performs their search from a mobile device, Google shows preference for responsively built websites. So, if your site is not mobile-friendly you’re likely not placing nearly as well as you could be in mobile search results.
Inspire Site Visitors with Stunning Photography & Video
Enough can’t be said about the visual experience your fishing lodge’s website creates for visitors. Through the use of quality photography and video, your site should grab the traveler’s attention and show them what a week at your lodge might be like. After all, you have a gorgeous lodge in a stunning location with world-class fishing…that’s the picture you want to paint for anglers visiting your website!
Far too often, I visit fishing lodge websites and the visuals are lackluster at best. In fact, after visiting upwards of 300 fishing lodge websites – I’d be willing to say that less than 20% of those sites include the quality of visuals & media it takes to leave a lasting, positive impression.
Here’s the thing – travelers who are dreaming of that bucket list fishing trip are looking to immerse themselves in the angling experience you help create. And that’s a very visceral thing that the pages of your website should demonstrate to them…visually. And the best way to make this happen is by showcasing stunning photography of your location, your lodge, your staff, food…and of course the fishing.
And while the importance of great photography can’t be denied, keep in mind that video is just as, if not more powerful. Having great video content, which highlights everything your lodge and the fishing has to offer can be a game changer for immersing your website’s visitors in the experiences you provide.
Your Fishing Lodge’s Website Design Matters
Just as your website’s photography and video content helps to inspire visitors, your site’s design should compliment the overall experience you offer. Not only does the design of your website help to set the tone for your lodge, it also effects how your audience perceives your brand.
By ensuring that you make a positive impression on your site visitors, you’re helping them choose to either remain on your website and learn more about your fishing lodge or leave and turn to a competitor instead. Simply, good website design helps your lodge retain leads from the very early stages all the way through planning and booking a trip.
Consider that 75% of users admit to making judgements about a company’s credibility based on their website’s design (source: Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab).
If over two thirds of your website visitors are passing judgment about your entire business’ credibility based on its design alone (this btw includes its photography & video assets) – it certainly seems worth the investment to do it right and ensure that your website is:
- Aesthetically well-designed
- Inspiring and captivating
- Responsive (mobile-friendly)
- Consistent with and supports your lodge’s overall brand
- Attractive, educates and engages visitors in a strategic way
- Inspires travelers to act and then assists with planning and booking
Having the right website for your fishing lodge should attract those anglers dreaming of landing that tailing bonefish or tricking that rising trout. And once their at your site, provide them with a positive, inspiring experience that sets your lodge and destination apart from other choices. You want to be memorable, so when it comes time to plan and book you won’t be forgotten.
If you have a feeling your fishing lodge’s website could be attracting more dreaming anglers and generating more leads, let’s chat. We’ve developed a program specifically for marketing fishing lodges and improving their websites that we’d love to share with you!
Reach out to us or call to schedule a free consultation and demo.