The Golden Opportunity of Exact Match Domains for Tour Operators

Hey there, tour operators and travel industry enthusiasts! 🌍

Today, we’re diving into a topic that has many people scratching their heads: Should you change your brand or domain name, and if so, how should you go about it?

We recently had a customer who posed an interesting question: she was contemplating changing her domain name because it no longer represented the scope of her tour services. The customer was struggling to make a decision without adequate research and data to back it up. And that’s when we stumbled upon a strategy that works like a charm in our industry: Exact Match Domains (EMDs).

What Are Exact Match Domains?

So, what’s an Exact Match Domain, you ask? Well, it’s pretty much what it sounds like—a domain name that exactly matches the keyword you’re trying to target. For example, if you run a plumbing business in New York City, an exact match domain would be

In the good ol’ days, owning an EMD was like holding a golden ticket to the first page of Google. Whether you were in the credit card business or offered plumbing services, owning a domain like or was a game-changer. However, Google switched gears around 8 or 9 years ago, emphasizing brand relevance over exact keyword matches.

The Exception to the Rule

Now, here’s where things get interesting: while EMDs have lost their charm in most industries, they’re still extremely effective in the travel and tour operator sector.

For instance, let’s consider the search query “Ashville Brewery Tours.” After the ads, what’s the first organic result? You guessed it—

That’s an EMD in action. And it doesn’t stop there; the same EMD also tops the Maps Pack list.

Why Does This Strategy Work?

So, why is the tour and travel industry still reaping the benefits of EMDs? It’s likely because many travel brands are small and localized. Google can’t rank them on brand reputation alone because, frankly, many of these brands don’t have widespread recognition.

For example, if you’re in a medium-sized or small market teeming with small to medium-sized players, an EMD can still give you that sought-after edge. Just run a quick search for “Bolder Bike Tours,” and the top organic and Maps Pack result is—surprise, surprise—

Data-Driven Decisions

But here’s the catch: don’t rush into grabbing any domain that sounds good. Make sure to back your decision with solid data. Utilize keyword research tools, many of which are freely available, to identify a keyword that has medium to low difficulty and a significant search volume. For instance, ZionATVTours might get 200 searches a month while ZionUTVTours receives just 100. Guess which one you should go for?

Let’s Get Practical

In order to truly harness the power of EMDs, make sure to align your Google business listing and any online reviews with your domain name. If your business is called “Boat Trips Are Us,” but your keyword is “Key West Boat Trips,” Google will notice the inconsistency, and your strategy will fall flat. So, keep it all cohesive.

The Longevity of this Strategy

Is this method future-proof? Not entirely. Google’s algorithms are ever-changing, and AI plays an increasingly significant role in search results. However, as of now, this strategy is golden, especially for small and medium-sized markets. Plus, it has been effective for years and shows no immediate signs of fading away.

In Conclusion

Who knew “boring” could be so profitable? In an age where catchy and quirky names often catch our attention, sometimes it pays to be straightforward. So if you’re contemplating a brand or domain name change, remember, in our industry, boring is good. Boring makes you money.

Happy touring, everyone! 🚌✈️🛳

P.S. Don’t leave money on the table; get those reviews in to boost your EMD strategy even further!

Bye for now! 👋

Vitaliy is the founder and CEO of Gondola. After several years of running his own whale watching and sailing charter operation in Spain, he discovered that the tours & activities industry was missing a simple way to build a powerful website that actually works.