The holiday season is finally here! And not only retail is celebrating it, but travel companies have been waiting for it since the beginning of the pandemic.
The reason is simple, more travelers are vaccinated and countries are finally reopening borders to international arrivals.
That is the perfect scenario for the so-called revenge travel. After almost two years, travelers can finally enjoy a leisure trip. For tour operators, this pent-up demand represents a higher ticket per customer and a great opportunity to make a profit after a long downturn.
To help you boost your revenue for the end of this year, we bring five tips for tour operators to make the most of this holiday season.
Before heading to the tips, it’s important to understand the industry’s big picture.
In short, travel is recovering. Slowly, but surely.
According to Sojern, travel planning in the US has returned to pre-pandemic levels. That comes along with the announcement of ease in travel restrictions for vaccinated travelers worldwide by the US government.
Also, compared to previous years, Americans are up to staying longer in a destination during the holiday season. Most of it is explained by the popularization of remote working.
A recent UNWTO report shows that arrivals this year are slightly higher compared to 2020. Another highlight of this report is the gradual improvement in the receipts and expenditure due to a significant increase in tourism spending per trip. This is due mostly because of travelers’ large savings and longer stays.
All these factors together could leverage the revenue from international tourism to US$ 800 billion in 2021. In general, travel numbers are getting better according to this UNWTO report.
If you think it is too late to prepare your business for Christmas and New Year, think twice. Have you heard of last-minute bookings?
That means travelers are waiting to book just a few days or hours before a trip or experience. This is a direct consequence of the uncertainty caused by the pandemic.
Anyway, all is not lost, you can still receive a relevant number of bookings by the end of this year. Just follow these tips we have prepared for you.
As the end of the year approaches, people start to look for holiday-specific information on the internet. That could be the schedule for events during Christmas or the best places to celebrate New Year’s Eve in town.
Before writing a relevant piece of content, I recommend you to do fast research on Google Trends. There you can have an overview of what searches are trending related to a certain topic for the location you choose.
Ok, so you just wrote an interesting holiday-themed blog, now what? Repurpose it into posts for your social media.
This way you can share the blog’s link to drive traffic from Instagram or Facebook to your website. Don’t forget to use amazing visuals to call your audience’s attention and a call-to-action inviting them to read your piece of content.
This time of the year is special, you can’t deny it. So why not design an experience that entices this feeling?
People want to live something memorable. For that purpose, use the local lore about Christmas in your storytelling, and, why not, dress your staff with outfits to make the experience even more immersive.
Be creative. If you are selling walking tours you can bring people to see the holiday lights and the city decoration. During New Year’s Eve, you can plan a visit to a place where guests can appreciate the fireworks.
Also, consider enhancing your tour with addons. Adding a bottle of champagne as an extra can make all the difference during New Year’s Eve.
If you put effort into creating a tailored tour, don’t limit it to offline. Record and share it as a virtual experience for your audience.
Pay-per-click campaigns are a good alternative to boost bookings during the holiday season. Facebook Ads and Google Ads allow you to target very specific audiences, which is great to reach locals and travelers that are already at your destination.
I would recommend you create a Google Local Campaign. This type of ad puts your business on top of the Google map pack for a local search. That is the best place to be when you have people searching for things to do at your location.
Another option is running a display campaign on Instagram or Facebook. Visuals are always a great marketing tool. You can create a campaign targeting only the people who have interacted with your brand for example.
This is called remarketing and has a great potential to drive sales for a fair cost.
Customers are expecting promotions during this period of the year and a discount coupon can be the trigger for a planned purchase. This is the final touch to the strategies mentioned above and the difference between receiving a booking or not.
Create different promotions depending on your target customer. You can have a special promotion for past guests, another for locals and one for tourists. You can also invest in special group prices or discounts for couples and children.
Regardless of your strategy, always add an end date to your coupons. That will create a sense of urgency that leverages the success of your campaign.
In case you need more information about how to create a discount strategy, we have an article on this topic that might be helpful.
Pro tip: Make sure your booking software has a discount coupon feature with the option to personalize values and dates. If you are in need of such a system, try Orioly and see how simple is to create a coupon within the app.
Email is still one of the best marketing channels for reaching leads and past customers.
Take advantage of this holiday season to nurture your contacts. Send them blog articles, promote seasonal offers and share your COVID-19 policy.
How about sending an end-of-year newsletter? Get inspired by the energy of this season to start a monthly or even weekly newsletter and keep your brand top of mind.
Offering a newsletter subscription also helps you in building a relevant email list for your business.
The end of the year is just around the corner, roll up your sleeves and start working on a strategy to grab those last-minute bookings.
Some of the tips presented in this article may demand more effort, but others, like creating a discount coupon and running a remarketing paid campaign, can be done right now and will help you boost your results.
The icing on the cake to make the most of this holiday season is having a website ready to receive direct bookings. If you lack this integration, Orioly might be the right solution for you.
We offer a 14-day trial that is more than enough for you to set up your account and start with online direct sales. If you are overwhelmed by implementing an online booking solution, don’t worry, we have a support team ready to assist you with that.
We hope this article was useful, and if you want to continue learning more best practices for tour operators, don’t forget to take a look at our blog.
on December 8, 2021
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