The holiday travel season is arriving! A time to stay with family and friends, go shopping, and, of course, travel. For tour operators, it is a warm-up for the next year’s high season, also, a great opportunity to touch base with past clients and, why not, boost profits with last-minute bookings.
This year the travel industry has even more reasons to celebrate the holidays. After two years of restrictions, travelers have pent-up demand for holiday travel. As a result, prices for flights, hotel rooms and other tourist-related services are expected to be at the highest.
To help you boost your profits, we bring 5 tips for tour operators to make the most of this holiday season.
Economists with expertise in travel are predicting this to be one of the busiest holiday travel seasons in more than five years. This is great news for an industry that was hit hard by the pandemic.
According to a US Travel Association report released in October, 32% of American travelers indicate leisure travel will be a high budget priority from November to January.
Looking at the departures for this Thanksgiving, the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA twitted that 54.6 million people are expected to travel, which will make it the third busiest since 2000.
In total, 113 million Americans should spend nearly $180 billion on travel expenses this holiday travel season, according to NerdWallet analysis.
On the other hand, prices have skyrocketed for travelers. Rates for hotel rooms and rental cars have jumped 12% and 46% respectively compared to 2019. Among the reasons for it, we have high demand, inflation and high fuel costs.
It’s not too late to put together an action plan for boosting your sales before the year ends.
Many travelers haven’t decided yet which experiences to book, and the huge majority of them will make a reservation only after arriving at their destination.
That gives you time to think of a product that will stand out among the competition and a marketing strategy to fill your empty seats.
The first step is to decide on which holiday you want to focus your efforts on, and the second is to follow the tips in this article.
The holiday travel season is a unique period. Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year dates carry a special meaning. So, why not embrace this feeling in your experiences?
For example, you can enhance the storytelling of your best-seller tours with the local Christmas lore. You can also make the overall travel experience more immersive by asking your staff to wear outfits depending on the holiday of your choice.
Be creative. If your city has a Christmas market, add it as a stop in your tour. During New Year’s Eve, bring your guests to a privileged site where they can appreciate the fireworks.
Don’t forget to offer special addons. A bottle of champagne for example is perfect to make your New Year’s Eve tour a memorable experience for your guests.
As the end of the year approaches, people start to search for holiday-specific information on the internet. That could be the event schedule for Christmas or the best places to celebrate New Year’s Eve at your destination.
Never mind, a fast research on Google Trends will give you a clearer idea of what your target customers are searching for online. Use this information to add relevant content to your blog and social media.
If you don’t know how to use Google Trends, don’t worry. We have a guide That teaches all you need to know about this tool.
Don’t forget to use amazing visuals and a CTA inviting your audience to meet your tours for this holiday travel season.
According to Google data, 48% of experience bookings happen once travelers arrive at their destination. And during this holiday travel season operators can expect a wave of last-minute bookings.
How to get ready for them? Well, first things first. Once travelers land at their destination they will start looking online for things to do. But where? On Google of course.
An up-to-date Google My Business profile is very important if you want to drive direct bookings from people close to your business location. Follow this guide to set up yours.
If you have a great website, alternatively you can run paid ads on platforms such as Google and Meta. This type of marketing strategy allows you to target very specific audiences. You can even set up a radius around where your ads will be displayed. For instance, 20 miles around your business headquarters.
Have you tried Google Local Campaign before? This type of ad puts your business on top of the Google map pack for local searches. 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. Images are great marketing material. Using Facebook Ads you can create a campaign targeting only the people who have interacted with your brand for example.
This is called remarketing and has great potential to drive sales at a fair cost.
Email marketing is still one of the best channels for reaching potential and past customers. Take advantage of the holiday travel season to activate your email contacts and leads with a special offer.
Just have in mind that the success of your promotion depends on its level of segmentation. In other words, you should have a discount strategy 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 promotion. That creates a sense of urgency which leverages the success of your campaign.
If you don’t want to lower your prices, no problem. You can still reach your email contacts with useful information, such as new blogs, a holiday message, fun facts about your destination, or simply inviting them to book one of your tours.
If you see positive results with these actions maybe it’s time to start a monthly or weekly newsletter. Lead nurturing has proven to be a powerful strategy for increasing sales in travel.
Would you believe me if I tell you that you can monetize the holiday travel season all year long? This is possible if you create a virtual product based on your tours.
At this point you must have heard of virtual tours and live-stream tours. These are not-so-new technologies that helped people experience travel during two years of restrictions.
This new concept was so popular that OTAs such as Airbnb and Viator opened a new category on their website just for this type of product.
If you are investing your time and money in creating a memorable tour for the end of this year, why not record or live-stream it and sell the final result in one of these marketplaces?
If you agree with me, here is an article with a list of all gear you need to create your first virtual product.
The holiday travel season is just around the corner. Time to roll up your sleeves and start working on a strategy to make it profitable for your business.
In this article we gave you 5 tips that can help with that:
The icing on the cake to boost your profits is having a website ready to receive direct bookings. If you lack this integration, Orioly is the right solution for you.
Start online direct sales and find out how to set up your account with Orioly here.
If you are overwhelmed by implementing an online booking solution, don’t worry, our support team is ready to assist you with that.
on November 23, 2022
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