Latest posts by Barbara Črgar (see all)
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- Nomination for the Prestigious “Zlatna Kuna” Award - November 10, 2017
If you haven’t yet, now it’s the time to embrace the digital revolution. Raising awareness among customers is done through online media channels. Let us break it down for you with top marketing tips for tour business.
Today, sharing travel experiences is a lot more sophisticated than old paper guidebooks we could only buy in bookstores some twenty years ago. Digital marketing is so dynamic and it keeps on changing so fast. If you can’t keep up with the pace you risk to be left behind.
By focusing on the right digital practices, tour operators can create a long-term value. So, what to do?
In this blog post, we’ll dive into the top marketing ideas for tour business and cover all relevant categories.
9 Top Marketing tips for tour business, you need to know
1. Content Is and Will Be The King
Content is a top priority for a good reason. Quality content will bring you a lot of natural backlinks. Your goal should be building out great content (like infographics, videos, authentic photos, written travel advices in an easy to read format like checklists). Then, pitching them to relevant sites that display them.
Ask yourself “What can I offer to my customers?”. Serve your customers first, and your other tour business goals, second.
Write articles, create visual content (images, videos) that give value, build trust and hold people’s attention. That way customers will keep returning for more useful content. They can share it on social media and raise awareness.
Top marketing tips for tour business content in 2017 include ephemeral or disappearing, visual content.
What’s that you wonder?
Ephemeral means “lasting for a very short time”. Ephemeral marketing defines the content or messages that are visible for a limited period after which they disappear.
Snapchat started this trend. Other social media networks like Instagram have embraced this new way of promotion. We’re not suggesting that you abandon professional photography and marketing video production. But, ephemeral content on Snapchat and Instagram is a great way to showcase the “behind the scenes” of your tour business. Customers will face authentic, unscripted and unpolished content.
Content marketing ideas for tour business for ephemeral stories include:
- Behind-the-scenes tour
- Contests and giveaways
- Interviews with travelers or tour operators
- Live events
- Daily or weekly video series
Also, increase your online presence by using multiple content formats. Create infographic, video, webinars, podcast, that will generate more leads.
2. Strong Presence on Social Media
First of all, you’ll want to consider where your customers already spend time on social media. Try to connect with them on those networks. Remember, with social media, everyone is a potential ambassador of the tour business.
Marketing tips for tour business include a new trend – messaging apps. Why are messaging apps a new trend?
Messaging apps such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Viber, and WeChat are used by 4 billion users worldwide. Thus, here is an opportunity for tour operators to use messaging apps to communicate one-on-one with customers. These apps provide a faster and easier way for customers to get the support they need.
Helpful Online Services to Promote Tours and Activities
Also, there are great online services to promote your tours and drive more fans to your website to make an online booking.
Orioly online booking software enables you to add your social media accounts (Facebook and Twitter) on it. Then, you can schedule posts and tweets for future publication. You can include “Book now” button into your social posts.
3. Online Marketing Automation
Online marketing automation for tour and activity providers are extremely effective. It comes as a feature in state-of-the-art online tour booking systems. Also, they make the whole procedure for online marketing automatic. All that you need to do is set up the information you want to promote. Push a button and you will be amazed how the rest works out. Orioly users do it by connecting their social media accounts with a promotional feature of the app. This way, they save time and money!
4. E-mail Marketing for Tour Business
Don’t underestimate the power of e-mail marketing. Almost, 33% of the population of the world use email to communicate. From a marketing standpoint, that means email can be an invaluable tool for connecting with your customers. As a result, right shaped e-mail campaigns can generate an impressive number of leads (around 25% of Black Friday sales in 2015 were through email). Here are several email marketing ideas tour and activity providers should follow:
- Send an email without a purpose in mind
- Apply automation software
- Personalize Your Emails
- Ensure your emails are easier to read on mobile devices
- Track your emails and check progress
5. Learn How to Profit from the Negative Reviews
You cannot expect that all of your customers are always going to be satisfied. Hiding negative reviews isn’t going to help, either. In fact, it’s more likely to hurt. You have to learn how to handle them effectively. And would help you attract more positive reviews. Your customers will see how important their opinion and feelings are to you.
The best approach is to turn the negative comment around. Sometimes you can just apologize sincerely and then highlight what you do right! It’s the human thing to do.
You might think that negative reviews are bad for your tour company, but they’re not.
Negative reviews give more value to the good reviews. As long as there aren’t too many of them. Anything you post publicly that shows a visitor that you take care of your customers improves your online image.
Responding to customer comments shows that you genuinely value their feedback. And that you stand behind your statement to provide the best, most enjoyable experience.
Embracing reviews – positive and negative – helps you make your tour business and service even better. You get to know exactly what to work on!
Remember, your best judges are your customers! So, take their feedback with an open mind to improve your tour and attract more good attention down the road.
6. Live Streaming Video
You need to jump on the “live stream video” bandwagon if you haven’t yet. One reason why live streaming video is huge is that customers can engage with your streams. So, looking ahead to 2018, streaming a video will be a preferred tactic in marketing, influence, and connectivity. A good enough reason to keep up to date with video trends. As video dominates Facebook user’s News Feed, live video is the best way to stand out from the crowd right now. So, the question you need to ask yourself, is, how can you put this effective marketing asset to work for tour business?
Here are five creative marketing ideas you can use live-streaming for:
- Introducing a new tour and activity
- Live-stream for customer service issues
- Real-time feedback on the new tour and activity you introduced
- Connecting with influencers or other tour operators
- Behind the scenes shots of a new tour and activity preparation!
7. Virtual Reality & Augmented Reality
Augmented and virtual reality finds its way into marketing. The future of using the virtual and augmented reality as a marketing tool is now.
Want to know where can you apply VR/AR in tour business?
Inspire your customers by showing them new tours and activities you created or new destinations you can take them to.
Furthermore, this technology takes you on virtual journeys. And, it is a powerful selling tool most of all because it is visual. Travelers are always seeking for new experiences and with VR/AR, we are entering a new era of content. Tour operators who put in place VR/AR strategy will stand out.
8. Mobile Optimization
Google has started testing its mobile-first index. What that this means for a tour business?
Mobile bookings in travel have grown by 1700% between 2011 and 2015, moving from 1% to 18% of online revenues. Also, 31% of consumers will search their next trip from a mobile device.
So, if you have been slow in joining the mobile revolution, now is the time to make some action.
Having a responsive site is not enough.
Though, “mobile optimization” sounds like a broken record, repeated by everyone, here are a few steps to get started:
- Set up your mobile web analytics software of choice – you can use Google Analytics, Zarget, or similar analytics software.
- Conduct qualitative and quantitative research to better understand the behavior of mobile customers – pay close attention to the mobile customer’s behavior on Google Analytics, the pages they view, the devices used, their bounce rate, conversion rate, search terms and the funnel they go through.
- Focus on the messaging, calls to action and chrome on your website – customers want to be able to make a booking with one hand while they’re talking with their Uber driver or shopping for groceries with another. If your call-to-action is too small, customers will struggle to click to call-to-action button with their thumbs. And if it is not a verb suggesting an action your customer should take, your CTA won’t work either.
- Test your mobile site from a UX perspective and design a custom mobile conversion funnel – make your site easy to navigate, with large buttons, concise copy, visible search function, condensed navigation, etc.
Every detail matters and any optimization made for the mobile customer’s mindset can increase conversions dramatically.
9. Offer Influencers a Free Tour
Influencer marketing is a type of marketing that focuses on using key thought leaders (bloggers, celebrities, athletes locally or regionally followed by people) to drive your brand’s message to the larger market. These people are ‘influencers’ because they have the power to influence other people’s choices and behavior. Such as, make them see how amazing your tours or activities are. If a large group of people that admire your influencer sees him or her enjoying your tours and activities, many of them will copy this behavior.
Rather than marketing directly to a large group of consumers, you instead inspire or pay influencers to get out the word about your tours and activities for you.
Last year influencer marketing has exploded. Why is that so? Bloggers and influencers have created a personal brand. They have an audience and people see them as thought leaders in a specific niche or market. Bloggers and influencers have something no one else does: people’s attention.
That’s what you want, right? More people noticing your tour business.
Well, you need someone to bla-bla around about your tour business 🙂 That’s what a good blogger or influencer can do for you.
Lately, the focus shifts from bloggers and influencers with a large number of followers to micro-influencers.
Connecting with influencers
Tour and activity providers should, thus, connect with a good micro-influencer who has the attention of your desired group of customers.
Smaller niche with a smaller number of followers allows the blogger to respond quickly to followers needs. For tour operators that is the way to go.
- Find micro-influencers in the travel industry you can connect with.
- Invite them for a free tour or activity you organize and to write about their experience afterward.
- Make a deal offering him or her a free tour you want to promote.
In return, a few thousands of their admirers, readers or followers will hear about your awesome tour or activity.
Keep in mind, that with a successful marketing strategy your tour business will raise awareness, attract new customers and finally sell more tours.
Hope you find this 9 marketing tips for tour business useful. Also, we would like to hear from you, what are the biggest struggles tour operators have about online marketing?
If you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact us or share it right here! We’ll be happy to hear your thoughts 🙂
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