How to Get More Bookings This Holiday Season

Things move quickly in the leisure business.

With the summer gone, it’s already time to think about Christmas and New Year.

However, for many tours and activities, the holidays are known as “low season”.

But they don’t have to be.

That’s when people create some of their most memorable experiences. And while Christmas is not all about gifts, that’s also when people spend more than any other time of the year.

This is why you need to be ready for the holiday season and face it with confidence.

To help optimize your business for the winter months, we’ve prepared this article with the key things to keep in mind for boosting your holiday sales.

We’ve also included a free infographic at the end with some of the steps you can take to get ready for Christmas and New Year. This way, you get a handy “cheat sheet” to keep as a reference for yourself and your team during the holidays.

Ready? Let’s dive in.

Start with your target market

As with all marketing campaigns, you need to decide who exactly you want to attract before doing anything else. Knowing this will help you make the right decisions later on.

Your target market will depend on the context of your business. Your location, competitors, and resources can all impact your decision here.

If your customer base is mainly tourists during the summer months, perhaps it’s time to think about your local audience.

Schools, universities, and businesses are just some of the options you might consider. After all, many organizations will look for fun things to do throughout the holidays. But more on this later.

Tours and activities as a gift

People increasingly value experiences over “things”.

And that’s good news if you’re a tour or activity provider.

You can create Christmas gift vouchers so customers can buy them as presents for their friends and family.

This is a good idea throughout the whole year and you may be doing it already. However, during times like Christmas and New Year, consider featuring your gift voucher offers in a more prominent place.

Ideally, this should be near the top of your website’s Home and Offers pages. In addition, consider cross-selling gift vouchers at checkout. This adds a lot of value to your business and customers, considering it’s the most relevant time of the year for gift offers.

Of course, your website is not the only place where you can promote gift vouchers.

Think about the places where locals search for gift ideas and try to get your offers there. Platforms like Groupon, mydays, and Geschenkidee come to mind here. The top online travel agencies are also a good place to list your tours with (if you’re not there already).

Also, make sure to promote your gift vouchers on Facebook and other places where you have an online presence.

Finally, send off an email with gift ideas to your existing customers, including a selection of your best offers.

Pro tip: Personalize your gift vouchers

With so many options to choose from, sometimes it can be hard to find the right gift. But what exactly makes a gift “right”?

Many people will agree it’s the thought which counts the most. A personalized gift, which comes from the heart, is always a good one.

This holiday season, you can make your gift vouchers feel special by giving your customers the opportunity to include a personal note with each gift voucher.

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Control demand with holiday add-ons and promotions

Winter is considered the low season for many tours and activities.

While you should avoid competing on price, the holidays are a good time to introduce discounts and multi-buy promotions (e.g. “buy 2, get 1 free”). This way, you can entice people to buy early and fill up extra capacity.

demand curve

A typical demand curve, showing how the quantity of goods and services demanded changes as the price is increased or decreased.

This tactic is especially useful when you have high fixed costs and every extra customer brings you pure profit.

On the other hand, if winter is your busiest time of the year, consider premium pricing by offering add-ons to your existing tours or activities. Including lunch, professional photos or merchandise are all examples of popular add-ons.

The important thing here is to make it clear that it’s a special offer during the holidays. Don’t just suddenly change your price, leaving people to wonder why they’ve spent more or less earlier in the year.

Case study: Specialize your offers with bundling

Certain offers simply sell better than others. With bundles, you can combine your products into one deal to boost sales for both during the slower months.

For example, you can choose a best seller and combine it with a less popular offer at a discounted price.

SimFlug München created a bundle offer using this tactic and increased the sales of a lower performing product by 30% within the first week of the offer going live.

SimFlug München Bundle Offers

Now, SFM’s customers are able to experience an all-time-favorite flight simulation with the U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon and discover the German Messerschmitt me 109 for a fraction of the price.



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Staff parties

Traditionally, corporate staff parties are also held just before the Christmas holidays.

The people who are in charge of organizing will look for something different to top previous years. Why not spice things up with a tour or activity in addition to the obligatory Christmas dinner?

If possible, make sure you have your group packages optimized for teambuilding sessions and fun corporate activities.

The good thing here is that businesses are not as price-sensitive compared to consumers. So you can add some extra value, like free drinks or merchandise, and charge a higher price.

Think about the ideal type of company that would visit your site – the team size, their industry, age and how they would have fun. Then, tailor some of your offers to these customers and promote them on your website, social media and even consider sending off some flyers to different offices.

Simplify your checkout process

The holiday season is a busy one for shoppers. Juggling work, family, and friends is hard enough during the holidays, so why not make your customers’ shopping experience as easy as possible?

According to Annex Cloud, cart abandonment rates in the travel sector are sitting at over 80% – the highest after the finance and non-profit sectors. In addition, 27% of visitors abandoned carts due to a confusing checkout process.

You can reduce the possibility of abandoned carts by simplifying the shopping process. For example, you can give your site visitors the option to buy in a lightbox without directing them to another window or create an account.

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Prizes and giveaways

Giveaways are a great way to generate some buzz during the holiday season. These short campaigns encourage engagement on social media platforms by offering a prize to one or multiple winners.

For example, you can provide a free tour to one of the people who shared your giveaway before Christmas day.

Or maybe offer a free pass for your activity to 3 people who left a comment under your giveaway.

If you decide to organize a giveaway, make sure it’s relevant to your customers and treat the winners like royalty. The crucial part is to make it interesting and promote it heavily.

You can read more about organizing a successful social media giveaway in this article by Jeff Bullas.

Don’t forget the decorations

I’ll be honest with you – decorations are not what’s going to move the needle when it comes to boosting your holiday sales.

But they can go a long way in creating a nice environment for your staff, customers, and yourself. And, of course, happy employees and customers are a very good thing for business.

If you have some free space, get a Christmas tree and some decorations to get the holiday mood on.

And there’s one more good thing about decorations…

It’s photo time!

Well, we know that videos and images are kind of a big deal on the internet. In fact, an estimated 1.2 trillion photos were taken in 2017 alone.

And the holiday season is great to stack up on some funny photos and upload them online.

Whether it’s with customers, employees or just that nice Christmas tree you got, this can be great material for your jobs page and social media accounts.

So get your phone or camera out and have some fun with it!


Whether it’s the busiest or the quietest time of the year for you, the holiday season offers many opportunities for boosting your sales.

The important thing is to approach the season deliberately and know who exactly you want to attract as a customer.

This can be your normal target group but it can also be a new subset of customers. Make sure to research your market and tailor your holiday offers to the right people.

Once you’re clear on the basics, it’s time to explore the tools for boosting your holiday sales such as gift vouchers, promotions, and giveaways.

Whether you’re targeting businesses or consumers, make sure to highlight your new offers in the right places on your website and marketing materials.

Finally, get the holiday mood on with some decorations and photos. That’s a sure way to brighten up the day for your staff, customers, and yourself.

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