There are many ways to promote a tour company.
Some of them are cheap and easy to implement, while others can be costly.
Luckily, there are also many options to promote a tour company for free.
In this post, we’re going to look at the top digital platforms to drive traffic, engagement, and sales for your tour company – without spending a dime.
There will be no big surprises on this list. The goal here is to check if you’re making the most of your online presence and using each platform to its maximum potential.
Ready? Let’s go.
Internet marketing for tour operators
Before we dive in, let’s briefly recap the benefits of using internet marketing for tour operators.
The biggest factor here is consumer behavior. We know internet usage is consistently increasing while young people tend to book travel almost exclusively online. So it makes sense to optimize your sales and marketing for the way people research and buy nowadays.
Aside from this factor, there are other benefits of internet marketing for tour operators that are not as obvious:
- It’s easier to calculate ROI: web analytics let you track where your customers are coming from and which channels work best.
- You can reach more people at a lower cost: when compared to traditional advertising, online ads are as much as 6 times cheaper so you can get in front of potential customers for less.
- Efficient communication channels: with tools like Facebook and WhatsApp you can provide world-class service and connect with customers 24/7.
- It’s easier to convey your messages and offers: your website, images, and video content all make it easier to convey that compelling offer you want to make and excite people about your tours.
With that in mind, what are the specific online channels you should use to reach your customers on a reasonable budget and without going nuts?
The new TripAdvisor
You’re probably using TripAdvisor already but it’s worth mentioning now that they updated their website. The user experience has changed which means you might need to adapt.
In summary, here are some of the key updates:
- Travel feed – TripAdvisor users can now see a personalized feed with travel-related content from a variety of sources.
- Follow the experts – In addition to the user-generated reviews, certain travel experts and brands have been invited to share their tips with TripAdvisor users. People can now follow these experts for inspiration about their next trip.
- Follow your friends – As with most social networks, you can now follow your friends and get updates on their activity.
The new TripAdvisor feed.
Of course, you still need a consistent inflow of positive reviews to rank high on TripAdvisor.
Collect reviews on Yelp
While Yelp is not as popular in the travel industry, it could still bring a lot of value for tour companies.
The site has a big authority and millions of people visit Yelp each month to get local business recommendations.
And it’s not all about restaurants too.
Virtually any type of business can create a free Yelp profile and get in front of the site’s users. Not only that, but you’ll also be more visible in search engine results because of it.
But undoubtedly the biggest use case for Yelp is collecting reviews. If we run a quick search for tours in Paris, you’ll see a good deal of results with dozens or even hundreds of reviews.
That’s a good opportunity to collect feedback from customers and reach an audience that you otherwise wouldn’t have access to.
Facebook – the Swiss army knife of tour marketing
Well, Facebook is still one of the biggest names around and we can’t ignore it here.
You can do plenty of things with Facebook. In fact, its biggest strength is probably how universal it is.
From reviews to promotions and even sales, you can use Facebook to your advantage in many ways.
But it’s not just the features.
Facebook has a universal appeal and its user base is practically everyone. This is why your customers are likely on the platform – and why you’re there too (well, at least I hope you are).
While advertising on Facebook is a big deal right now, one of the best ways to utilize the platform is by providing customer service.
Messaging, reviews, and comments are all convenient communication tools – for you and your customers. If you keep your customers happy on the platform, it can become one of your biggest sources of free marketing and referrals, second only to TripAdvisor.
And of course, let’s not forget the direct commercial benefits of Facebook. More than 800 million people use the platform to buy and sell products… every month.
Regiondo customers can integrate a complete ticket shop with Facebook so people can book tours directly on your page.
Research your market with Quora
Quora is a question-and-answer site that has been around for several years but has generally focused on tech matters.
Over time, this changed. It’s now possible to position your company and brand as an expert in other areas.
With its capabilities that allow you to add images/photos, links, and rich-format text, it has become a good platform for travel and booking companies to market services to potential customers.
But the real advantage here is market research.
Millions of people visit Quora each month with questions they can’t find an easy answer to.
In fact, it’s many millions.
So while you can answer questions in your space and build more awareness for your tour, it’s a good idea to look at what people want to know about your city and use it to generate content ideas.
This approach can fuel your entire strategy across social media and your website – there is no shortage of questions on Quora. Here are just a few examples:
A quick search about tour companies already gives us some interesting questions to consider.
But even if you don’t use Quora for its advantages in market research, the site’s 670 million+ monthly visitors are a good indicator of its free marketing potential.
Use Instagram to store your photos and short videos
Instagram is a visual way to connect with your audience.
It’s one of the fastest-growing social networks and it’s dominated by millennials. If you target young people, Instagram is a great place to find them.
As images and videos are at the core of this platform, you can use it as a storage solution for all tour-related footage.
The content you put out is then easy to find and share across other places online.
Keep in mind that videos can be up to 30 seconds long. For longer footage, you’ll need something else…
Increase your reach with YouTube
As the second biggest social media platform after Facebook, people use YouTube for more than music and funny videos. It’s now a big influence on travel decisions as people use it to explore destinations.
In fact, travelers make up more than 100 million of YouTube’s unique visitors. In addition, “three in five travelers who watch online video use it to narrow down their brand, destination, or activity choices.”
Even though travel vlogs are the most viewed and most engaging type of travel videos, only 14% of vlogs on YouTube are created by brands.
This is an area with huge potential if you’re keen on using video to raise awareness for your tour and drive people to your website.
Similar to Instagram, Pinterest is also focused on the visual aspect of social networking.
And it’s for much more than recipes, crafts, and wish lists.
Today, Pinterest is a powerful marketing tool, especially for travel and tourism companies where the visual appeal of the destination is paramount.
Think of it as the new version of print brochures. Only you can “pin” it all over the world.
This is why tour companies like Rabbie’s can reach thousands of monthly viewers on Pinterest simply by uploading visual and inspiring content there.
With over 700 million website visits per month, there is good reason to consider focusing on that platform.
Having a solid presence online is a must for tour companies these days.
While each platform has its strengths, you need to focus on the ones your customers use.
If you’re targeting a broad audience, then Facebook could be the way to go.
Or if your customers are from a young demographic, consider Instagram as your focus.
And if you’d like to emphasize the visual elements of your tour, why not try Pinterest as your next big marketing channel?
Whichever platform you choose, make sure your decision is based on a sound understanding of your customers and try to avoid spreading your attention too thin.
You might also like:
- The Complete Guide to Online Advertising for Tour Operators
- 8 Underestimated Tactics for Successful Tour Marketing
- Marketing Mix for Tour and Activity Operators