What is Black Friday?
Looking to boost your bookings this holiday season? Keep an eye on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving in the United States. Originally associated with frenzied in-store shopping, Black Friday has evolved into a major retail event that has extended its influence into the tour and activity sector. In case you were wondering, the general consensus around the origins of the name has centered on businesses seeing a spike in sales that moves their financials from the red to the black. To put the magnitude of this phenomenon into perspective, a study by Adobe Analytics found that shoppers worldwide spent a staggering $9.12 billion on Black Friday in 2022, up 2.3% from the previous year.
How will Black Friday evolve this year?
Gone are the days when Black Friday was merely a spectacle of bustling crowds rushing into brick-and-mortar stores. The COVID-19 pandemic catalyzed a significant shift, driving consumers to Cyber Monday, a digital counterpart designed to encourage online shopping.
Today, Black Friday and Cyber Monday function as “bookends” to one of the most lucrative shopping weekends of the year, and together offer a golden opportunity to tap into the growing demand for online sales. For those in the tour and activity sector, the time has never been riper to take advantage of this digital trend and increase bookings.
What are customers looking for?
In the age of digital promotions, consumers are well aware of the plethora of savings available during the Black Friday to Cyber Monday continuum. From discounted hotel rates to attraction passes, the deals are vast and varied. The real challenge for those in the tour and activity industry isn’t just participating in the fray, but standing out. Crafting an offer that not only resonates with your target audience, but also rises above the cacophony of offerings from competing companies is the name of the game.
The key ingredients to creating a high-impact offer
Black Friday is more than just a shopping day; it’s an event that sets consumer expectations sky-high. Here’s how to meet and even exceed them.
Customer reviews: your secret weapon
A cornerstone of influencing buyer behavior-especially when it comes to time-sensitive offers-is the power of customer testimonials. When you delight your customers, don’t just bask in the glow; ask them for reviews. Also, address any complaints promptly so they don’t become roadblocks to future Black Friday promotions.
Strike the balance: price and availability
Creating an irresistible Black Friday offer is trickier than it sounds. You need to strike a balance between an enticing price and reasonable availability. Nothing irks a consumer more than a too-good-to-be-true deal that turns out to be unattainable because the calendar is a sea of red, blacked-out dates. Remember, the Covid years have built up a reservoir of pent-up demand. Shoppers aren’t just casually browsing; they’re using a full range of digital tactics to find the best deals.
Harness the power of FOMO
One of the most powerful psychological levers in the leisure industry is FOMO (fear of missing out), as it drives shoppers to constantly scour the web for information and pounce on the best deals. Note: Waiting until Black Friday to unveil your offer would be a rookie mistake. By then, you’ll be just another voice in a crowded marketplace. A smarter strategy is to build up gradually, carefully orchestrating the flow and pace of your communications. Positive word-of-mouth can amplify your message, helping you cut through the noise and get noticed.
Gearing up for Black Friday: A Tactical Approach
What began as a U.S.-centric retail bonanza has crossed borders, cultures and industries. Today, Black Friday is an international event, celebrated in its own way by a wide variety of businesses. For travel professionals, it’s a huge opportunity to generate some extra sales, and like all opportunities, it favors the prepared. Here are some battle-tested tips to add firepower to your marketing strategy.
1 – Teamwork makes the dream work
Before we dive into the nitty-gritty of deal-making and marketing buzz, there’s one thing to ensure: employee buy-in. Make sure your team knows what you’re up to and is committed to improving the customer experience during this crucial time. After all, a solid strategy is only as good as the people who execute it.
2 – Capitalize on the whole Black Friday weekend
Black Friday is no longer just a 24-hour adrenaline rush: now it’s a full weekend affair, with Cyber Monday rounding out the retail festivities. As a result, you need to create a strategic plan that takes advantage of this extended timeframe. Aim for a crescendo of interest, driven by an irresistible offer and an exemplary customer experience. The ultimate goal? Sustained, elevated traffic long after the last discount has been snapped up.
3 – Prepare and send your emails in advance
A great way to build excitement is to drip-feed an email campaign promoting your deals and slowly reveal what your Black Friday offer will be. For best results, plan ahead and arm yourself with a set of curated email templates. Target these messages with precision and you’ll see open rates skyrocket.
4 – Implement a countdown timer
When Black Friday comes around, a countdown is a trick that can help generate some interest and hopefully improve your conversion rates. This is how Game made their Black Friday offer even more persuasive with a countdown timer:
This element of urgency keeps your audience on your site and encourages frequent return visits. As the clock ticks down, the tension builds, making your time-limited offers even more irresistible.
5 – Use social media channels to spread your message
Companies often forget that social media is a two-way street. To encourage interactions between your brand and your customers, ditch the monologue approach of simply posting photos and praying for likes. Instead, engage in meaningful interactions with your audience. Follow the lead of Fjällräven, which uses Black Friday to highlight its brand values instead of just peddling discounts.
Social media channels are also very effective for advertising, whether you are trying to raise awareness, get followers to visit your website, or retarget those who have already done so. Also, don’t forget that the best way to expand your reach on these platforms is to use dedicated hashtags.
6 – Leverage partnerships to expand your offering
As shoppers search for the perfect holiday gift on Black Friday, seize the opportunity to offer something special: a packaged experience. We suggest partnering with local businesses to offer your customers a richer, more diverse set of experiences. It’s a classic win-win-win situation (yes, the third win is not a typo!): you simultaneously expand your business network, enrich your product line, and sell something your competitors can’t easily replicate.
7 – Sell direct via your website
Online booking has revolutionized the industry in recent years and should be an integral part of your Black Friday marketing campaign. With such a large portion of leisure travel and activities now researched and booked via the Internet, especially during the Black Friday to Cyber Monday period, your business must have an effective online presence and integrated booking system.
So make your website work for you and turn browsers into bookers. If your website doesn’t already allow you to accept online bookings, you can easily add an embeddable booking widget to transform the guest experience on your site. One example is Graduate Hotels, a collection of properties in university communities across the US.
8 – Offer something exclusive to generate interest
What if Black Friday could serve a dual purpose: attracting new customers and retaining existing ones? Offering something exclusive not only acts as a magnet for first-time shoppers, but also keeps your loyal customers engaged. Consider exclusive offers such as redeemable coupons for future purchases: after all, it’s always cheaper to keep a happy customer than to acquire a new one.
Take advantage of Regiondo’s robust coupon management system, which allows you to generate unique codes, upload multiple ones in bulk, and keep a close eye on available discounts. Rest assured that a well thought out coupon marketing strategy can increase both immediate sales and long-term customer loyalty. In fact, according to recent statistics, 85% of customers are persuaded to purchase a product when they receive a discount. For more information on this topic, read our dedicated blog article.
9 – Less is more
Resist the temptation to overwhelm your customers with an endless parade of offers: a cluttered campaign can be confusing and dilute the impact of your core offers. Your goal should be to build awareness and momentum around a carefully curated set of promotions that truly resonate with your audience.
10 – Treat your customers well and get to know them
Did you know that, according to the White House Office of Consumer Affairs, a satisfied customer will tell 4 to 6 people about their positive experience? If you want to turn your clients into brand evangelists, you need to build a relationship based on mutual trust and meaningful engagement. An in-person smile or a digital “thank you” is just the beginning: for best results, you need to make sure you’re taking the time to fully understand their needs and preferences.
At Regiondo, we’re committed to making your life easier by offering a comprehensive booking solution. With a wide range of tools to help you sell tickets online, manage reservations, and sync with top Online Travel Agencies (OTAs), we’ve got your back. Ready to see what we can do for you? Schedule a free demo with one of our consultants today.