How to prepare your tour and activity business for Black Friday sales [9 effective strategies]

What is Black Friday?

Black Friday, the day following Thanksgiving in the United States, has become one of the busiest “retail holidays” of the year, along with the mayhem it causes. The common consensus around the origins of the name in recent times is centered on businesses seeing an uplift in their sales, moving their figures from red to black. Nearly 155 million Americans shopped during Black Friday 2021, while retail sales grew 14.1% over 2020 to $886.7 billion.

So, how will Black Friday look different this year?

In recent years Black Friday has looked very different from the previous times of excited shoppers descending in large crowds to retail outlets to scoop up a deal. The COVID pandemic caused a strong shift towards Cyber Monday, a virtual event created to encourage online shopping.

Today Black Friday and Cyber Monday are “bookends” to one of the busiest shopping weekends of the year. Now both share an opportunity to tap into the demand for online sales. Of course, plenty of businesses in the tour & activity sector are already taking advantage of this opportunity to generate more bookings.

What are customers looking for?

This year consumers know that during Black Friday and Cyber Monday, they will find significant savings on everything from airfares to hotel stays, including cruises, attraction passes, and once-in-a-lifetime tours. That being said, for tours and activities providers, the real challenge is to create an eye-catching deal that appeals to their target audience and won’t get drowned out by the noise from all the other businesses.

Creating an impactful offer – what are the ingredients?

The success of previous Black Friday promotions has created high expectations for customers. One of the major factors influencing buyer behavior, especially when it comes to limited-time offers, is positive consumer reviews. When you have happy customers, always ask them to write reviews and quickly address friction points so they do not impact your brand in subsequent years.

An ideal Black Friday offer hits the right balance between a price that positively impacts the bottom-line profit and reasonable availability. Nothing is more frustrating for consumers than to tease them with an attractive price that nobody seems to be able to book, as calendars are full of blocked-out availability. Keep in mind that the last few years have generated a pent-up demand, and consumers will be using all their “internet savvy” skills to seek out deals.

One of the most powerful weapons in the leisure industry’s arsenal is FOMO (fear of missing out), which plays an essential role in driving consumers to constantly search for information on deals. A tactical mistake to avoid is to wait until Black Friday to communicate your offer because you will not be alone and consumers will be bombarded with communications. When planning activities, it is far more effective to reveal and build up momentum to your communication flow slowly. The more you can get others (i.e., your target audience) talking through positive word of mouth about your offer, the more likely you’ll be heard above all the noise.

Getting ready for Black Friday

First things first – make sure staff are aware of what you are preparing to offer, get their buy-in and commitment to take the customer experience up a notch during this critical time.

How does Black Friday “rub off” travel and leisure businesses?

What was a US-based retail promotion has now expanded overseas into a worldwide marketplace, with each country offering its own interpretation of Black Friday across different business sectors. So, seize the moment and get ready to take action. Below are our tried and tested tips on Black Friday marketing strategies:

1 – Plan how to make the most of the whole Black Friday weekend

With the introduction of Cyber Monday, it is no longer just a one-day event, and there are offers available for the whole weekend. Pace yourself and plan how you, as a business, can tap into the demand for the entire weekend and the days around it. The more awareness you can drive will help to build interest, increasing website traffic. There will be a peak of visits over the weekend but hopefully, with a well-thought offer and positive customer experience, those traffic levels may remain high during the next few days.

2 – Prepare and send your emails in advance

A great way to build excitement is to drip-feed an email campaign promoting your offers and doing a slow reveal of what your Black Friday offer will be. To be effective, you’ll need to create several email templates that you can write and schedule in advance. You are more likely to get a high opening rate if you personalize them, targeting the offer appropriately.

3 – Implement an on-site countdown timer

When Black Friday comes around, a countdown is one trick that can help create some interest and hopefully “stickiness” on your website. This is how Game made their Black Friday offer even more persuasive with a countdown timer.

What we want to happen is for website visitors to see the countdown and keep returning. To create a little bit of tension, the clock is running down, and offers will be limited in availability.

4 – Use social media channels to get your message out

As well as sharing creative Black Friday posts, use your social media channels as a two-way street. Don’t just post and hope that somebody likes or shares the post; start to engage with your audience, and use it as an opportunity to build up your brand. For example, showcase and amplify your brand values like Fjällräven did, drawing attention to their brand values instead of a sale.

Social media channels are also very effective for advertising, whether you are trying to raise awareness, get followers to visit your website, or retarget the ones that have already done it. Also, don’t forget the best way to expand your reach on social media channels is by utilizing dedicated hashtags.

5 – Leverage partnerships to expand your offering

Many shoppers are looking to buy the perfect gift for the holiday season during Black Friday, so why not sell them a packaged experience? Partnering with a local business helps your network, adds value to your offering, provides you with something extra to communicate, and allows you to create something others cannot easily replicate.

6 – Sell direct via your website

Online bookings have revolutionized the industry in recent years and should be an essential part of your Black Friday marketing campaign. With such a large proportion of leisure travel and activity researched and booked online now, especially during the Black Friday to Cyber Monday period, your business must have an impactful online presence and an integrated online booking system.

So, make your website work for you and convert “lookers into bookers.” If your website doesn’t yet allow you to accept online bookings, you can easily add an embeddable booking widget to transform the guest experience on your site. An example from Graduate Hotels is a collection of properties in university communities across the US.

7 – Offer something exclusive to generate interest

Exclusive offers are a big selling point for Black Friday. Moreover, it’s a great way to keep your existing customers happy even if they miss out on the big deals. Remember that it is far more cost-effective in the long term to have a loyal customer through great experience – rather than the expense of having to continually invest in generating new customers. So, keep your customers happy, and they will not only return but also create positive word of mouth.

For example, you could offer a discount with a voucher that can be redeemed against a purchase later. Now would be a good time to optimize the mix of channels that bring business and take an in-depth look at the costs and benefits of vouchers.

A key feature with Regiondo is the ability to generate unique gift vouchers within the system. You can also bulk upload multiple codes at once, edit existing codes, and keep track of available discounts to manage your cost of sales.

8 – Keep your campaign simple

Avoid having on your website an infinite scroll of never-ending deals. The approach should be to build awareness and momentum around the offers but not swamp visitors with deals that could negatively impact your business. Too many options can generate confusion and put off a customer.

9 – Treat your customers well and get to know them

Happy customers tell 4 to 6 people about their experience, according to the White House Office of Consumer Affairs. The path to customer satisfaction can start with a simple smile, but when you greet a customer, there must be more depth to how you engage and listen.

Our goal at Regiondo is to help you maximize reach and reduce the overall admin work of managing multiple sales channels. If you’re looking for an all-in-one solution that lets you sell tickets online, manage reservations, and connect with leading OTAs, you’re in the right place.

For more information, book a free demo with one of our consultants.

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