As we are looking forward to getting back to normal, most tourism marketers are working frantically on their post-pandemic marketing plans. Now more than ever, it is important to concentrate on marketing activities that produce the highest bang for your buck and the best ROI possible.
And with over 2,000 customers at Regiondo, we have a great overview of what marketing activities work and don’t work for tour and activity operators. Check out our top 5 suggestions below!
This is a great way to stand out in a saturated market and win customers. It allows you to build trust, generate leads and increase loyalty. What’s more, it has become the norm. If you are not investing in content marketing, you risk losing out to competitors who are doing it and doing it well.
In order to create the content that your customers want to see, you need to know who they are. By creating your buyer personas, you’ll get a shared vision of who they are, how they book, and what they want in a tour or activity. When you make your content plan, you can ask yourself if your content would resonate with these personas. Is it addressing one of their needs / pain-points?
And there is one type of content that is 5 x more likely to convert than others; User-Generated Content (or UGC for short). Encourage your customers to take photos and videos while participating in your tour or activity. You can ask to share on your platforms, adding authentic and relatable content that doesn’t cost you anything!
An example of excellent content marketing in tourism comes from Marriott and their Bonvoy brand. The marketing team created a blog filled with travel tips and even produced an accompanying podcast that deep dives into specific destinations. The articles and episodes aren’t actively promoting Bonvoy properties, but they are giving useful information to prospective customers, starting to build trust which may, at some point, convert into bookings.
Want more information on how you can enhance your content marketing? Check out our blog post to learn more top content tips, specifically tailored for tour and activity providers.
Partnering with Influencers
Influencer marketing remains incredibly popular in the tourism industry, despite the recent backlash against some famous names who traveled during lockdown. It’s an extremely cost-effective way to enhance brand awareness and gain new customers.
While we may be experiencing a decrease in the power of macro-influencers (those with over 500,000 followers), micro-influencers are on the rise. You can see great financial returns by choosing to work with them as they have a much closer relationship with their followers so you can achieve a high return on your investment.
Take your time in choosing who you want to work with. You will need to do a lot of research on who has natural synergies with your company and whose audience is most similar to yours. You can search by hashtag and check on websites such as influence.co where you can filter by location and follower count.
The Hawaii Tourism Authority worked with local micro and macro-influencers to help promote their Instagram campaign ‘Let Hawaii Happen’. By encouraging their own followers to take part, the influencers managed to get the campaign in front of 54% of all US travelers, raising awareness and boosting travel to the state.
Interested in reading more? Check out our guide to working with influencers.
Email marketing may be the oldest marketing activity on this list but it remains an extremely useful marketing tool. In fact, email generates $38 for every $1 spent, making it one of the most effective marketing channels out there.
It isn’t enough to simply send a newsletter once a week to your database. You need to be in contact with them at different stages of the customer journey to stay top of mind. You should automate the following emails; welcome, abandoned cart/browse, price change for abandoned cart/browse, and booking confirmation. You can even go further by sending out 2 emails for those who have abandoned their search and the second could include a discount to incentivize booking.
Shameless plug: With Regiondo, all of these messages are built-in and automated for you. You can try Regiondo for free here.
Every single one of your emails should inspire your subscribers. We are so lucky to work in a fun and exciting industry. This should shine through in your communications. Use beautiful images to showcase your tour or activity, but make sure that you have enough text to avoid your email being classed as spam.
TAP Portugal has automated its abandoned cart emails for when there are availability changes on the relevant flights. This is an easy way to create a sense of urgency for booking as well as adding another touchpoint for the brand to reach out to their subscriber.
Check out our recent post with 7 email marketing tips to grow your business.
Social media is an amazing way to reach large numbers of potential customers and engage with your current followers. Most social platforms allow you to add call-to-actions to your content, to encourage your audience to book now. Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube are fantastic platforms for you to use, with a combined reach of over 3 billion users.
When posting on social media, you should avoid selling. Yes, this may sound counter-productive but it works! People don’t go on Instagram or Facebook to be sold to, they want to read interesting posts or look at great images. 20% of your posts can be based on selling, but the remaining 80% should be inspiring, entertaining, or educational.
Remember to respond to all comments on social media, the good and the bad. This creates a personal connection between your company and your follower, which is essentially the point of social media!
Don’t forget to check your inbox. More and more people eschew traditional contact methods and reach out to companies via private message on social media with questions or complaints. If you aren’t able to reply quickly, you can automate a friendly reply saying that you will be in touch shortly or even integrate the messages into your existing customer support solution. This will help to build trust and lead to more bookings going forward!
Luxury travel agents Abercrombie & Kent very rarely sell on their social media platforms. Instead, they post curated photos from beautiful destinations and add informative and inspiring captions, increasing the desire to travel amongst their followers!
For more insights on different social media platforms, click here!
Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
82% of travel bookings were made online in 2018 and it’s no longer enough to simply have a web presence. In order to bring people to your website, you need to invest in Search Engine marketing.
Google Ads is paid Google advertising. This is a very common strategy to get your website on the first page of a relevant Google search. You can also optimize your content to ensure a high ranking on Search Engine Results Pages. This isn’t a paid solution and takes time to work, but it is a very effective way to boost traffic to your site. Google My Business is also an excellent tool. You can capture bookings from people wanting to reserve quickly by completing your listing, and they can book directly through Google.
So how can you do this successfully? Research! Keyword research is crucial when it comes to Search Engine Optimization – choosing the correct words to include in your online content to boost your ranking.
In addition, don’t forget to optimize your website for mobile devices. Travelers prefer to book with their mobiles and tablets…and Google has taken note! Your page will appear higher on search pages if it is optimized for mobile.
Looking for more SEO tips? Click here.
Well done for making it this far! We hope that this article has given you all the insights you need to create a marketing plan full of high ROI activities.
One last word of advice? Make sure that you actively monitor every marketing activity that you run. This will allow you to tweak and amend as you go along, thus increasing your chances of success.