As the year’s shopping season is around the corner, it’s time for tour operators to tweak their marketing strategy and get creative to capture the holiday spending. It’s best to begin holiday campaigns early because recent trends show that shoppers consider shopping much earlier to avoid the last-minute rush.
Tour and activity operators must explore every opportunity to get their brand in front of a larger audience during the holiday season. Paid campaign targeting customers in your destination is always an option to boost bookings during the holiday season. Social media and Google ads are very effective in targeting specific audiences and getting revenue.
However, if you don’t have a budget for the paid ads, here are some holiday campaign ideas for tour and activity operators to set them up for success.
Promote Experience Gift Cards
The spirit of giving is in the air during the holidays. Shoppers are looking for gift ideas and inspiration. The majority of U.S. adults now prefer to receive an experience gift than a material gift. Memories earned through experiences are now becoming popular rather than material goods.
Create a holiday campaign around gift cards to draw more customers into it. Promote the idea of gift cards on social media and spread the message through email marketing. Do not forget to highlight gift cards on the website. Your potential customers may not be looking for an activity for themselves, they may also be looking for a gift for their loved ones.
Remind your customers during the booking process that they can also gift someone an experience. For example, using the Zaui online reservation system, you can offer gift card services to your customers. The gift cards can either be for a specific tour or activity or one particular denomination. For those who prefer a tangible, hard copy gift, customers who have purchased an experience through you have the option to print out the activity gift card to insert into their holiday cards.
Create Holiday Guides for Your Destination
Most travel begins with an online search, so when your travellers search for holiday trips, they will love to get all the information about a destination in one place.
Create a guide for your destination in the run-up to the holiday season. Think of yourself as a traveller and ask yourself, what are the must-see places and exciting things to do in your destination? Add all that information to the guide. Create a small guide with essential details if you have a small team.
Promote the guide wherever possible. The guide can give travellers that little nudge to proceed with the booking. More importantly, this guide promotes not just your brand but your destination too, and it’s a win for your local tourism community.
Put on a Holiday Contest
Contests during holidays can reengage your customers. Any contests or giveaways should align with your target customers and brand. What works for other operators may not be ideal for you. Knowing your target audience is important to choose the right kind of contest.
During the busy holiday season, it’s easy for the contest to get buried in your audience’s crowded feed. So, make the contest attractive and interesting enough to grab their attention. Also, announce it ahead of time and alert them about upcoming contests.
Here are some ideas for a social media contest:
- a holiday-themed quiz contest
- a photo contest of their unique trip
- favourite holiday memory contest
- recreate iconic travel photos
- caption travel or holiday photos
- funny holiday travel photo contest
You can also partner with social media influencers to host contests on your behalf. This could help you reach the influencer’s huge number of followers. However, you need to do some research before you tie up with influencers. From understanding their audience to figuring out the budget, you need to consider many factors to finalize the strategy. And keep in mind that influencer partnership is not ideal for every brand.
You may not see a sudden increase in your bookings with these contests. But your brand name will reach many more customers and guarantee an improved engagement rate. It means that the chances of them turning into your customers will be higher in the future.
Ramp up Email Marketing
Email marketing should be a year-round marketing strategy, and you should spruce it up a little more around holidays to boost conversion rates.
Instead of a generic email blast, create a holiday-themed email marketing campaign. Keep your customers in mind and think about what they need to make the best of holidays.
Send them blogs with holiday tips, travel hacks, and more about your destination, providing value to your customers.
Use emails to share your promotional offers. Like social media, you can use emails to build anticipation and excitement about special holiday offers.
As we mentioned about contests, play the long game with email marketing. Emails are the best way to nurture your leads. Even if they don’t want to invest in travel during holidays, they will remember your brand when they are ready to make a booking.
Team Up with Local Partners
Partnerships always help you get more bookings. Look for local tour operators with a similar target audience as yours and with positive customer reviews.
You can tie up with fellow operators, creating a tour package to target travellers in your destination. Offer customers tours at a discounted when they book tours and activities with your partner. You can even consider combining a couple of experiences and giving it as a prize for one of those holiday contests.
The partnership could be as simple as displaying your posters at their office, keeping your brochure on their front desk, or offering social media shout-outs.
If it’s the first attempt at local partnerships, start small. Constantly evaluate the collaboration to ensure it’s working for both parties involved.
You can also join hands with local artisans or organizations creating events for tourists. It will help you reach more travellers and raise brand awareness.
Bring Extra Cheer with Offers
Celebration, togetherness, and happiness—that’s everything about the holidays. Everyone looks forward to being together with their families and friends during the holidays. Reflect this spirit of holidays by creating unique packages for families with special offers.
Create promo codes and discounts for your tours and experiences to sweeten the offer. Promo codes and discount offers can often trigger travellers to make the final purchase.
Make sure that your promotions are different for your customer base. Reward returning customers and families for their loyalty. The deal they get should be different from that of the new customer base.
Holiday campaigns shouldn’t be just about the boost in bookings. It should also be about increasing your brand awareness by getting your product in front of a larger audience.
Shoppers may not be able to buy everything they want during holidays. Even if customers don’t buy your products this season, a good marketing campaign can make them aware of your tour and activities. They may add it to their wishlist and become your guests in future!