How to Use Promo Codes to Increase Direct Bookings and Revenue


July 7, 2022

5 min read
Reading Time: 5 minutes

Every traveller loves a great deal. That’s why promo codes are still considered an evergreen marketing strategy, especially in the travel industry.

A promotional code—fixed or flat percentage discounts—is an effective tactic to attract new customers and retain existing customers. It can incentivize guests to come off the fence and make a booking. 

However, you can’t just offer promo codes or coupons believing they would get you more guests. You need to define the objectives of your promo code campaign and decide how to deliver and promote them. Here are some valuable tips for a productive promo code campaign. 

How to Use Online Promo Codes to Grow Your Tour Business

Promo Codes for Returning Customers

Rewarding loyal customers will give you repeat business. A promo code for a future tour can persuade them to come back for another experience. Extend the offer to their family and friends, which brings you more referral business. 

You can inform them about the promo code offer when they finish the tour or activity. Or add the promo code offer to the thank you note or review request email. Even better, send them an email celebrating one year of their trip to your destination with a few photos and offer a promo code to come back and recreate beautiful moments.

💡Zaui Customers, Did you know you can create easy promo code campaigns right in your Zaui dashboard to reward returning customers? Learn about creating auto-generated promo codes and how to send them to loyal guests here

Limited-Period Deals

A representative image showing limited period promo code offer

Special, limited-period promo codes sell like hotcakes as they create a sense of urgency. You can offer them to early buyers or make special deals for weekday tours and activities. 

Promo codes available always make them think they can claim it any time. Limited time offer gives the feeling that others are scrambling to redeem the same promo codes, making them act fast. 

BOGO Offers

Buy One Get One (BOGO) offers are the most popular marketing tactic. In a BOGO offer, a product is offered free or at a reduced price when another product is purchased at full price.

When your customers buy one of your tours, offer them another at lower prices with a promo code. It tempts customers to add more to the cart at the checkout at a reduced price. Offering discounts for purchasing multiple items is also an opportunity for you to upsell items. 

Promo Codes for Seasonal Sales

Travellers being happy about promo codes offered by tour operators

You can counteract some of the seasonality of your business with promo codes. Promo codes can be an excellent marketing tool to attract travellers to promote less popular dates and products. 

It doesn’t mean you need to restrict them just for off-season and shoulder season. You can also plan your promo codes strategically around busy periods like Thanksgiving and Christmas to see an increase in bookings.

Promo Codes for Local Partnership Packages 

Create promo codes to offer attractive packages in partnership with local tourism operators or other entities. Tour packages with other operators can add more value to your customers’ itinerary. When they are at a destination, a package of different tours is always appealing, especially when it comes at a discounted price or special offer.

One best example would be the Promo code campaign run by the Prince of Whales and Royal BC Museum. Prince of Whales combined its tour with an exhibit from the museum, creating an exciting package for tourists. The unique BOGO offer was made possible using the Zaui online reservation system. The promo code campaign kicked off in June 2021, selling over 5000+ tickets. 

Promote New Offerings

Are you introducing a new tour? Or adding a new activity? Promotional codes offering special incentives are a surefire way to get your first customers.

Encourage customers to try a new service offering at a discounted price. Once the word gets out and you get enough attention, you can sell them at full price.

How to Promote Promo Code

An image with a shopping cart and discount percentages

Displaying the promo code offer just on your website may not give you the desired result. In some instances, you might just be giving revenue away without a reason or purpose for the discount. It would be best if you advertised it wherever possible, grabbing more eyeballs.

Social media: Explore social media platforms where your target audience hangs out the most, and advertise your promo code campaign on those platforms.

Emails: Incorporate promo code campaigns into your email marketing. You can use them to entice existing customers or those on your mail list, but have not yet become customers.

Visitor info centers: Publicize your offer in visitor centers and talk to their staff about the offer so that they can inform the travellers about it. Print flyers or tickets and place them in strategic locations like tourism information centres, hotels, and with your resell partners.

Deal sites: Through deal sites such as Groupon.

Promo Code Pitfalls to Avoid

A tour operator mobile app offering promo codes for tours

Before creating your campaign, it is crucial to understand the financial implication of offering your tour or activity at a lower rate. To get the most ROI from your campaign, you will need to build in some controls:

✅ Crunch your numbers and see whether you can afford a promo code campaign

✅ Limit the number of codes accepted per date/activity/for the entire promotion

✅ Set a date range for the promotion

✅ Set a discount level that you can afford

✅ Prevent multiple uses by the same user

Final Word

Analyzing your return on investment is vital at the end of every promotional campaign. Calculate the number of promo codes used and compare it against key metrics. Did it perform as expected? Do your results indicate that the temporary decrease in profit could lead to increased sales in the long term? Have you generated loyal customers who will likely book with you again in the future?

An online reservation system equipped with a promo code feature allows you to measure the success of a campaign. Also, it helps you plan and execute a promotional code campaign effortlessly. If you are wondering how, stay tuned for next week’s blog where we’ll cover extensively how an online reservation system can help tour and activity operators with their promo code campaigns.

Meanwhile, if you want to know more about the promo code functionality of the Zaui online booking system, talk to our experts. We will be more than happy to explain how a reservation system can make a difference and increase your revenue. 

Learn more about the promo code features of Zaui and how it helps you increase revenue!

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