Four Ways to Promote Tour Packages Online
The traditional booking journey has evolved over the years bringing in more digital touchpoints with your potential guests. Search engines, social media, and websites have taken over the good old brochures and flyers in terms of reach and popularity. Promoting tour packages online is inevitable now because that’s where many of your future guests are finding you (or your competitors).
Advertising and selling your tour online gives you a great opportunity to reach enthusiastic travellers anywhere in the world looking for new experiences and adventures. The global visibility it guarantees is enormous.
So, how can you leverage these platforms and promote tour packages online?
1. Update Google My Business Listing
Google My Business (GMB) is a free business listing tool. It helps you appear on Google maps and local search results when travellers look for tours or experiences in their destination. Google is the world’s largest search engine with nearly 90% of all internet users using it as their primary search engine. This means it is absolutely vital to have a GMB listing and to keep it active.
Optimize GMB profile: Write a good description with relevant keywords. Consider customers’ search intent and interest when you prepare the description. However, do not stuff it with keywords.
Add essential information—operating hours, location, contact details, and a link to your website. Remember to keep your business hours up to date as peak season begins. Also, update holiday hours regularly.
Include a solid call to action with a link to your online booking engine encouraging people to book directly through your GMB listing.
Never forget to feed your listing with compelling photos. The cover photo should reflect the essence of your tours. Encourage your guests to leave a review along with pictures from the tour. User-contributed images can enhance your credibility.
Build trust with reviews: Your guests can leave reviews quickly on Google. Any customer who finds your business on google maps will notice these reviews too. The guest feedback will impact your Google rankings, and more importantly, it will influence your potential guests.
Sometimes less-than-glowing reviews happen; however, do not ignore them. Leave a thoughtful response. Clarify a customer service complaint or acknowledge errors on your part, and don’t hesitate to apologize. A good response to a bad review can be extremely valuable to discerning customers as it shows you care about the guest experience and take feedback seriously.
Promote your offer with posts: The post feature in GMB is often not used by tour operators. Publish your offers, events, and products directly to Google Search and Maps through posts. Your promotions can be highlighted with these temporary posts. Write about your latest events and popular tours each week to provide your guests with timely information and generate interest.
2. Recharge Your Website with Killer Content
Create catchy content: Make the tour sound exciting and thrilling, taking your website visitors one step closer to booking. Use engaging, easy-to-read content and snappy descriptions to get the audience’s attention.
Content should be relevant to your target audience. Think of the questions frequently asked by your guests and make the answers readily available on the website. Bring your page to life with on-brand & relevant visuals. Refrain from using too many staged or stock photos. Pictures are key to showing potential guests what your activity is like and how they will experience your offering.
Update blogs: Keep updating your blogs with informational and educational topics. Rely on relevant keywords that travellers use while searching for specific locations or in-destination activities. It helps you get top spots in search results.
Display special offers: Do not tuck away your offers somewhere on the site. Place your latest offers and gift cards on the home page, where travellers can find them effortlessly. Another vital factor that captures customers’ interest is raving reviews. Highlight reviews from previous guests who are your best brand advocates.
Make a mobile-friendly website: While you lay out the tours, offers and gift cards on your website, ensure that your guest can access it on any device. In other words, make the website mobile-friendly as most guests use their mobile devices to search for things to do.
As we always say, put yourself in a customer’s shoes and simulate the website’s mobile browsing experience on a smartphone. Use the Mobile-Friendly Test from Google to figure out what’s not working and make corrections.
Place a clear call to action: Book Now buttons should be visible and quickly accessible to users. And ensure that they have a seamless booking process once they click the button. Do not put too many clicks or too much information in the way of the guest securing their reservation with you.
Integrate your website to an online booking engine and booking widgets to make the booking process clear, quick, and easy for your guests this season. If driving more direct bookings is on your agenda, you shouldn’t ignore the frictionless online booking process for your guests.
3. Ramp Up Your Social Media
Be on the right platform: Omnipresent social media strategy may help you cast a bigger sales net, but it may not always be productive. Pick the social media platforms that align with your target audience and be active.
For example, if your target persona falls in the younger demographic, Instagram and Tiktok is your place. Never forget to create a clear Call To Action, encouraging them to book right away from social media. Don’t forget how powerful the feeling of wanderlust can be. Your social media followers should see your posts and think “I wish I was doing that right now!”
Kickstart influencer marketing: Travel influencers are your new friends to create brand awareness or drive more sales. They have a global reach with engaged audiences in numerous countries. They connect with their followers on a personal level.
Focus on influencers’ target audience and whether they match with yours. Before teaming up with influencers, do your due diligence and check their credibility. The number of followers may not give you the whole picture. Look at the average likes and comments on their posts to analyze the engagement rate among their followers.
Tap into video power: In the era of Tiktok, Insta reels, Facebook and of course YouTube, video reigns the marketing strategy. Video content can inspire travellers to explore new experiences.
Wondering what type of video content? Showcase your tours and activities, give a glimpse of behind the scenes, introduce your guides/team members or capture a customer’s experience. You can even try doing live videos. There are many apps to create social media graphics, such as Canva, InShot, or Adobe Rush, and they can make the editing job easier for you.
Run a social media contest: One of the oldest tricks in the book, but still popular. It helps you create buzz around your brand and encourages some new bookings. Create a contest campaign for a free tour or an activity you are offering. However, ensure that you comply with the platform rules for social media contests.
Make the best use of User-Generated-Content: User-generated content, also known as UGC, is the modern-day word of mouth and a must-have social media strategy for tour operators. It is more cost-effective than influencer marketing.
Your potential customers will be more interested in a fellow traveller’s testimony than those from the marketing department. Motivate your guests to share their images and videos on their social media profiles and tag your company. Create a specific hashtag and ask guests to use it. You can share these photos and videos on your platforms with their permission.
4. Build Customer Relationships with Email Marketing
Nurture relationship: In 2021, 77% of marketers reported seeing more engagement with email over the past year. Email marketing offers you one of the most effective and inexpensive ways to nurture your customers. Build a relationship with your audience and inspire them through emails, even during the off-season. This way, you warm up your leads, and when the season comes, they are ready to book your tour or refer it to their friends and families looking for a getaway.
Share Valuable Content: Provide helpful information, travel guides, and trip hacks. Introduce your tours, activities, team members and guides. Use the platform to build trust and credibility. The voice and tone of the email should align with your brand. Remember not to oversell. Again, optimize your emails for mobile devices.
Talk about Promo Codes and Gift Cards: As the peak season nears, extend an offer exclusively to your email subscribers to drive more traffic to your site and get more direct bookings.
Offer a discount on bookings for the next five days or two for one offer on tours or activities. Create a sense of urgency with time-sensitive deals to expedite the booking process. This is an ideal strategy for the low season too. Also, use the email real estate to promote gift cards by keeping them as a call to action button.
From travel planning to booking, there are many touchpoints in a customer’s booking journey. The digital landscape has now dramatically increased those touchpoints, giving you ample opportunity to nurture your leads and encourage them to book an experience with you.
Add value to their booking journey by providing them with reliable and valuable information specific to their interests. Engaging with your guests online and striking a genuine emotional chord can convert lookers to bookers this season. And, if you are equipped with booking software to capture those bookings online, you are ready to have a successful season!