Through years of experience working with Travel clients, we have put together a year-long plan detailing how and when Tour Operators can use social media effectively to grow, activate, and engage an audience, and turn them into their next bookings.
As with any Travel business, Tour Operators face the challenge of grappling for customer attention in an exceptionally competitive marketplace. But they also have the opportunity to share the value-added knowledge they offer customers as a unique part of their service.
Up against major players in a space diluted with booking alternatives frequently offering more options and less expensive trips, a Tour Operator’s success is reliant on their ability to differentiate with exclusive experiences, and to convince customers that theirs is the best experience.
That unique knowledge and expertise is what sets Tour Operators apart, and is their greatest opportunity to attract new customers.
Social media provides the perfect platform to leverage this.
Communicating the value of their experiences through a story only they can tell, social media enables Tour Operators to connect this voice to an engaged community of potential new customers.
And the humanised approach on social media is proven to work with a 100% higher lead-to-close rate than outbound marketing.
12 month social marketing plan for Tour Operators
1. August-September – Community Growth
Your strategy should begin with growth of a community far in advance of the your booking period. Activities during this stage revolve around a content plan that highlight what is extraordinary about the Tours you offer.
- Photos of animals at dawn from a recent safari trip
- Glowing reviews about the once in a lifetime experience of living with a host family
- Little-known historical facts about uncharted city plans on an urban tour
These are examples of content that you as Tour Operators are in a unique position to provide, that resonates with customers – (OR customers naturally engage with).
Community growth can be further enhanced through targeted social advertising to help grow a highly relevant audience of potential customers exponentially.
2. October-December – Tactical Campaign for Customer Data
In preparation for booking periods, tactical social media campaigns are the most effective way to grow your email database to support other marketing activities.
They also establish a strong foundation for customer loyalty by offering unique incentives and a memorably engaging brand experience.
That customer loyalty is what drives bookings during and after your key booking periods.
A tactical campaign provides a way for you to:
- Supersize a community of potential customers
- Maximise engagement just ahead of your key booking period
- Secure a wealth of customer data including email opt-ins
With our work for the Family Adventure Company, we secured 1500 e-mail addresses from potential customers in one month which were used in targeted e-mail marketing during the booking season. For more information about this campaign, see our case study.
While the true promise of these campaigns is customer data, effective campaigns will drive traffic to your website and show longer term increase in engagement to support sales after your key booking period is over.
3. March-April – Tactical Campaign To Extend Booking Period
The tail-end of the primary booking period is the time to harness the loyalty established throughout the year, and reward your community to drive more bookings.
Offering additional incentives peaks loyalty when it is beginning to drop.
Running a campaign at this time delivers the same benefits of campaigns pre-booking period – community growth, increased engagement, and customer data acquisition – but also opens a direct channel to promote your Tour packages that are relevant to customers.
Effective campaign ideas to supplement addition bookings may involve:
- Questionnaires followed by bespoke Tour recommendations based on customers’ expressed interests
- Discount vouchers to reward customers for their participation in a campaign
- Access to exclusive end-of-season Tour packages for customers’ continued loyalty
The key to this stage is maintaining customer loyalty – through incentives offered by a campaign, customers feel rewarded and your business is given a final opportunity to match the perfect Tour with the right customer.
It’s not too late to plan a campaign to help give your booking period that extra push. For more information on how it’s done contact us firstname.lastname@example.org at or give us a call at 0 1179 111 420.
*Statistic taken from: http://www.hubspot.com/marketing-statistics#Social%20Media
Digital Visitor is the UK’s leading strategic agency in travel, tourism & hospitality. For any more information of how we can help, get in touch.