A guest blog by Axelle Dervaux

65% of revenue in the global travel and tourism market came from online sales channels in 2020. In fact, online sales in the global travel and tourism market are estimated to increase to 72% by 2025. In other words, having an online sales strategy in place is essential to increasing repeat bookings. 

But with so many other tour operators looking for a slice of the pie, how can you make sure your online approach will stand out? The answer is simpler than you might think. 

With email marketing on your side, you can get up close and personal with your customers. By showing up in their inbox, delivering valuable content, and convincing others to join your list, too, you can increase bookings in a low-stakes environment. 

To give you a leg up, we’re sharing five simple ways to increase your email opt-ins — and deliver repeat bookings in the process

Ready to learn more?

Let’s take a look. 

What are email opt-ins, and how can they help us get repeat bookings? 

An email opt-in is when somebody willingly gives you their contact information to sign up for your email list. 

When they “opt-in” to your list, they’re permitting you to send them promotional emails — which could include a mix of sales emails, tour information, and valuable travel content. 

When you have email opt-ins, you essentially have a list of curated prospects you can nurture and sell to. So, the more opt-ins you have, the more people you can build relationships with and convert into repeat sales.

What’s more, email still gets higher click-through rates than social media when it comes to online advertising.

In other words, if you want more people to see and engage with your promotional content, you can’t dismiss the power of email marketing. 

What are lead magnets, and why do they matter?

Lead magnets can be downloads, freebies, or interactive quizzes you use to encourage leads to sign up for your email list. 

For instance, let’s say you put together a “Free Egypt Travel Itinerary.” In this case, you can use the itinerary as a lead magnet to build your email list. For example, you can create an ad or social media post to promote the itinerary and then ask leads to sign up to receive their copy. 

Here’s an example:

“Have you ever wanted to know what it’s like to tour the Egyptian pyramids? In our Free Egypt Travel Itinerary, we’re taking you on a simulated tour. We’re also sharing a five-day itinerary guide to help you make the most out of your trip to Egypt. Ready to grab your copy? Download your free guide here.” 

1. Choose the right tools 

Just like it’s important to use tour operator software to help customers book and schedule experiences, it’s just as important to use marketing tools to streamline the process.

Here are some useful tools you can use to streamline the process: 

  • Use a tool like MailChimp to easily collect opt-ins. Email everyone on your list without leaving the app.
  • Use a tool like ActiveCampaign to create beautiful emails that stand out — no coding or design experience required. 
  • Use a tool like Moosend to automate repetitive email tasks, design campaigns based on subscriber data, and segment your campaigns by audience type.
  • Use a business phone software like OpenPhone to send automated text messages containing information relevant to their booking. 

email opt-ins to increase repeat bookings

2. Personalize your lead magnets 

How can you entice viewers to click on your lead magnets and opt into your list? 

Easy. Personalize your lead magnets according to each audience segment. 

For instance, if you have:

  • An audience that prefers food tours over anything else 
  • An audience that loves lavish trips to Europe
  • An audience that’s always looking for road trip ideas 

Then, create three sets of lead magnets tailored to those audience segments. 

Here are some examples of lead magnets you might use for the audiences listed above:

  • A guide to LA’s most famous food tour 
  • A short video series covering your clients’ most epic trips to Europe
  • A downloadable guide that shares ten of the hottest road trip ideas 

You can also personalize other aspects of your lead magnets as well. 

For instance, you can use a background changer to personalize images based on your leads’ interests. Or you can vary your messaging to speak to your audiences in their preferred communication style.

3. Interview your audience

Sometimes, when you have a burning question, the best thing to do is to just ask.

So, ask your audience what they think you should cover in your emails and how you can attract more opt-ins. 

Consider emailing out a poll, survey, or questionnaire that asks questions like:

  • What encouraged you to sign up for our email list?
  • What kind of email content do you find most valuable?
  • What types of freebies were you interested in when you signed up? 
  • What types of freebies are you interested in now?

You can also ask more specific questions like:

  • Would you sign up for a webinar? If so, what kinds of webinars would intrigue you most? 
  • Would you download our free travel guides on airfare and travel deals? Why or why not?
  • Did you sign up for our Travel Around The Globe webinar? If so, what did you find most valuable?

If you’ve never conducted a poll or questionnaire, they’re pretty simple. Remember that it can take multiple customer touchpoints before landing the big sale. 

Interviewing your audience can help you speed past a few of those when done correctly, as you will have a deeper understanding of their wants and needs. 

4. Use forms to deliver personalized recommendations 

Interested in a simple way to collect more opt-ins?

Consider creating a form or questionnaire on a simple single page website that site visitors can complete to receive personalized travel recommendations. 

You can have the form pop up as soon as a visitor is on your site. Or you can trigger it to pop up when a site visitor takes a specific action, like clicking on your travel packages page. 

Creating forms like these can boost opt-ins and help you create more targeted lead magnets and email campaigns.

5. Create a referral program 

Incentivize your current opt-ins to encourage their friends to join your email list by creating a referral program.

Anytime you email your current opt-ins or onboard new ones, add a line offering them discounts or rebates on future trips if they refer someone to join your email list.

For instance:
“Did you like this email? Encourage your travel-loving friends to sign up for our emails here, and get 10% off your next travel package.”

create referral programs to boost email opt-ins

This is an easy and quick way to take advantage of low-hanging fruit. 

For instance, Preply uses a referral program to encourage more opt-ins and signups. With its referral program, customers that want a $30 credit toward their Spanish course can sign up with their email address to receive a shareable link they can pass on to friends. 

This concept can be applied almost identically to a tour operations business by offering discount options to new or current opt-ins in exchange for referrals.

Wrap up 

Now that travel is back on the up-and-up, it’s time to increase your repeat bookings.

By utilizing a booking software that features an automated guest communication function and taking advantage of the tips we shared today, you can boost opt-ins and turn leads into loyal customers. 

For instance, Rezdy is an online booking software that helps tour operators save hundreds of hours by automating their email communication processes. Rezdy’s automatic email feature allows operators to create customizable, personalized emails all while keeping track of whether the email was successfully sent, when they received it and when they opened it.

Ready to upgrade your booking software? Start your FREE 21-day trial here or book a demo today. No credit card required.

If you enjoyed this article, then make sure to follow the Rezdy blog. There are a lot of marketing tools and tour operator tips designed with businesses like yours in mind.

Written By – Axelle Dervau – Marketing Manager, Clicdata

Axelle Dervaux has experience in digital marketing with a focus on B2B marketing for SaaS companies. She’s working in various marketing fields such as SEO and SEA, social media, lead nurturing, customer retention, and product marketing. She is the Marketing Manager at clicdata.com, a cloud-based business intelligence, and data management platform. You can connect with her on LinkedIn

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