Updated November 2021 – As a small business within the experiences industry, your resources are limited for just about everything. Having a tour and travel business plan is key in ensuring you’re able to maximize those resources. Investing in marketing and promotions is essential to helping your business grow. 

Fortunately for the small tour and activity operators today, the Internet provides a quick and easy way to get the word out about your business, and many of these online marketing strategies are relatively inexpensive. Social media accounts, for example, do not cost anything to set up and if you maintain them yourself, you won’t see any overhead costs other than time.

The following avenues will help you promote your tour business and attract new customers from across the globe:

1. Include social media in your tour and travel business plan

Social media is one of the best ways for any small business to develop its presence in the online community, and the results of a successful campaign are tangible. Social media allows people to connect with your business in new and exciting ways, as well as quickly spread the word about your location to friends and family.

When starting a social media campaign, it’s important to choose a few different account types and develop those accounts completely before joining additional networks.

Most small travel businesses will begin their social media campaign with a Facebook account and a Twitter account. Along the way, they might add other relevant accounts, such as Instagram, Blogger, or Flickr.

Facebook

Facebook allows you as a tour operator to post status updates about recent happenings with your business and the area you are located in. These status updates will range from quick-hit news items, links to relevant stories, and simply fun thoughts, but they also might provide customers with details on an upcoming promotion or contest.

Facebook is a great way to add photographs of recent tours, as potential customers will want to see exactly what they are going to experience when they book a tour or activity with you. For instance, if you offer whale watching tours, consider posting a few photos each week of the whales that you see. This will generate interest and excitement about what you have to offer.

Contests are also a great way to get people involved on Facebook, as most contest rules require participants to share information about the company with their friends. It spreads word of mouth and generates buzz about your company, and a lucky winner will get a prize such as a free tour or a discount.

Twitter

Twitter allows you to post quick information for your followers and often includes newsworthy information, promotional information, and contact information. You only have 140 characters to get your point across, so it’s important to be witty and creative. A quick Twit pic can go a long way as well, enticing people who are following you to check out your website for more information.

Since social media is being used more and more, tour operators need to know how to use social media for their business, so that it has a positive impact on revenue.

2. Build a relationship with affiliate partners

Platforms such as TripAdvisor, Expedia, and Klook should be a priority form of resource within your tours and travel business plan. It has become a top resource for people who are planning vacations as it provides reliable and trustworthy reviews that many travelers seek. On top of providing a summary of your business, they are also considered OTAs as they resell tours and activities. In addition to the summary, users can get on and post reviews of their personal experiences. There is an opportunity to add photographs as well.

That is why this is an important site to develop a presence on, as it is trusted by travelers and business people alike. Ask people who have enjoyed your tour to get on TripAdvisor, Expedia and Klook to help you develop your page. The more reviews you have, and specifically the more positive reviews you have, the better ranking you will earn.

Keep looking for ways to improve your listing. To have your business listed as one of the top-rated things to do in your city is thrilling to see.

3. Voucher sites can help you boost sales

Voucher sites are also known as Daily Deal Websites have become a great way to generate buzz about your business. Websites such as Groupon and Living Social allow you to create daily deals that works for your business.

For instance, you might offer an extremely discounted tour during one of your slow months to help boost your sales.

This is a great way for customers to discover your business. When they enjoy their experience, they will likely recommend you to their friends and online too.

4. Connect with your customers via email marketing

Email marketing is an important element in growing your tour and activity business. It informs, reminds, and encourages your customers and future customers to engage with your business. Ensuring that email marketing is prioritized in your tour and travel business plan will help you grow your customer database and keep them updated with your business communication.

Here are the top 4 ways you can use email marketing to your advantage:

    • Reminder emails help your customers stay on top of their bookings with your business. It reminds your customers of their booking details and to come prepared prior to tour (e.g completing waivers forms). Reminder emails help to reduce last-minute cancellations.
    • Promotion emails are the perfect email marketing strategy to grab your customer’s attention – besides, who doesn’t love a great deal? Informing your customers of specials and deals can help you pick up your bookings during the slower months.
    • Personalized emails are one way to your customer’s heart. Everybody loves a little appreciation and acknowledging special dates can really go a long way. Celebrating your customer’s birthday or anniversary can help in building brand loyalty. 
    • Subscription emails are a great way in inspiring your customers. People that subscribe to your mailing list are mostly already engaged with your brand and business. Usually, these people want the latest update from your business. Whether that be a blog, company news, or a promotion, your subscribers want to be the first to know.

5. Utilize a booking software with reporting capabilities

Reporting tools for tour and activity business plans

The best way to effectively manage your bookings is to have online booking software in place. This will make it easier for your customers and resellers to book and for you to track all your bookings. However, not all will provide you with reporting tools that give you insight into what’s working and what’s not. By having an online booking software that does the reporting for you, you can better strategize well ahead for your tour and travel business plan.

For instance, Rezdy is an effective and efficient online booking system that will allow you to accept bookings across multiple channels. Rezdy features reporting tools that let you assess your business’ overall performance. This will help you learn and discover new ways to make your business grow. To see if Rezdy’s online booking system is right for you, you can sign up for a FREE 21-day trial today.

6. Encourage your customers to leave reviews

Travelers actively seek reviews to gain an insight into your business and services. Encouraging your happy customers to leave positive reviews will help your future customers make an informed decision to book with your tour company. 

Make sure to have your feedback forms ready to be distributed at the end of each tour to make it easier for customers. If you ask the right way and create an easy-to-fill form, this will help in encouraging your customers to leave reviews.

Where should you start?

People who are planning trips and making reservations are now getting researching online before they go. The Internet has changed the way that people travel. It has allowed travelers to see and experience a place online before making a booking.

Perhaps you offer double-decker bus tours in an action-packed city, or maybe you provide surfing lessons off of the coast. Either way, you’ll want to develop your local and global reputation.

As a starting point:

  • Launch a social media campaign. This will get people talking – especially when you provide them with the best deals around.
  • Take advantage of the senses, and provide your customers with a 360-degree experience when they visit your website including photos, videos and reviews. Do this on your own website and on TripAdvisor.
  • Partner with voucher sites to build awareness of your tour or activity.

Your business might be small, but that doesn’t mean you can’t beat your competitors with online marketing. Use your niche and local expertise to showcase to the world your amazing services and the experiences that you offer. Before you know it, you will have a full plate of reservations every day!

If you enjoyed this article – then follow the Rezdy blog. There are a lot of marketing tools and resources designed with businesses like yours in mind.

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