Coupons should be a big part of your marketing strategy – and if you haven’t already jumped on the bandwagon, it’s about time you do.

Here’s what tour and activity operators need to know about coupon marketing.

What are the benefits of coupons?

Successful coupons increase your conversion rates and average order values.

According to SmallBizTrends, not only do coupons give businesses access to new markets and customers, but they are a good way to fill capacity during slower periods.

If you use your coupons in combination with a daily deal site, it can drastically increase awareness of your business, without any out of pocket advertising expense.

What should you consider in your coupon strategy?

To create the perfect coupon, consider…

The Offer

Without a compelling offer, your coupon will be ineffective. SmartCompany suggests that you:

  • Be ready to upsell. Don’t include extras, such as meals or transport to and from your customer’s hotel. When you offer it at an additional price, most people will readily say yes.
  • Create offers that get customers to visit twice. That way, you’ll get more repeat customers and encourage brand loyalty.

Here are some ideas of offers if you need a little inspiration: The 5 Best Coupon Strategies for Tour Operators.

The Design

The design you use is extremely important, because psychological research has found that ‘environmental factors’ such as package design unconsciously influence us. Your coupon has to look professional. Forbes suggests that you use eye-catching content and hire a graphic designer if possible.

At a glance, your coupon needs to include the following information:

  • What’s in it for them. A bulletpoint list of what they can expect. Remember to use colourful language that invites people to take action.
  • Restrictions. For example, limit one coupon per person per visit.
  • Images. These must display the outcome of your experience. Use the emotion that people are going for when they book with you.
  • Tracking code. Your coupon should be assigned one of 2 types of codes – promo codes (which can be redeemed many times), and unique codes (which can only be used once, as is the case with gift cards).
  • Your logo and contact details. This is important for branding and customer convenience.

Another critical point is that you should make your coupons digital to make things simpler. After all, you don’t want to force customers to print out the coupon before bringing it to you. They should be able to tell you the code assigned to their coupon.

What distribution channels should you use?

So you have your offer and design sorted – but it doesn’t end there. You now need to effectively distribute your coupons.

In addition to printing out your coupon and handing it out to customers at your tour, the two key channels you should be using are:

Deal Sites

Online coupon sites are great for tours and activities because the business model works well for services where there is not a “thing” involved and no shipping is needed (News International).

They also attract 48 million monthly visitors, so your potential reach is immense. If you get your offer right, users of those sites will make sure to spread it quickly – forwarding it to ther friends via email and social media.

In terms of which specific site to use, do your research as usage will vary depending on your location. In the US, 50% of consumers are aware of Groupon, and 20% regularly receive emails from the site (NPD Group).

Email Marketing

Make sure to distribute coupons to your existing database, as well. Forbes advises that you capture emails regularly so you can update former customers on specials and discounts.

Prioritise people who haven’t visited in a while (say over 3 months), and tell them what’s new – why should they come back?

Here are some ideas if you’re stuck: Email With Coupons: 3 Strategies for Tour Operators.

What pitfalls should you be aware of?

Done right, a coupon strategy is basically free marketing for your tour or activity. It can be very effective, but you should take care to avoid the following pitfalls:

  • Not setting a logical limit to the number of coupons sold
  • Offering a discount that is too high for what your business can cope with
  • Customers turning up in large numbers on the first or last day of the offer
  • More existing customers using offers so you don’t get exposure to new markets/customers

It would be prudent to do a bit of maths so that you know what metrics you need to have higher profits while offering your tour or activity at a discounted price. CertifiedKnowledge provide some great formulas to do this.

For more online marketing tips, download our free ebook:

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