By Taz Bareham — 12 Jun 2013
In a world of daily deal sites and online coupon codes, almost every traveler is looking to get a bargain on their tours and excursions for their upcoming vacation. So it’s important to find coupon strategies that will draw customers in and encourage them to purchase products and promotions from your business.
After all, offering a great deal via a coupon can mean the difference between a customer choosing your tour business and opting for another activity operator in your area.
Tour and activity operators can benefit from developing a well-planned coupon strategy for the tourism season. Here are our 5 top picks:
Print a coupon on a rack card and deliver it to your local tourism bureau or visitors center.
Blogger Matt Zito recommends printing your coupon offer at the top of the rack card, rather than at the bottom of the print product. Most businesses will opt for the bottom of the page, and this makes it all too easy for potential customers to skim over your card.
When your promotion is displayed at the top, customers will be attracted to your card as it will be distinguishable from the rest of the tour operators and activity centers in the area. The more enticing your offer is, the more customers you will generate from this type of promotion.
E-mail a coupon promotion to past customers in order to encourage them to book another tour or activity with you.
The United States Small Business Association notes that many tourists choose to go back to the same vacation destination every year. E-mailing your past customers a coupon offer will encourage them to book another tour with you or to try a new activity they couldn’t fit into their schedule last year.
This also allows them to easily refer your business to family and friends who may be taking a holiday in your area this year. E-mail coupons are an inexpensive way to generate buzz and spread the word about what is going on at your business this travel season.
Create a coupon that encourages your customers to try a new tour or activity that you are offering this year.
If you are offering a new sight-seeing tour of the city, or you have created a hang-gliding expedition for your customers, create a coupon that is geared specifically toward that activity. It will broadcast the fact that you are constantly changing, growing and developing to better serve your customers. It will also pique your customers’ interests — they won’t want to miss out on a new and exciting travel opportunity.
Many travelers want to try new things on their vacations, so showing them that you have something else to offer might be just what they need to make another reservation with you. Of course, the fact that they can get it at a discount won’t hurt either.
Provide incentive for customers to purchase a higher package or a larger quantity of reservations.
Small Biz Viewpoints notes that this will help you increase your profit margin despite the fact that you are offering a coupon promotion. For instance, if you offer wine tours to the vineyards in your area, you can create a coupon that offers customers a discount when they book a tour for four or more people. Travelers will want to save money where they can, so they will be more likely to recruit friends and relatives to take the tour with them in order to save a bit of cash.
Offer a free gift for booking a tour or activity with you during a certain month.
This is another way to incentivize customers without compromising a lot of your profits. If you are a tour and activity operator that offers surf lessons on the beach, perhaps provide your customers with a coupon for a free beach towel if they book lessons that month.
You may want to choose a month where sales are typically slow, as this will help you see an additional boost in income during a relatively slow period for your business. The beach towels will be an investment on your part, but it will be worth it when you have a record number of customers booking surf lessons that month.
As a business owner, you know that offering a coupon promotion will hinder your profit margins for the duration of the promotion. However, this temporary decrease in profit will ultimately lead to an increase in sales, and perhaps more loyal customers who will book tours with you again and again.
Many travelers choose to go to the same destinations year after year, so a quality coupon strategy will encourage customers to continue to book with you. Make sure your customers can use their coupon when they make their online reservation. Your online booking software should support this, because the easier you make it for customers to make a reservation and save a bit of money, the higher your sales will be during your coupon promotion.
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What coupon strategies have worked for you? Share them with us in the comments section below.