A guest blog by Kicksta

If you’re not using Instagram marketing to build your tour operator brand, you’re missing out.

Undeniably one of the most popular social media platforms in the world today, Instagram has more than 2 billion dedicated users and an incredible engagement rate, which further solidifies the valuable role of social media in tourism marketing.

Not only do Instagram users use it to interact with friends and family, but they also use it for inspiration. Such as destinations to travel to, places to stay, and what to do during their free time. That’s where tour operators can swoop in and connect with their audience.

The question is, how exactly do you make sure you’re generating the best results from your Instagram marketing efforts as a tour operator?

Why tour operators should market on Instagram

Virtually every company can benefit from an active presence on a channel like Instagram. 63% of Instagram users access the app on a daily basis, and many of them are open to connecting with brands and businesses while they’re online.

Tour operators are particularly well-positioned for growth on Instagram because of the nature of their business. As a tour operator, you’re responsible for helping customers build the perfect vacation experience. On Instagram, you can inspire your audience with pictures of hotels, meals, and itinerary events, to augment the planning process.

Travel Instagram posts are among some of the most popular on the channel, with more than 45 million posts listed under the hashtag #Tourism alone.

At the same time, Instagram gives tour operators a chance to build trust with their target audience. Sharing immersive content and insights into the tours you’ve managed helps customers to trust your ability to deliver amazing experiences.

So, where do you begin with Instagram marketing?

1. Capitalize on Instagram travel influencers

Influencers are one of the most powerful tools in any Instagram marketing strategy.

When figuring out what to do during a trip, countless travelers will turn to influencers for advice. Around 61% of customers say they trust the recommendations of influencers, while only 38% say they trust brand content.

Influencers help to give more credibility to your brand and get your customers excited about the tours you can provide. The key is figuring out which influencers you should be working with.

Search for an influencer that embodies the personality and values of your brand. For instance, @VisitJordan partnered with @KelseyInLondon to showcase the luxurious and laid-back experiences it could offer modern travelers.

instagram marketing influencers

Once you’ve found your influencer, decide how you’re going to help them showcase your tours. Are you going to invite them on an all-expenses-paid trip, or provide them with content to share?

2. Leverage the power of Instagram stories

Instagram stories are another of the most powerful tools Instagram has to offer for marketing purposes. Stories have their own section on Instagram, making them excellent for drawing the attention of new potential customers.

What’s more, customers are more than happy to connect with companies through Stories. Customers believe these raw, fast-paced pieces of content often show a company’s more “human” side. A third of the most-viewed Stories on Instagram come from businesses.

instagram marketing strategy

There are plenty of ways to take advantage of Stories, such as:

  • Showing a selection of meals from the restaurants visited during a tour
  • Highlighting some of your most popular destinations, hotels, and venues
  • Sharing a series of reviews and testimonials from happy customers
  • Providing a behind-the-scenes insight into the work of planning a tour
  • Asking your customers to vote on which activities they think look the most fun from your latest tour

You can even add snippets from some of your most popular Stories to your highlight reel. This helps expand the impact of your Instagram bio.

3. Create tons of reels

Reels are one of the most exciting new features offered by Instagram, and they’re great for capturing the attention of all kinds of audiences. Inspired by the fast-paced video snippets on TikTok, Reels give you a fun and interesting way to connect with your audience.

Depending on the reels you create, you can draw in new customers and agents alike. You can show the behind-the-scenes details of what it’s like to work with your brand, and what kind of tours you’ve managed in the past. You’ll also be able to produce plenty of fun insights into what customers can expect when they work with you.

Reels aren’t just a fun way to showcase your services, they’re also a fantastic opportunity to inspire and educate your audience. For instance, you could produce a Reel with an influencer, showing the different kinds of outfits you might pack to participate in different types of tours.

instagram marketing tips

4. Use an Instagram growth service

Sometimes, you’ll need a little extra boost to get your tour operator company off the ground, to begin with. It can be difficult to generate rapid growth with Instagram marketing straight away because a lack of followers can sometimes scare new fans away.

An Instagram Growth Service can help you to get more followers on Instagram fast. Essentially, these companies offer organic strategies to grow your follower count quickly, without putting your brand reputation at risk. A growth service can track down potential followers for your company, based on an insight into your competitors and the influencers you want to work with.

After finding potential followers for your brand, the service “likes” a post created by that individual, which subsequently encourages the user to come and check out your profile. If your Instagram account is already packed full of great high-value content, you should end up convincing new customers to follow you.

As your growth service helps your follower count to grow, you should also find it easier to attract new followers and fans on the Instagram Explore page, too.

5. Hashtag, hashtag, hashtag

No business should start an Instagram marketing strategy without investing fully in hashtags. On Instagram, hashtags aren’t just a way to spruce up your content, they’re a critical tool in ensuring your brand stands out online. Hashtags categorize your posts and ensure users can find them more easily when looking for the content they want.

There are some popular hashtags and trending tags that make a lot of sense for tour operators, like #Travel #Tourism, and #Travelgram. However, it’s important to use a variety of different kinds of tags to generate the best results. You’ll also need:

  • Geotags: Geographic or location tags are excellent for tour operators because they help you attract the attention of people looking for experiences in your specific area. Make sure you always let your followers know where your content comes from
  • Niche tags: Niche tags focusing on a specific type of tour or travel experience could help you to connect with a more specific audience – like someone in search of a world tour
  • Branded hashtags: Branded hashtags include the name of your company, and they’re an excellent way to start building your stores of user-generated content. Ask customers to share pictures of their travels with their followers using your branded tag to build awareness

Keep a close eye on your Instagram analytics when using hashtags, and you should get an insight into which tags generate the most engagement from your followers.

6. Use paid ads

While a lot of the growth you generate on Instagram will likely be organic and supported by the production of fantastic, high-quality content, it’s worth looking into paid options, too.

Paid ads on social media sites like Instagram give you an excellent way to directly target the audience members you want to reach. You can use these ads to pull attention to your latest tour deals or generate new attention for the services you’re offering. You could also use paid ads to specifically reach travel agents and partners to help build your tour operator business.

Ads on Instagram look similar to normal posts, so they’re not as overwhelming or disruptive as other forms of advertising. Plus, there are various ways to showcase your ads, depending on your needs. You could use a video ad to highlight the tour experiences you can provide, or use carousel ads to show off the smiling faces of previous customers.

Like with your hashtags, make sure you keep a close eye on your Instagram Insights when running paid ads, so you can optimize and enhance your strategy over time.

Mastering Instagram marketing for tour operators

The travel-obsessed, and beauty-loving world of Instagram is the perfect place for tour operators to start generating significant growth. With the right Instagram marketing campaign, you can attract everyone from new customers for your tours, to travel agents and partners. No matter whether you’re looking to implement an international travel agency business plan or simply increase brand awareness, there’s a high change that Instagram could provide you with the means to bring your vision to life.

The key to success is constantly working on your strategy. Don’t treat Instagram as a set-and-forget-it solution. Keep building on your campaigns based on what you learn from each marketing effort.

Combing your Instagram marketing strategy with an advanced online booking software will enhance your booking processes. For example, when you use a booking software like Rezdy, the booking journey can start from your Instagram page. By featuring a “Book now” button on your page, it’ll automatically redirect to your website where customers can instantly make a booking.

With Rezdy’s reservation system integrated into your website, customers will be able to see your real-time availability, make payments on the spot, and receive instant confirmation. All while ensuring that your business operation runs smoothly and isn’t interrupted. With Rezdy’s real-time availability viewer tool, you won’t have to worry about overbooking or double booking slots. Furthermore, it’ll reduce your time spent on the phone or answering emails of people wanting to book.

Curious to see how Rezdy is the right fit for your business? Start your FREE 21-day trial or get to know our products better by booking a demo.

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 – Rebekah Carter

Rebekah Carter is a dedicated marketing specialist and freelance writer, specializing in business development, marketing, and technology topics.

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