Whether you’ve been in the tourism industry for decades or just getting started, it’s likely that you’ve found yourself lost in the maze of marketing struggles. After all, tour marketing is notoriously difficult. It’s hard to stand out from the crowd when everyone else is vying for the attention of the same adventurous souls.

But that doesn’t mean effective tour operator marketing is impossible. With the right tour marketing strategies in place, you can attract the right audience to your business.

In this tour marketing guide, we’ll equip you with the tools and knowledge to conquer the challenges of marketing and marketing in the dynamic tourism industry.

1. The importance of sales and marketing for tour operators

In the competitive world of tourism, effective tour marketing and sales strategies are vital for the success of tour operators. While often used interchangeably, sales and marketing serve distinct roles in driving business growth and attracting customers.

Sales vs marketing

Sales and marketing are two complementary functions that work towards a common goal – generating revenue and increasing tour sales and customer engagement. However, they differ in their approaches and objectives.

Sales: Sales focus on the direct interaction with potential customers to convert leads into bookings or sales. Sales representatives are responsible for building relationships, addressing customer inquiries, negotiating, and ultimately closing the deal.

Marketing: Marketing, on the other hand, involves a broader set of activities aimed at creating brand awareness, attracting leads, and nurturing customer interest. Tour business marketing encompasses strategies and tactics for promoting products or services for tours, attractions or activities to a wider audience.

2. The 7 P's of tourism marketing

When it comes to marketing your tourism business, tour operators need to understand and implement the 7 P’s of marketing. These seven elements are essential for developing a comprehensive tour operator marketing strategy:

  1. Product: The core offering of the tour business, which includes the tours, experiences, and services provided. Creating unique and appealing products is crucial for attracting customers.
  2. Place: Refers to the distribution channels and locations where customers can purchase or access the tour services. A strong presence in the right locations can significantly impact a tour operator’s success.
  3. Price: Determining the right pricing strategy is vital to strike a balance between attracting customers and ensuring profitability. Pricing should reflect the value of the experience provided.
  4. Promotion: This element involves all the promotional activities aimed at raising awareness about the tour business, including advertising, public relations, and sales promotions.
  5. People: The personnel within the tour business play a critical role in customer interactions. Well-trained and customer-oriented staff can enhance the overall customer experience.
  6. Processes: Efficient processes ensure smooth operations, from booking and payment to tour execution. Streamlining processes can lead to increased customer satisfaction.
  7. Physical Evidence: This refers to the tangible aspects of the tour experience, such as brochures, website design, social media presence and overall branding. A strong visual identity can leave a lasting impression on potential customers and help you sell more tours.

3. Tour operator marketing channels

Tour operators have an array of marketing channels to reach their target audience. Leveraging the right mix of these channels is essential for improving your marketing strategy.

Social media

Social media has become an indispensable tour marketing platform for businesses to engage with customers and showcase their offerings. Through platforms like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube, tour operators can share stunning visuals, engaging videos, and valuable content to capture the interest of potential customers.

In the realm of social media marketing, there are three major types:

  1. Owned media, referring to the content and channels that the tour operator owns and controls, such as their website and social media profiles.
  2. Earned media, including mentions, shares, and reviews from customers or influencers.
  3. Paid media, involving sponsored posts or advertisements on social media platforms.


In the age of digital communication, email marketing continues to be a highly effective advertising tactic for tour operators to engage with their customers on a personal level. With its ability to deliver targeted messages directly to customers’ inboxes, email marketing plays a crucial role in nurturing customer relationships and encouraging repeat bookings.

Search engines

Harnessing the power of search engines is crucial for tour operators to be discoverable online.

  • Organic SEO: Organic SEO is the process of optimizing a tour operator’s website and online presence to improve its ranking in the non-paid (organic) search results of search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo. An SEO strategy is invaluable when it comes to getting quality traffic. When potential customers search for tour-related keywords, a well-optimized website is more likely to appear higher in the search engine results pages (SERPs), increasing the chances of attracting organic traffic.
  • Paid search: Often implemented through platforms like Google Ads (formerly known as Google AdWords), Paid search is a form of online advertising where tour operators bid on specific keywords to have their ads displayed at the top of the search engine results pages. Unlike organic SEO, where ranking is achieved through optimization efforts, paid search allows businesses to instantly appear in prominent positions for selected keywords upon bidding.

Tour operators

Collaborating with other tour operators can be a mutually beneficial tour marketing strategy. Forming partnerships, promoting and selling other tour operators, or offering combined packages empowers tour operators to expand their reach and attract new customer segments.

Industry events

When it comes to marketing, tour and travel industry events provide an excellent platform for tour operators to showcase their services to a target audience. Industry events also provide valuable networking opportunities to connect with potential customers and industry partners.

Travel agents

Tour operators can benefit from partnering with travel agents and Online Travel Agencies (OTAs). These partnerships can expose the tour business to a broader audience, tapping into the agents’ or platforms’ existing customer base.


Establishing good relationships with suppliers, such as hotels and restaurants, can lead to referrals and collaborations. Satisfied suppliers are more likely to recommend a tour operator to their customers.


Happy customers can become the most effective tour operator marketing tools. Positive reviews, word-of-mouth referrals, and user-generated content on social media and review platforms can significantly influence potential customers’ decision-making.


Partnering with influencers who have a significant following in the travel niche can amplify the tour operator’s reach. Influencers can create engaging content and reviews that resonate with their audience, generating interest in the tour services.



4. Devising your tour marketing plan

what is a passenger manifest

A solid tour marketing plan will form the foundation of any future tourism marketing ideas that your business may create in the future.

Define target audience

The first step in crafting an effective tour marketing plan is to define your target audience. Understanding who your ideal customers are will guide all subsequent marketing efforts. Consider factors such as demographics (age, gender, location), interests, travel preferences, and spending habits.

Honing in on your target audience allows you to tailor your tour business marketing messages and experiences to resonate with their specific needs and desires.

Research competition

To stand out in a crowded market, it’s crucial to research and analyze your competition. Identify other tour operators offering similar services and assess their strengths, weaknesses, and unique selling propositions. Understanding what sets your competitors apart can help you position your tour business effectively and identify areas where you can differentiate yourself.

Set marketing goals

Establish clear and measurable tour marketing goals to guide your efforts. These goals should be aligned with your overall business objectives and should be specific, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). Common tour operator marketing goals include increasing website traffic, generating leads, boosting bookings, enhancing customer engagement, and improving customer retention. Having well-defined goals will allow you to track progress and make data-driven decisions.

Choose marketing channels

With a diverse range of tour marketing channels available, it’s essential to select the ones that align with your target audience and marketing goals. Effective marketing channels for tour operators that you will want to consider include:

  • Website and SEO: A well-optimized website is the foundation of your online presence. Implement search engine optimization (SEO) strategies to improve your website’s visibility in search results.
  • Social Media: Leverage social media platforms to showcase your tours, engage with customers, and build a community. Choose platforms that align with your target audience’s preferences, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or YouTube.
  • Email Marketing: Nurture customer relationships through personalized email campaigns, offering exclusive offers, updates, and valuable content to subscribers.
  • Paid Advertising: Utilize paid search (Google Ads) and social media advertising to reach a broader audience and promote specific offers or tour packages.
  • Content Marketing: Create compelling and informative content, such as blog posts, destination guides, videos, and visuals, to attract and engage potential customers.
  • Partnerships and Collaborations: Forge partnerships with other tour operators, travel agencies, hotels, and local businesses to expand your reach and offer combined packages.

Create compelling content

Content is a powerful tool for tour operators to showcase their offerings and connect with customers. Develop high-quality and compelling content that tells a story, evokes emotions, and inspires travel. Use captivating visuals, engaging videos, and informative blog posts to highlight the unique experiences your tours offer. You can also incorporate user-generated content and customer testimonials to build trust and credibility.

Track results

Measuring the effectiveness of your marketing efforts is essential to understand what works and what needs improvement. Implement tools like Google Analytics to monitor website traffic, conversion rates, and user behavior. Track the performance of your email campaigns and social media engagement metrics. Regularly review and analyze data to identify trends, assess the success of your marketing initiatives, and make informed adjustments to optimize your marketing plan.

5. Tips for selling tours

Here are our top tips for selling tours that both you and your customers love.

Know your product

A deep understanding of your tours is essential for effective sales. Familiarize yourself with every aspect of the tours you offer, from the destinations and itineraries to the unique experiences and inclusions. Be prepared to answer questions and provide detailed information to potential customers.

When you know your product inside out, you instill confidence in your customers and can address their needs effectively.

Be passionate

Passion is contagious and can make a significant difference in selling tours. Show enthusiasm and genuine excitement when discussing your tours with potential customers. Share your own experiences and stories to evoke emotions and create a sense of adventure. Customers that sense your passion are more likely to connect with your offerings and trust your recommendations.

Know your target market

Tailor your approach to match the preferences and interests of your target market. Different customer segments may have varying motivations for traveling and unique requirements. Personalize your sales pitch and offerings based on their preferences, whether they are seeking adventure, relaxation, family-friendly experiences, or cultural immersion. Understanding your target market allows you to position your tours effectively and appeal to their specific desires.

Have an answer

Anticipate common questions and objections that potential customers may have and be ready with well-informed answers. Addressing concerns promptly and confidently helps build trust and demonstrates your expertise. Having a comprehensive knowledge of your tours and the destinations you offer can also help you upsell and cross-sell additional services or experiences.

Be persistent

In the world of sales, persistence is key. Not every potential customer will make an immediate decision to book a tour. Follow up with leads, stay engaged with interested customers, and provide additional information as needed. Being persistent while maintaining a friendly and non-intrusive approach can eventually lead to successful conversions.

Leverage social media

Social media platforms are valuable tools for tour operators to connect with their audience and showcase their offerings. Utilize platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube to share stunning visuals, engaging videos, and informative content about your tours.

Engage with followers, respond to comments, and participate in travel-related conversations to build a community around your brand. Social media also provides opportunities for user-generated content, which can be highly influential in attracting new customers.

Offer incentives

Attract potential customers with special incentives and promotions. Consider offering limited-time discounts, early bird offers, or exclusive perks for those who book early. Incentives can create a sense of urgency and motivate customers to take action. Loyalty programs and referral rewards can also encourage repeat bookings and word-of-mouth marketing.

Follow up after sale

The customer journey doesn’t end with the sale; it continues with excellent post-sale support. Follow up with customers after their tour experiences to gather feedback and address any concerns they may have. A personalized follow-up shows that you care about their experience and can lead to positive reviews and repeat business. Happy and satisfied customers are more likely to recommend your tours to others, contributing to your tour business’s growth.

6. Summary

A well-executed sales approach, coupled with effective marketing efforts, not only drives bookings but also fosters customer loyalty and positive word-of-mouth. As you incorporate the above tips into your sales and marketing strategies, you can elevate your tour business and create memorable experiences for your customers.

Ready to supercharge your tour business’s sales and marketing efforts? Rezdy is your all-in-one marketing channel manager for streamlining operations, reaching new customers, and boosting bookings. With Rezdy as your tour booking software, you can reach a wider audience through our integrated marketing tools and tailor your offerings to your target audience with ease.

Sign up now for our 21-day free trial and experience the power of Rezdy firsthand.

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