Marketing Ideas for Tour Operators During Tough Times

Chip Broyles  |  March 24th, 2020

Thoughts for keeping your tour business...in business.

The last few weeks have been incredibly tough for all of us. And as of this writing, it appears we’re not out of the woods just yet. In fact, some days it seems we’re just about to enter them…

Throughout it all, the Support & Sales teams here at RESMARK have been working closely with our clients and prospects, discussing challenges, ideas, plans, and uncertainties as we look at the weeks, months and years ahead.

And we have some good news!

While these days are undoubtedly challenging and uncertain, no one that we have spoken to believes that the tour and activity space is going to disappear in any way, shape, or form. In fact, the general consensus is that people are going to be craving the types of experiences RESMARK users offer even more, as soon as the world starts opening back up and gets moving again.

With that in mind, here are some of the positive thoughts and good ideas we’ve been hearing from tour operators in the adventure travel sector, who are already planning ahead and thinking about marketing initiatives now, while things are still quiet:

Analysis Blackboard Board Bubble

Staycations

While it may seem a world away right now, traveling will indeed begin to happen again at some point. That said, “stay-cations” will likely be the destination of choice. Folks will be yearning to get out of the house and regain their sanity, but they probably won’t be willing to travel far. Figure out ways now to be ready to connect to people in your city, people in your state, or people within your own country.

Incentivise Local Travellers

We’re all feeling the financial pinch that has already begun, but remember what it will mean to locals to get back out and re-experience what you have to offer. The more you can encourage them to join you, the more immediate and positive impact they'll be able to have on the rest of the travelling public as they begin to travel again beyond their immediate comfort zone. Think of these initial travelers as your own personal sales force. Their thoughts and reviews will end up helping you cater to more customers, and you’ll feel good about spreading goodwill at the same time.

Refresh & Update Your Website

There is no better time than right now to revisit your own website with fresh eyes and a new view on the world. Try to imagine what it’s like for a brand new customer to land on your site for the very first time. Is it helpful? Is it beautiful? Can you easily navigate the site? Updating content and cleaning things up will go a long way when people start shopping again.

Gathering Leads Through Marketing Automation

People may not be booking too many experiences right now, but no doubt they're starting to dream about them. Make sure you’re leveraging all of the lead gathering tools that RESMARK has to offer including Lead Forms and Automated Follow Up Email Campaigns. People are looking for ideas and information. Create some new marketing materials and start growing your contact database now.

Connect With Other Local Businesses

If this whole situation has taught the world anything, is that time is precious. As your first customers begin to return to see you, they’ll be looking for you to help them navigate the world around them as efficiently as possible. Look for other businesses or experiences in your area that may complement what you already offer, and send your customers in that direction. If that other business is doing the same for you, then everybody wins. RESMARK’s TrueConnect allows you to do this with real time availability, so that anytime you book a seat on another user's tour, they see that booking in their RESMARK account immediately! You can also track commissions and net-rates, along with automatically created billing statements between the connected businesses.

Find Something You Can Offer Right Now, Today

Do you have something you could offer your customers or potential guests right now, today? Something free, perhaps? What about offering training seminars or classes? What about some history lessons on the area you live, work, or offer activities in? Especially in the case of outdoor adventure tourism, many of us live and work in the same general area. If you still have access to the outdoors and can take a video camera with you, perhaps you could share some scenes of what your woods, or your rivers, or your canyons look like right now. What a fantastic way to share the love you have of these beautiful spaces, and to share it with folks that will ultimately want to come see it with you. And on top of that, who knows what kind of positive and mindful impact you might have on someone who desperately would like to be where you are...even if you’re feeling like you might want to switch it up and be where they are.

Focus On Direct Bookings

Think less OTA’s, and more YOU. Take the time now to focus on some SEO and learn how to capitalize on keyword placement. The more you can do to drive traffic to your site in the coming months, the more opportunity you’ll have to grow and rebound from all the down time.

Words & Images Are Powerful

Not since man first landed on the moon have more people around the globe been talking about the exact same topic at the exact same time. And right now, it’s happening everyday. It’s important to understand that, but it will also be important to move on when the time is right. Recognize some of the needs many people will have at the beginning, like smaller groups, and hyper awareness of cleanliness. Embrace that as you look at your business, from images to verbage. Words matter, so make them count. But at the same time, don’t linger. People will be ready to STOP talking about the current drama in their lives. They’ll be looking to you and your business to help them move on and feel normal again. Tour operators and activity providers will become more valuable than ever. After all, it’s what we do, that ultimately makes us who we are.

Chip Broyles

Chip Broyles

Chip is a co-founder of WaiverSign , and is currently their VP of Business Development and Operations. He enjoys traveling, spending time with his family, and playing acoustic guitar.
*All information is accurate as of March 2020.
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