Staying top of mind is more crucial than ever. The brands that have used this halt to create a connection and a strong relationship with their customers will be the first option for booking when travel resumes.
Right now, spending resources on marketing may sound counterproductive for many tour operators. But actually, it is quite the opposite.
Why tour operators should stay top of mind during a downturn
There are a pent-up demand and a surplus of spending money just waiting for the vaccination campaigns to gain traction.
Because of that, travel websites are experiencing an increase in the number of visitors. In other words, people are looking for inspiration to travel again soon.
Tour operators who are investing in marketing will be ahead when those searches turn into bookings. If you are not one of them, there is still time to catch up.
Inspired by those valuable tips the Good Tourism Institute have listed, we bring you 5 tips for you to stay top of mind and take your well-deserved market share when the right time comes.
1. Improve your website content and design
Your website is your virtual business card, it should be inspiring and functional at the same time.
Try keeping your design clean, mixing high-quality images with relevant text. Also, use videos to showcase your destination and experiences.
Consider adding a city guide, destination tips, and detailed information about your experiences to your website. This type of content is valuable for travellers.
Don’t forget to place calls to action leading the visitor to book your tours. A seamless booking experience is a finishing touch in creating a memorable website.
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2. Invest in Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Being on the top of searches for Google, Bing and other search engines mean establishing your online presence.
Use the time you have now to check and update your website content. Review webpage titles, headers and meta tags to ensure that you are covering the main keywords for your business.
Take this opportunity to activate your blog. Write content that is relevant to your target audience and also write for other travel websites to generate backlinks. Show your expertise in your segment.
Ranking high on organic searches will not only help your brand stay top of mind, but will also save your business from spending money with paid traffic.
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3. Communicate with your customers via email
One of the best ways to stay top of mind is by reaching your target audience via email. This communication channel is so effective because it allows a high level of personalization, turning your message more engaging to the recipient.
Start by sending regular newsletters to your contacts. Share blog articles, inform your readers about the current situation in your location, talk about the safety and hygiene measures you are taking, and announce special promotions.
If you don’t have an email list, time to build your own. Just remember to ask permission before sending marketing emails, otherwise, you will be hurting your brand.
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4. Convince your customers to book now and travel later
The travel demand is real and travellers are just waiting for the green light to set foot on a plane again.
You can work this pent-up demand by encouraging your customers to book now and travel later. Create promotions to give an extra push on sales and inspire travellers using your website, social media and email marketing.
This so welcome cash flow can be used to boost your marketing efforts in generating future bookings. Just remember to set clear rules in case of cancelation.
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5. Be active on social media
Travellers are all the time in social media looking for inspiration for their next trip. Not being present on their timeline means that a huge part of your potential customers are not seeing your business.
To generate engagement you can live stream a virtual tour, create collaborative content with your partners, show the behind-the-scenes of creating experiences and also share user-generated content.
A transparent and consistent communication across all channels is the best way to stay top of mind.
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Bonus tip: Have a transparent cancellation and refund policy
At the beginning of last year, the high number of booking cancellations took the industry by surprise. Many tour operators didn’t know how to deal with the situation.
Today, we know the importance of a clear and flexible cancellation and refund policy. That is one way to regain travelers’ trust.
This documentation should be always highlighted. Place it on your website, social media and send it via email to your customers as soon as they book with you.
It’s possible to stay top of mind even during a downturn. The demand is out there, all you need is a strategy to best communicate with your target customers.
This article gives you suggestions about how to do that. But each tour operator should find the best way to engage their audience.
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