During periods of crisis tour operators struggle with questions like:
Should I lower my tour prices or offer new tours? How to survive if there aren’t enough bookings? How to call the attention of potential customers?
The thing is, tour operators still want to see new bookings coming even though the market conditions are not the best.
When international travel is restricted, the answer to keep your business running is focusing on local customers.
In other words, it’s time for you to develop new products tailored for locals and prepare a coupon strategy to win first-time customers.
Done that, the next step is spreading the word about what you have to offer to your community.
In this article, we will show you some marketing techniques to attract local customers to your tour business whether it is a regular or a pandemic year.
Attracting locals using social media
Let’s say you have a Facebook page for your tours and activities. The first thing you should do is making it easy for family, friends, and other community members to become fans of your page.
You can do that by putting a link to your business’s Facebook page on your personal Facebook profile. Add it to the Work section.
Also, add your company website to your bio, so your friends can easily access your new offers and find out about your tours.
Another great Facebook tool to reach locals is groups. If you take part in groups where your local audience hangs out, you can easily get noticed.
If you have other social media pages, do the same. Wherever you can, link your personal profiles to your business pages and website. Try a solution similar to Linktree if you have many links to share but only one slot in your profile to do that.
- 12 Best Tools for Tour Operators to Boost Their Social Media Marketing
- How to Create the Best Facebook Cover Photo for Tour Operators
Creating Facebook Ads campaigns
Creating Facebook Ads campaigns is a good way to get fast results in attracting local customers to your tour business.
Through it, you can target the audience by location, age, gender, and interests. This way, your ads will be delivered to the right people.
If you need help, check out our step by step Facebook Ads guide.
Facebook Ads also has an option to segment the target audience using emails. That is a good option if you already have an email list of people who live at your location.
If you don’t have one, this is a simple way to start building it:
- Type in Google search box a profession + in [your location] + an email provider inside quotation marks with ‘@’ (e.g. “@gmail.com” or “@outlook.com”).
- Change google Search settings to display 100 results per page, to make the process easier.
- Select and copy all the text of the results page.
- Paste it into an email extractor like e-mail checker.
That’s it! Now you have your first email list of locals segmented by profession. Use it only to create your Facebook Ads campaigns. Remember, never send promotional emails without recipient consent!
Sending direct emails
Invite potential customers and friends to enjoy your local tours and activities through email.
For that purpose, you will need an email list filled with local contacts. Make sure that you were given permission to send emails to your contacts before launching your campaign.
To build an email list of local customers you need to offer something of value in exchange for the email addresses. That can be an ebook, a guide, a small gift, or something else.
Use email marketing tools such as MailChimp to help you build your list. It also has free email templates for you to create professional pieces that will incite locals for booking your tours.
Publishing PR articles in local newspapers
Contact journalists in your destination and share the interesting story about your new local tours.
You can easily find them on social media, searching on Google or accessing local news portals.
Describe your tours in the most appealing way you can. If there is a nice story behind it, the higher are your chances to have it published.
Highlight all the interesting things you have to offer. Don’t forget to mention a special discount for locals!
Optimising your website for local searches
This means, including your local area in the keywords of all the pages on your website. Link to other relevant websites and try to get as many backlinks (links from their web page pointing to your website) as possible.
Attract more local customers to your website by adding location-specific words. When someone types in your keyword plus your city, you’re more likely to rank high in the results when your location is relevant to the query.
When you’re writing the copy for your website, try to connect the keywords to your town or country. For example, food tours Cleveland or hiking in the Alps Austria.
Also, consider adding a blog to your website. That is a great way to increase the keyword volume for your location on your website.
The idea is to have it clear for Google about where you’re located, as most people search for local things to do plus the city name.
Creating a Google My Business account
This tool is essential for you to have better results when selling for locals. Just think about that for a second, nearly 50% of all searches have local intent!
Having an optimized website can totally help you grab a piece of this traffic. But a well-maintained Google My Business (GMB) page will bring your local listing to the next level.
You will not only feature on the top of the Google page for local searches, above organic results, but you also be displayed on Google Maps, which grants you 13% more traffic to your page.
With GMB you can add pictures, videos, your website address, and, most important, reviews about your business.
Soon visitors will be also able to book tours straight from Google! So, don’t lose time in creating your own GMB page.
Using Google Ads
Google Ads is another Google service that has a huge potential in attracting local customers to your tour business.
By adding the right keywords and segmenting your campaign for local searches, you can easily top number one for things to do at your location.
Also, use it to create remarketing campaigns targeting locals who have recently visited your website and use YouTube to run video ads.
The last one is a great option to increase the number of local bookings, considering that videos are one of the best tools to inspire travellers to book.
Improve your results with Google Ads by constantly optimizing it and connecting an online booking engine to your website.
- Don’t miss a booking with the new version of Orioly
- Advantages of Using Online Booking Software [eBook]
All in all, try to incorporate different methods into your marketing strategy to discover the most effective techniques to attract local customers to your tour business.
Once you ace this, you will see bookings coming even during a downturn period!
What about you, do you have any other technique to attract local customers to your tour business? Share your thoughts below or in our LinkedIn group!