As a small business, your resources are limited for just about everything. However, you know that investing in marketing and promotion is essential to helping your business grow, because it is so closely tied to sales.
Fortunately for the small tour and activity operators today, the Internet provides a quick and easy way to get the word out about your business, and many of these online marketing strategies are relatively inexpensive. Social media accounts, for example, do not cost anything to set up and if you maintain them yourself, you won’t see any overhead costs other than time.
The following avenues will help you promote your tour business and attract new customers from across the globe:
1. Social Media
Social media is one of the best ways for any small business to develop its presence in the online community, and the results of a successful campaign are tangible. Social media allows people to connect with your business in new and exciting ways, as well as quickly spread the word about your location to friends and family.
When starting a social media campaign, it’s important to choose a few different account types and develop those accounts completely before joining additional networks.
Most small travel businesses will begin their social media campaign with a Facebook account and a Twitter account. Along the way they might add other relevant accounts, such as Instagram, Blogger or Flickr.
Facebook allows you as a tour operator to post status updates about recent happenings with your business and the area you are located in. These status updates will range from quick-hit news items, links to relevant stories and simply fun thoughts, but they also might provide customers with details on an upcoming promotion or contest.
Facebook is a great way to add photographs of recent tours, as potential customers will want to see exactly what they are going to experience when they book a tour or activity with you. For instance, if you offer whale watching tours, consider posting a few photos each week of the whales that you see. It will get people interested and excited in what you have to offer.
Contests are also a great way to get people involved on Facebook, as most contest rules require participants to share information about the company with their friends. It spreads word of mouth and generates buzz about your company, and a lucky winner will get a prize such as a free tour or a discount.
Twitter allows you to post quick information for your followers, and often includes newsworthy information, promotional information and contact information. You only have 140 characters to get your point across, so it’s important to be witty and creative. A quick Twit pic can go along way as well, enticing people who are following you to check out your website for more information.
Since social media is being used more and more, tour operators need to know how to use social media for their business, so that it has a positive impact on revenue.
TripAdvisor should be a priority for tours and activities because it has become a top resource for people who are planning vacations, as it is known for being reliable and trustworthy. This site provides a comprehensive summary of many of the attractions in any particular city or area that people are visiting. In addition to the summary, users can get on and post reviews of their personal experiences. There is an opportunity to add photographs as well.
That is why this is an important site to develop a presence on, as it is trusted by travelers and businesspeople alike. Ask people who have enjoyed your tour to get on Trip Advisor and help you develop your page. The more reviews you have, and specifically the more positive reviews you have, the better ranking you will earn.
Keep looking for ways to improve your TripAdvisor listing. You will be thrilled the day you log on to Trip Advisor and see your business as one of the top-rated things to do in your city.
3. Voucher Sites
Voucher sites have become a great way to generate buzz about your business. Popular voucher sites include the likes of Groupon and Living Social, and they allow you to create a daily deal that works for your business.
For instance, you might offer an extremely discounted tour during one of your slow months to help boost your sales.
This is a great way for customers to discover your business, and when they enjoy their experience, they will be more likely to recommend you and help you spread the word online as well.
Where should you start?
People who are planning trips and making reservations are getting most of their information off of the Internet before they go. The Internet has changed the way that people travel, in the sense that travelers are able to see and experience a place online before they ever make a reservation.
Perhaps you offer double-decker bus tours in an action-packed city, or maybe you provide surfing lessons off of the coast. Either way, you will want to develop your reputation not only in your own community but across the global travel community as well.
As a starting point:
* Launch a social media campaign to get people talking, and provide them with the best deals around so they can’t pass your tours up.
* Take advantage of the senses, and provide your customers with a 360-degree experience when they visit your website including photos, videos and reviews. Do this on your own website and on TripAdvisor.
* Partner with voucher sites to build awareness of your tour or activity.
Your business might be smaller than that of a corporate conglomerate, but that doesn’t mean you can’t beat your competitors with online marketing. Use your niche and local expertise to showcase to the world your amazing services and the experiences that you offer, and before you know it, you will have a full plate of reservations every day!
Justice Donatus, SEO Expert
firstname.lastname@example.org | 0765083540