In the age of Skyscanner and Airbnb, it can seem harder than ever to encourage people to book directly with you(opens in a new tab). So many different third party companies available and seemingly low prices can attract anyone that is looking for a travel experience. So, how can you engage people and convince them to travel with you today? Follow our tips, and you will undoubtedly attract keen travelers.
Know your niche
You have to do everything you can to not only stand out from your competitors but also ensure that tourists and travelers want to use you. Since no traveler is the same, it’s impossible to appeal to every single one. The key then becomes to know your niche. Consider what you do on your tours as well as what sets you apart from your competitors. Backpacking, caravan RV trips, and multi-day cultural holidays are all different types of niches, but go beyond what you would “label” your company as. That is your unique selling point (or points), and it’s wise to use it to your advantage.
Once you know your niche, get firsthand experience in the market. Interacting with travelers interested in this niche allows you to discover not only their specific needs and passions, but also the problems they need a tour operator to solve. From there, it’s your responsibility to figure out how to solve those problems for them.
The key to encouraging people to travel with you is to provide a valuable service that solves a tourist’s problems in ways that your competitors can’t.
Branding is essential for any company(opens in a new tab). Creating a consistent brand image helps potential customers associate your service with your company. Branding includes everything from your logo, your tone of voice, and the colors you use on your website(opens in a new tab). With the travel industry being so competitive, your company has to stand out(opens in a new tab), both in performance and aesthetics.
Make sure that your branding also connects to the niche that you’re in. For instance, if you’re targeting people who are 60+ years old and like cruises, your branding should be very formal and appropriate to your audience. If you’re targeting a younger, more adventurous audience like Far Flung Outdoor Center(opens in a new tab), you’ll need a bolder design.
Traveling is a social experience, and the travel industry is exceptional in this sense. Relationships don’t stem from marketing campaigns or cheeky advertising (although this can help). They are created from establishing a rapport, and eventually, a bond with your customers.
People need to trust you to travel with you. If they have faith in you, you have the chance to win their loyalty and, with any luck, some recommendations to friends and family. To build these relationships, interact with your customers. When they are traveling with you, make sure that you deliver only the very best service and make them feel like family. Once the experience is over, emails, requesting feedback, and special offers can keep the conversation going. Get creative! Maybe there is something even more unique that you could offer them that is related to your service.
Encourage them to share content
While engaging with your customers, encourage them to share your content(opens in a new tab). This is one surefire way to ensure that your audience promotes your travel service. Maybe you ask them to share their photographs from their journey with you on social media, using a hashtag and a location tag — this could inspire others to take the same trip or at least get in touch with you about your offerings.
A great way to encourage people to share content is through a giveaway. Why not run a competition for the best travel picture and offer a discount for the winner? This will help you build a sense of community, engage with followers, and also reach new audiences.
Create valuable content(opens in a new tab) to share yourself. Photos and videos can go a long way, but blogging is also one of the best ways that you can reach new people. The benefits of blogging are multi-faceted: a blog provides you with easy social media posts, enhances your SEO ranking, and establishes you as an industry expert.
But what do you put on this blog? Write about the topics that you know your target audience and niche will find useful. (We recommend you also use an online tool like Grammarly(opens in a new tab) or the Hemingway Editor(opens in a new tab) to proofread your posts.) An informational post about the top 10 things to know about whitewater rafting or how to get to your remote location are both great places to start. Don’t forget to use those photos and videos to your advantage — a visual break makes any article more readable and appealing.
When it comes to sharing your posts on social media, Pinterest and Instagram are both great platforms to share travel blogs and pictures on. Milk these platforms for all their worth — maybe they even become a substantial part of your marketing plan.
Travel events happen all the time. Attending them will undoubtedly promote your business by getting your name out there, and likely attract new visitors, especially if you’re handing out stickers and another product. Armed with your branding, these little goodies will act as your business cards and help your brand to stick in their mind.
These shows aren’t just filled with potential customers, though — influential experts from within the tourism industry flock to events like this, looking to share their expertise with tour operators. Take this opportunity to network with these and gain new ideas — you may make that one connection that changes the face of your business forever.
You can also communicate and engage with a community(opens in a new tab), without ever traveling to an event. Social media doesn’t just connect friends and family, but it can elevate an online travel business(opens in a new tab). Be sure to use the big three — Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram — wisely and frequently. Other platforms, like Pinterest, can help flesh out your social media presence, but the big three must be your priority.
Using these tools as a marketing platform is the day and age we live in! Having an entire account dedicated to your business will increase your credibility and provide your potential customers with the content they want to see — so no using your personal account!
Encourage people to follow, like, and share (or retweet/regram) your content, but make sure you’re doing the same for others. This is one of the best ways that you can organically increase engagement and reach new people.
Dream destination packages
People choose to travel with a tour operator so that they don’t have to do the planning. Even though the Internet has made it a lot easier, it’s still a lot of trouble to book and plan a great holiday, especially if you don’t know the area very well.
Satisfy those looking for the path of least resistance and offer dream destinations and packages that they just can’t pass up. Take care of all of the details as if it were you going on holiday yourself. After all, your particular amazing adventures that your customers can’t find anywhere else is the main reason why they would travel with you, right?
Make it personal
To really attract people, you have to make your service genuinely individual(opens in a new tab). At the end of the day, every traveler is different. You can’t offer the same holiday that you gave a couple on a romantic break to a couple of young friends seeking adrenaline. If your service seems too generic and impersonal, you won’t attract as many people.
One way to get around this may be providing your potential customers with a quiz that designs the perfect holiday for them. This will ensure that the option that you offer appeals to them and only them. Of course, this can be more challenging if you are offering a multi-day group tour, but think of how you could add a personal touch. If you’re offering a trip around India, you could suggest cooking classes, dance classes, massages, or hikes as additional options.
When you’re trying to attract more people to travel with you, these tips will undoubtedly help you. Engage with your customers, offer deals, and promote the uniqueness of your business and offerings. Word of mouth marketing, both on social media and in person, is one of the most effective ways to attract people to travel with you, too. In the end, your goal is to provide your potential customers with an opportunity that they can’t pass up. These tips will help encourage direct bookings with you.
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