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There are many tips and technique that you as a tour operator can use to improve your marketing. This in turn will help you increase your bookings.

To help you with your marketing, we asked four tour and activity industry experts the following question:

What’s a huge mistake you routinely see tour operators making in their marketing?

Want to see what they think? Just keep on reading.

#1: Micheal Folling, Activity Rez

‘The most common mistake I see tour operators make is they limit their brand to a local area by using the name of their city or state in their website’s URL.

If their business does well and eventually expands regionally, or even globally, then they’ve outgrown their URL.

A good practice is to use a brandable domain that won’t one day be limiting should their company expand out of their local area.’

Michael Folling is the Marketing Manager at ActivityRez, a fully integrated reservation system for tour operators and travel agencies | Follow him on Twitter(opens in a new tab).

#2: Niek Dekker, Rezdy

‘When selling experiences, word of mouth is one of the most important marketing channels. Good reviews, whether online or offline are incredibly powerful. They create trust with new customers. “If my friend says he had a good time, so will I!”

Good reviews come from delighted customers; you can delight customers by providing an experience that exceeds their expectation.

Avoid over promising your tours and make it easy and engaging for customers to share the experience they had with you.

An example on how to do this: It could be more profitable in the long run for tour operators to give photos and videos of the tour away for free. Tour operators should acknowledge the value of customers sharing photos on their social media, after all a photo says more than 1000 words.’

Niek Dekker is a Marketing Manager at Rezdy, an online booking software for tours, activities, attractions, rentals and everything bookable | Follow @rezdy_com on Twitter(opens in a new tab).

#3: Tania Shirgwin, Bizeez Communications

‘A huge mistake tour operators currently make is not employing storytelling in marketing. Storytelling in tourism marketing will only get more prevalent as social media grows.

A great work around is to get the customer to do the heavy lifting by curating and sharing their content from the Share Stage of the travel cycle. How can this be done?

One approach is posting a sign such as Connect with Us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter and when sharing your tour photos please use our #hashtag. Put this information on your website, signs in your tour office, brochures and remind them when on tour.

Tour operators regularly ask for testimonials via review sites such as TripAdvisor. So take the customer interaction one step further and ask customers to share their extraordinary tour story using your specific hashtag.’

Tania Shirgwin lives and breathes the digital sphere. As Director and a Digital Marketing Strategist at Bizeez Communications(opens in a new tab), Tania spends her days immersed in the online world specializing in Tourism and Hospitality marketing | Follow Tania on Twitter(opens in a new tab).

#4: Julia Barrero, Xola

‘Marketing is challenging. When best practices change faster than the weather, it’s easy to find yourself at a loss and more often than not, marketing feels like one giant black box.

By preempting all of your marketing efforts with one three-letter test, tour operators everywhere would be a lot better off and marketing professionals like myself would have a much harder job.

Tour operators need to do a better job of asking themselves, “Why?” So, to answer “why,” you have to have a purpose, a goal, and that adds focus where marketing chaos formerly ruled.

So, asking “why” splits the black box of marketing wide open, helping tour operators achieve better results while managing their time and marketing budgets more wisely. There is nothing certain about marketing but there is certainty in the way tour operators should approach it, one “why” at a time.’

Julia Barrero is the head of marketing at Xola(opens in a new tab), a booking and marketing system for tour and activity operators | Like Xola on Facebook(opens in a new tab).

Thanks to all of our wonderful experts for sending these awesome answers!

Want to be Featured? We’re looking for more experts to be featured on future posts. If you’re involved in the tourism industry and you’d like to participate in this kind of thing, just send Stephanie an email at in a new tab) and let her know.

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