With travel becoming increasingly important to people, it makes sense that they’re reaching beyond their borders to find new destinations. These tourists are eager to see new places and do exciting things. They need great tour companies to make sure that they don’t miss anything.
So how do you reach them and show them that you’re that great tour company?
Be where they are
If you’re a US-based tour operator, you need to advertise on Facebook. Using targeted ads plus a dedicated person to respond to Facebook messages will work, right? Maybe not. If you’re looking to reach international tourists, you’re probably better off with a WhatsApp number(opens in a new tab). It’s the leading messaging platform for much of the world. WhatsApp advertising is not currently available, but rumor has it that it’s coming in 2020.
For those of you courting Chinese tourists(opens in a new tab), WeChat is a must. If you want African tourists(opens in a new tab), make sure your website is viewable in the Opera browser. In short, consider where your audience spends time online, not where you do.
Show off your expertise
Remember that these foreign tourists (and even some domestic ones!) don’t know about your area. They’re likely visiting for the first time. They’ll be looking for places to eat, neighborhoods to explore, and more. You are the expert. Show them!
Having a blog is a great way to show people that you really know your stuff. Tell them the top 5 places for local cuisine. Write about the best way to get around town. Think about the questions you’re frequently asked and pre-empt them with a blog post. This will show your future customers that they can count on your tour website for great information. Shameless plug alert: Tourism Tiger now offers blog writing services for those tour operators who are too busy or too shy to write their own. Get in touch(opens in a new tab)!
Answer their questions
Similar to blogging, you should have a social media presence(opens in a new tab). Don’t just post photos from your tours (but definitely do that!), join conversations. When you see a relevant article posted, make a comment or share it. When someone asks about your town, answer their question from your business profile. This will help get your name out there and connected to your location.
You can easily incorporate this into your daily routine. On Monday, get on Twitter and search (for example) sightseeing, NYC, Brooklyn. Respond, like, and retweet as appropriate. On Tuesday do the same for Instagram, and so on for whatever social media you use. A few minutes a day could add up to a lot of sales.
Speak to them
It’s somewhat reasonable to expect your customers to speak your language, after all they are in your country. But sometimes we just want to see Rome without spending years learning Italian. If you’re serious about tourists from one area, consider speaking their language.
Of course, you don’t have to personally learn every language, but if you want Polish tourists, you’ll definitely get more if you advertise that you have a Polish-speaking tour guide. Even just having your tour information in Polish is more likely to attract them than English-only. Just remember: be open and honest about what languages your guides speak.
Even without guides, people are more likely to have a favorable opinion of companies who make information easy to understand. Think about adding some translations to your website. You don’t have to go overboard. There’s no sense in adding a translation for a language that few people speak and who you aren’t actively targeting. Adding 1-2 languages to your site can make it clear that you care about, and have experience with, international tourists.
If you start using any of these suggestions, you’ll be in a much better position to attract international tourists than you are now. Some of them can be started today, but try not to get ahead of yourself. Take some time to consider who your ideal client is, where they are, and what they need before jumping in.
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