If you're one of the tour operators among the thousands of tour operators around the world, then you know that competition can be fierce.
In 2022 data, there are over 73,000 tour operators in the United States alone, a rise of more than 5% since the past year.
So, it can be tough to stand out from the crowd and convince potential customers to choose your tour over all the tour operators. And, unfortunately, there's no one-size-fits-all answer.
But don't worry – with a dash of creativity and some smart marketing strategy, you can sell your tours better than your competition.
Here, we will outline 5 ways tour operators can increase online bookings- from the backend to the marketing process, to the booking process.
Learn proven strategies on how to sell your tours better than your competition! When we say 'proven strategies' we provide solid data. Read on and start growing your tours online!
Create the EASIEST way of selling tours.
Do you know that 7 out of 10 shoppers leave their carts and do not complete a transaction? That is almost 70%! A figure that concerns almost all e-commerce and tour business owners, including tour operators. Not to mention the 85% rate for those who shop through mobile devices.
What's more! One of the most common reasons for cart abandonment is a long and complicated checkout process.
So how can you stand out and be one of the 30% of successful online transactions?
The answer is easy: Make it easy!
Easier said than done? It is. Here are ways to help you:
- Optimize for mobile online booking
- Only ask for the necessary information
- Use simple design
- Offer a variety of payment methods
- Avoid hidden fees
- Assure users with security seals or badges
- Show checkout progress indicator
Why is it important?
The easier it is for customers to make a booking, the more likely they are to make a purchase.
'Master' the SERPs and use Google Ads the right way.
In digital marketing, there are countless ways of winning the search engine results page. You may think of organic growth hacking, increasing site domain authority, backlinking, and more.
"Approximately 39% of worldwide eCommerce traffic comes from search – with 35% of traffic being organic and only 4% of it through paid search ads."- Organic Search Statistics In 2022, Endpoint Digital
Endpoint Digital published a comprehensive comparison in terms of statistics for paid vs. organic marketing here.
But if you want faster results, Google Ads is the answer. On the other hand, SEO takes time but puts you on top longer and even through years- given the right strategy and execution.
So, market smarter.
Why is it important?
Whichever method you choose, digital marketing will only be effective with the right strategy and execution.
Here is a quick read about weighing the pros and cons of using Google Ads in selling tours online: Sell Tours Online: Google AdWords Marketing
Inspire travel with travel influencers.
"TRUST" is a major factor in why consumers make a purchase or make a booking. Travel influencers are followed by thousands to millions of consumers across social media channels. This means that partnering with these influencers can help you reach your target audience on a wider scope with a 'trust factor'.
A 2022 study by Forbes proves this: "In the past year, 72% say their trust in influencers has increased, while 66% say purchase decisions are often driven by influencers and 64% say that influencers even help them discover new brands."
This strategy follows the same principle as cross-sell or cross-promote marketing. You can do so via other local businesses, online travel agents (OTAs), or any distribution channel.
Whoever you cross-sell with, this creates a symbiotic relationship. You market with their consumers, while they earn from successfully booked guests.
Why is it important?
The more people see your tours and activities, especially with people whom they follow or trust, the more you encourage people or travelers to book trips with you. Simply because they want to share the experience of whom they follow.
Grin.co published a detailed guide about travel influencers and marketing here: How to Find the Best Travel Influencer to Promote Your Brand
Understand market behavior & publish when they're booking.
Fish at the right times. In any strategy, you should know who your target audience is (or your buyer persona) and their behavior. This also applies in the tour business and even to local businesses.
You can try and try a variety of methods, but you can fish smarter if you know who your market is.
You can start with the basics: who, where, what, when, and how.
- Who is your target audience?
- Where can you most likely find them?
- What are their interests and motivations?
- When are they active? When will your tours be most needed?
- How can you reach them? Is it via social media, travel influencers, ads, or maybe through a blog post?
For example, if you sell adventure tourism, then you know your market is not for everyone. Not everyone is after the thrill and adrenaline rush.
- Who: You may target thrill-seekers of young adults to adults.
- Where: Perhaps you can find them on social media hashtags or following adventure travel influencers.
- What: You know the drill, they love the thrill. Entice thrill and adventure through posts and reels. Spice up and set the countdown through travel packages and discounts.
- When: Summertime is usually the most saleable season for adventure.
- How: Reach them where they are, via Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, and Facebook page; or you can reach a wider scope through travel influencers. Not to mention, through offline channels like distributors and local media.
Why is this important?
Once you get to know your market, you can sell tours with a purpose. Thus, avoid hitting the air and getting nowhere.
Scale with the right technology solution.
A carpenter can never build a home without a tool. Likewise, you can not sell more tours without the right tool or technology.
Why? Aside from stellar marketing, attractive travel packages, and the right target audience, not to mention those who operate multi-day tours— selling more tours and activities means more management.
So what features in tour operator software should you look for?
- Full customer support team
- Positive customer reviews in the tourism industry
- Booking calendar real-time update
- Partners with most payment options & fast payment process
- Easily integrates with your website
- Works with marketing tools and analytics
- Single dashboard access to tour operations
- Reasonable price for booking fees
Why is a tour operator software important?
A robust tour operator software can do more than manage your backend. An online software solution improves the checkout process, provides consumer analytics and data, and increases online revenue from increased new bookings.
Do you know that TicketingHub tour operator software have an all-5-star Capterra review since 2017? Read our blog: How Did I Manage to Get All 5-star Capterra Reviews?
Why is a tour operator software important and how can you find the best tour operator software for your tours and activities?
- How to Find the Best Online Booking System for Tours and Activities
- How to Choose a Tour Booking Engine for Your Local Tour Business (Part 1)
- 3 Steps: How to Select Your Tour Booking Software Right
How to Grow Your Tours and Activities Business Better than the Competition
Whether you're a small business or a tour enterprise, there's no one-size-fits-all solution on how to sell tours. But there are proven strategies that work in achieving more bookings.
The secret to marketing better than your competitors?
It's no secret: Market smart, not harder.
"$611 bn per year is lost in the US by poorly targeted digital marketing campaigns."— CognitiveSEO
Know your market and master their behavior, so you can gain their trust and turn leads into conversions. Most of all, work with the right tour operator software and work in the right direction.
Success Stories of Tour Companies Getting More Direct Bookings
- 400% Growth in Ticket Sales for City Tours Belfast
- Lions Water Adventure Park Earning More Than 400% Profit Growth in a Year
- 55 Cities in 5 Years: Secret Food Tours