Prerequisites: You are planning on printing marketing brochures or rack cards for distribution to various tourism outlets and DMO/CVB offices. You also have an online booking engine that will allow you track referral codes or promotional coupon codes.
Estimated Time for Completion: 15 min reading time (plus time to design your brochure)
Details: Every in-destination tourism company (whether it is an attraction, tour operator, or activity provider) prints brochures and rack cards for distribution to tourists. It doesn't matter what market you are in, you will find these brochures in the lobbies of hotels, store fronts, and tourist offices. Hundreds of thousands (perhaps even millions) of dollars are spent on the printing and distribution of these brochures. But how do you actually track the effectiveness of these brochures? How many companies actually track their referrals from these printed tidbits? Surprisingly, none of the companies I have talked to over the years has actually tracked (effectively) these brochures.
Here is a very simple and cost effective way to track direct sales and referrals from your printed rack cards. Using your tour operator software, set a promotional code or coupon code that will discount your tour OR a specific tour price by a a specific percentage or fixed amount. For example, you may offer a $5 off or 5% off coupon. Make sure that when you create your coupon, that the discount is triggered by a specific coupon code that you print exclusively on the brochure or rack card. Your call to action might be:
Book Online & Save $5
(use coupon code "5OFFRACK")
If you want the coupon code to work for phone reservations too then make sure that your tour operator software can support the use of the coupon codes for back-office or offline sales as well. If you want to support phone reservations as well, then your action may be:
Book Online or Call 555-555-5555 & Save 5%
(use or mention code "5OFFRACK")
In both cases now the potential customer who picks up your brochure or rack card has a direct incentive to either call you or book your tour or activity on your website. If they do, then your tour operator software should be able to tell you how many bookings were a direct result of the coupon tied to your rack card.
Note: If you have already printed your brochures then it's not too late to track the referrals. Be sure to add a question to your booking form that asks how they heard of your business and make sure to include "Brochure/Rack Card" as an option. Although it may not be as effective at driving sales because of the lack of incentive, asking for the source could be a useful mechanism for determining where your main sales referral sources are.
Outcome: You will have a brochure with a call to action that you can use for the purposes of tracking the return on investment on your brochure printing and distribution costs.