powering tour and activity businesses worldwide

10 Ways To Grow Your Tour or Activity Business

Growing your tour or activity business takes time and effort.  I've outlined a total of ten marketing tips that you can use to help your business succeed in the busy and competitive marketplace of in-destination activities.  The first four tips are general marketing tips and the last six are online marketing tips.

4 Marketing Tips to Grow Your Tour or Activity Business

Grow your tour or activity business by taking advantage of these 4 marketing tips.

1. Digital Photography

Help your customers remember their experiences by offering them high-quality digital photographs.

Hire a photographer to document your company's tours and activities. Then ask the customers if they want to pay for the digital photos on a per-photo basis so that they can upload them to their favorite social media platforms.

It’s important to offer single photos instead of albums to increase the chance of sale and to speed up the checkout process.

This is a great idea especially for adventure tour and activity businesses. When a customer does something extreme they are likely to want to remember it and share the experience with their friends.

There are a growing number of online photo services that you can use for your business.  Take a look at what PicThrive has to offer.  Their photo sales platform is designed to make it easy for you to incorporate a photo revenue stream directly into your tour or activity business.

2. Food Tours

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Food tours are a great way to expand your business to a new type of customer- the Foodie.

Foodies are food aficionados; They love to eat food, take pictures of food, and go on tours that involve food or have a culinary theme.

Food tours are great for your business because:

  • Food tours generate extra profit: Adding a food component to your existing tour may not require increased costs. Therefore, it’s a great way to generate some extra profit.
  • Food tours help out the local community: Conducting food tours in your city helps to bring money to local restaurants and food vendors.
  • Food tours help your company build relationships: In order for your food tour to work, you need to create relationships with restaurant owners and they tend to have a large community of friends. Tapping into this community will help to expand your business in ways that you may not otherwise have considered.
  • Food tours expand your business: Food tours are for a niche market that would otherwise be potentially uninterested in booking a trip through your company.

3. Offer Your Expertise

Your travel expertise is valuable. Travellers are very interested to find out the best places to visit and why.

Take advantage of your knowledge and share it with your customers.

Offer your customers knowledge via:

  • Books and E-books: Have you ever heard of Lonely Planet? No? Well it’s a guide book started by a couple who loves to travel. You can do the same but with your own unique knowledge to share. Write a book or an e-book on all your favorite tour spots. Trust me, there is a large amount of people out there who want to know what you do.
  • Podcasts: Start a travel podcast where each episode covers a new destination. This is a great way for travellers to learn about their next destination or research about where they might want to go next. Check out Geckos Tale’s 11 favorite travel podcasts to get an idea about what’s out there.
  • Downloadable Guides: Create downloadable guides for visitors to access on your blog or website. You can ask for a small amount of money or offer them the guide for free in exchange for their email.   This is a great way to build a qualified mailing list and get your brand out.
  • Workshops and Events : Conduct workshops and events for aspiring tour and activity operators and establish yourself as a leader in your field. Show them how to build a tour business from scratch or what it takes to run a successful tour or activity business. Since some of the attendees will be your future competitors, don’t focus too much on the core operations of your business, but instead stick to general tips and tricks.
  • Packaged Content: Offer content packages about special destinations or high-quality photographs from your archives of past trips to other tour and activity businesses. This way they have some expert knowledge to share and you get to market your brand via their website or blog.

Create your own resources that travellers rely upon.

Amicis winery tours wrote their own books that help tourists navigate their way through Napa Valley.

4. Same-day Discounts

Offer customers who have just finished a tour or activity special discounts on future bookings.

This is a great time to take advantage of a customer’s happy mood and the fact that they will likely want to go on another thrilling adventure.

You can do this by:

  • Sending a same-day email or SMS message.
  • Asking your guides to mention the discount at the end of the tour.
  • Having advertisements placed in your collateral or around your location and on your website.

These 4 tips are great ways to grow your small tour or activity business. We’ve also come up with 6 internet marketing tips that are easy to apply!

Internet Marketing Tips To Grow Your Tour or Activity Business

Check out these 6 internet marketing tips for tour or activity operators.

1.Get Your Blog On

The goal of a blog is to build a story around the travel experiences that your company already offers.

For example, writing about the best places to surf in Bali will get the reader's thinking about all the great times they can have on the beach, catching waves, and enjoying the sun. Then you can include links back to your website where they can conveniently look to book these activities.

Make sure to create dynamic content that provides useful and valuable information, generates excitement, and is visually appealing.

For example, Ken Kaminesky runs a photography travel blog that is sure to get you inspired to pack your bags and book a trip tomorrow.

Ken’s high quality photography is truly inspiring.

create your own blog that engages customers before they book

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Blogs are a great way to:

  • Direct traffic to your tour or activity businesses website
  • Convert blog viewers to customers
  • Show your customers that you are an expert in your field

Examples of topics you can write about in your blog:

  • Packing Tips for the Minimalist Traveller
  • Why We Love Portugal (And You Should Too)
  • Our Favourite Places To Go Surfing Around the World
  • 8 Unforgettable Family Trips You Can Book Today

Farewell Travels, a custom trip planning website, has an entire section on their website dedicated to blog posts about travelling.

2.Use Social Media

use social media to drive new business for your tour or activity

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Use Social media to promote your tour or activity business. Trust me, everyone is using it!

Try out these 3 social media platforms to grow your business.

Facebook:

Use Facebook To:

  • Develop an online presence with the digital community
  • Share your businesses information: Include your name, location, contact details, etc.
  • Share events
  • Post status updates
  • Share photographs of your latest tours and tag guests whenever possible (with their permission ofcourse)
  • Share contests: Contests are a great way to get the buzz going about your business and make customers feel like they are apart of your business.

Twitter

Use Twitter To:

  • Develop an online presence with the digital community
  • Promote your company culture: By posting short, real-time tweets you are giving your customers an idea of the “personality” of your business
  • Keep your customers up-to-date by the minute
  • Share pictures
  • Link back to your website

Instagram

Use Instagram To:

  • Develop an online presence with the digital community
  • Promote your company culture: Like with Twitter, posting images of your business and the tour or activities that you operate, you are giving your customers an idea of the “personality” of your business.
  • Share Photographs
  • Share Contests

There are other platforms, such as Pinterest,Tumblr, Google+, etc., that you can start using as your tour or activity business grows.

3. Use Tripadvisor and FourSquare

Tripadvisor

Tripadvisor is a great tool that every tour or activity operator should be using. It provides summaries, reviews, Q&A’s and ratings for people looking to plan a trip.

Tripadvisor is a trusted source of information among travellers and business people alike. It is therefore extremely important for your tour or activity business to maintain a presence on this site.

Make sure to:

  • Encourage customers to post a review: Ask them to post a review of your company after they have completed their tour or activity. The more reviews you have the higher your ratings will be.  You can automate this process by sending post trip emails or by using the TripAdvisor Review Express service.
  • Include photos:  Give customers the full experience by providing a photograph of the beautiful destinations they are searching.
  • Include detailed descriptions: To complete the full experience, include detailed descriptions of the destinations so that your customers knows exactly what they are getting themselves into.

 

Foursquare

Foursquare is another searchable online platform that your tour or activity business should be using.

Claim your tour or activity business on Foursquare so that you can provide contact information, include your social media links, and post your promotions for new or past customers.

Foursquare also allows for customers to check-in to your business and let their friends know where they are and what they are doing. This is a great way to spread the word about your tour or activity business.

Check out this article by the SocialMedia Examiner on 10 ways to market your business on Foursquare.

4. Use Voucher Sites

Voucher sites, like Groupon and LivingSocial, are a great way to boost your sales during the low season or encourage customers to make last minute purchasing decisions. They are also a great way to spread the word about your business as well as provide customers with a great experience at a discounted price.  Just be sure to take into account the costs involved in selling through these sites.

Take advantage of 12 of the best voucher sites as rated by Babble.

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5. Advertise Your Business

Use tools like Google Adwords to advertise your business.

Start off small with a simple budget and see where it takes you. Make sure you use the correct keywords to get your ads noticed by the right people. Also, try using Google Analytics to track your results.

6. Use An Online Booking Software

Booking a tour or activity can be a tedious and time consuming task, especially if it involves picking up a phone or sending email messages back and forth. Make it easier for your customers by using an online booking software, like Rezgo, that lays out all the steps simply and efficiently.

A great online booking software provides secure online and mobile booking capabilities, pricing and availability control, customer management, reporting, integration with payment processing, as well as distribution through online travel agencies like Expedia and Viator.

Using a trusted and professional online booking software that makes booking tours simple and secure for your customers, will help your business grow both online and offline.

Written by

Stephen is the CEO and Co-Founder of Rezgo. He has been working as a travel & tourism technology consultant since 1995. Stephen is active in fostering tourism technology and is a Past Chair of the OpenTravel Alliance. He is also a regular contributor for Tnooz, a leading travel technology media site, and speaks regularly at conferences around the Globe on travel & tourism technology, messaging standards, and industry trends.

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