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Tourism Best Practices

Does Your Tour or Activity Business Need a Newsletter?


Does your tour or activity business need a newsletter?  That depends greatly on what the newsletter is about and who your target audience is.

For years, marketers have been preaching that small businesses should have an email newsletter in order to keep customers engaged and to make sure they are aware of upcoming specials.  But does that strategy work for tour and activity companies?  It depends.  Now that everyone is using newsletters as a marketing tool, it’s even more important to make sure that your newsletter is valuable and timely.  Get it wrong and you could end up alienating the very customers you are trying to reach.

If you are thinking about publishing a regular newsletter or already publish one for your tour or activity business, you need to consider these five important points.

  1. Are your customers a good target for your newsletter?  Think about it, are your customers actually likely to come back and use your services again?  If you are like most tour and activity operators that depend on one time inbound tourist traffic, the chances are quite low that the majority of your customers are going to come back to you.  If however, you are a tour or activity operator that has a strong local following, then a newsletter might make sense.  But in this case, you’ll probably want to differentiate your one time customers from your repeat local customers and subscribe the locals to a specific list.
  2. Is your content relevant to your customers?  Given what you have now read in point 1, is your content relevant to your local customer base?  Are you offering local only specials and deals to bring in your repeat customers.  Are you providing them with incentives to bring in their full paying out of town guests?  If you are not engaging with your local and repeat customers in a way that is relevant to them, the likelihood that they will continue to read your newsletter is low.  People have very little time to ready things these days.  Your newsletter needs to be enticing and immediately relevant to your audience or you will lose them.
  3. Can you be consistent?  One of the toughest things about publishing a newsletter is maintaining the schedule.  Do you have the resources to publish a newsletter every month?  If you don’t, consider doing a newsletter once a quarter instead or base it special times of the year that coincide with special events.  Perhaps you offer a Romance package at Valentines Day or a special Mother’s Day tour.  These are opportunities to bring in your local customers and engage in a relevant way.
  4. Is email marketing part of your ongoing strategy?  Have you thought about making your newsletter part of your overall marketing strategy or are you just doing it because that’s what everyone else does?  Be serious with your efforts and plan your email marketing strategy appropriately.  For example, make sure you use a good email marketing platform, for example MailChimp or ConstantContact are both good choices.  Make sure you ask for permission before adding someone to your list.  Be sure to plan out your content development and offerings accordingly.
  5. Can you measure the results of your efforts?  Like all marketing campaigns, you should be able to measure the success of your marketing through specific metrics.  For example, when you send out a newsletter to your customers, use your newsletter systems open and click tracking to see how many people are actually opening your newsletter and how many are actually clicking through to your offer or landing page.  In addition, add a referral code to the link so that you can track conversions on the bookings.  By doing this, you’ll be able to see how much revenue you are actually generating based on your newsletter efforts.  If you see that newsletters are a valuable way to drive more business, then you can always enhance your efforts.

At the end of the day, how successful you are with your email marketing will depend on these five things. If you overlook your audience, strategy, content, timing, or metrics, you are probably not getting 100% out of your email marketing efforts.  Like everything else in your business, your marketing needs to reflect your brand and engage your customers in a positive and consistent way.  Good Luck!


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