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How to sell more tours and activities: Tips for ITOs


Use these tips to sell more tours and activities.

The number one priority for any inbound tour operator, especially as travel begins to return, is to constantly increase sales. Businesses that survived the pandemic are hungry for new revenue and are putting a lot of effort to get their share of the travel rebound market. Also, even now as you’re reading this, new travel businesses are popping up. The competition is but rough and plentiful.

So here are some tips on how you can build a reputation that will enable you to sell more tours and activities.

How to sell more tours and activities

1. Use travel tech solutions such as turpal.

With the digitalisation of the travel industry brought about by the pandemic, the way how travellers book trips and agencies sell their products have also changed. Various travel technology solutions have been developed, and one of which is turpal, an AI-driven ecosystem designed to be the thread that seamlessly connects all parties involved in travel, which ultimately increases your sales.

turpal offers a reliable service, customisable to your customer needs and requirements. Being connected to the turpal’s thriving ecosystem gives you access to lots of additional services favourable to the passengers. Another powerful feature of turpal is its Experiences Recommender System which automatically generates recommendations for customers.

All these factors lead to a maximised profitability.

2. Capitalise on the benefits of your product/service.

Focus on pointing out the unique benefits of your service, rather than exerting your energy in competing with your competitors. Ask your existing, satisfied customers for a review, highlighting all the positive aspects of the experience they’ve had with your agency. Most satisfied customers won’t hesitate to give a testimonial – some might even be glad to. Post it on your company’s website or social media accounts.

After all, the goal should always be about providing the best experience to your customer. And that ensures returning customers and good word of mouth.

3. Maximise the online space.

Selling more tours through the online space is probably one of your primary marketing goals as an inbound operator, so don’t overlook the wealth of opportunities that can attract more high-quality traffic season after season.

As more of your customers turn to their smartphones to book travel or seek out information via social media, there are numerous ways to reach out to this responsive market. You can also take advantage of a few proven strategies and methods that will sell more bookings and help you build a loyal customer base.

Marketing your tour or activity business in an ever-evolving space can be tricky. Having your business online can give you a head start over your competitors, especially if your destination is up-and-coming.

How to sell more tours and activities online

Take note of the following to sell more tours online:

Websites/Blogs
  • Generate more interest in your site. Develop a series of blog posts about your destination or a particular activity that many customers have lots of questions about.

  • Focus on your content. You’ll have a stronger online presence when you update your blog regularly with fresh content. Publish informational, educational, and even inspiring blog posts that include a direct link to a particular tour or activity—this is good for the search engines and can also prompt an immediate booking. It also demonstrates insider knowledge about the destination, building credibility among potential customers.

  • Make sure your tour and activity site is mobile-friendly, allowing for a simple and streamlined booking and checkout process.

Email
  • Tap into your existing subscriber list by sending out an exclusive email offer to drive more traffic back to your site. This could be any discount or deal on certain tours or activities. The goal is to generate immediate interest and encourage the recipient to take advantage of an exclusive offer that is only available for a limited time. This strategy can be especially effective during a slow month when you need to stimulate sales. Take note to outline the terms and conditions of the offer at the bottom of the message and verify all links to your site work properly for a fast booking.

  • Run a contest for a free tour package or a new activity you are offering in the upcoming season. This can generate some quick interest in your business, which in turn may encourage some new bookings. You can build your subscriber list by running this type of contest year-round or during a slow season.

Social Media
  • Strengthen your Facebook presence. Stay active so that you can communicate directly with prospective travellers while showcasing your business in creative ways. Selling more tours online requires opening up as many channels as possible for customers to get to know more about your business, stay up-to-date on new offerings and specials, and keep you at the “top of mind” when making a booking decision. You can also encourage customers to send in photos or testimonials of their experience for you to promote on Facebook.

  • Be on YouTube! Release a set of informational videos about different tours and activities or destination guides covering things to do and enjoy in a particular location. Make sure to include links to your website and any social media handles so that the viewer can stay in touch. Establishing a YouTube presence makes your business more relatable and provides “insider” information.

More Tips!
  • Sell more tours with less direct marketing efforts by partnering up with hotels and resorts in the area that can list your company as part of their “recommended activities” on their website or refer more business to you through their concierge. Even something as simple as placing your logo or a small ad on the hotel’s website can generate more traffic and a direct booking.

  • Develop and promote custom tours for a specific market. Think about different customer segments that may benefit from a custom package of tours you offer. Then promote these tours across all of your online marketing channels. Make sure to include direct booking links to the tour package for fast bookings.

  • Invite local celebrities to share their experience online. This can be a simple and effective way to generate some interest around your company and encourage people to book a similar experience.

4. Forge partnerships with local businesses.

Partnering with other businesses in your destination can be a great way to market your product and your destination. When tourists visit your area, they view the entire stay, (activities, tours, and accommodation) as one entire experience. You can deliver a great overall experience to visitors by bundling your products. It also saves your customers time instead of researching and comparing different individual items that make up a whole trip.

5. Sell your experiences on local Online Travel Agencies (OTA).

Working with an OTA is useful as it provides you with a platform to reach the right audience. Another great thing about working with OTAs is that you only pay them when you successfully take the customer on your tour. With such a business model, OTAs are just as invested in your success and they are in their own.

6. Get on directories and listings. People often go to the largest directory available, i.e. Google, when they start planning for an upcoming trip. From there, they move on to TripAdvisor, Expedia, Kayak.com, and so on to book and pay for different travel products. You should be where your customers are searching for information.

7. Offer discount codes to customers to share with their friends.

Discount codes are an excellent way to increase your bookings, especially during traditionally slower times. There are a few different ways to issue your discount codes. One option is to have prospective customers sign up for your email mailing list. Once you've built up a good list, make an effort to stay in contact with your customers by sending them updates every month or so.

An alternative is to provide codes to your existing customers. They can share the codes with their friends and family members, or they can keep the codes to use themselves. Nothing beats word of mouth marketing. Having happy customers share a great deal with their friends will surely help you get more bookings.

8. Upsell products by providing an experience.

Suggesting additional products on top of a standard package is the most straightforward method of increasing your revenue per customer. For example, if your customer is going on a city tour of Tokyo, offer lunch and dinner options to go along with it. Explore and test to find out what your customers want.

Travellers today either buy spontaneously or take quite a bit of time in between deciding to travel and which travel package to book. They do not usually depend on friends and family recommendations to find the ideal travel package. Most also do not rely on a travel agent to book their tours for them. This is because they have a lot of options to choose from (your competitors) and a host of technological tools (Google, hello!) to help them identify and book the perfect trip. Final reminders on how to sell more tours and activities

There are many creative ways to improve promote your tour and activities. Use these pointers to help you better convey your marketing message, to engage with potential tourists authentically, and convert that engagement into actual sales.

Featured image: Artem Beliaikin on Unsplash

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