When people are thinking of who to go on a tour with, they are focused on the itinerary and the trust they have in the provider. That need for trust only escalates the longer the tour will be, from 2 hours to multiple weeks.
In your marketing, just sharing the itinerary and testimonials would get too repetitive. There are more nuanced ways you can approach those questions and concerns potential customers might have. This content can attract them to your company before they even know what activity or trip they want to go on so you can present them with options.
Your brand will define a lot of what you talk about and show, as well as your niche. Maybe you offer short tours of a few hours, so it’s all about fitting it in. Maybe you sell tours that last multiple weeks, serve a certain age group, focus on food, a certain mode of transport or hiking, or the price point you cater to. Being clear across all of your marketing to personify that brand, helps you to attract the right people who will book confidently and enjoy the tour with the other customers.
For a tour company, you’re best to include the following on your website:
For best search engine optimisation:
The age and interests of your audience will decide which platforms you should use to get in front of them, rather than the ones you know. If your target audience age stays the same, you’ll need to evolve with the platforms over time. You may need to add new ones if you’d like to retain your aging audience and reach younger demographics as well.
In general, Facebook skews the oldest, and TikTok skews the youngest. LinkedIn could be a place to share if you specialise in remote working trips or business retreats.
Pinterest is an option that is part social, part search, with the ability to save pin to themed boards. This helps you to gain visibility to people who can then save your images and graphics for future trips. Pinterest has the earliest behaviour for shopping, with large percentages of people saving for seasonal holidays months before advertising starts, so you can get ahead in the same way.
Social media is a great space to advertise in ways that grow your brand awareness. This would usually mean avoiding advertising to those who have not been to your website in the past 6 months, instead of stalking people as soon as they leave your website with a generic brand ad.
Varying your content is the best bet, with a focus on your niche. If you offer a few types of trips, you might like to target different audiences based on the content for each ad.
If you release new tours sometimes, you may like to advertise those to people who have engaged with your content and visited your website in the past.
Google Search ads, display ads and YouTube video ads could be a great fit for this type of business. You can focus search on keywords and phrases relating to your locations, trip styles and general tours.
Display and YouTube ads can target those who are interested in travel, and might have shown an interest in the area you are running a certain tour, or those who live within a reasonable drive of your local tours, who might want to have a day out. You can also select hobbies or interests your tours are based on.
This influencer option could go one of two ways. You might have a local celebrity who people follow nationally or internationally and work with them to give them a free or paid trip with you for them to document. You may also choose to work with some people who reach out to you before they travel to your area with their media kit. On the other hand, you may work with content creators by collaborating on a tour with them, possibly to adapt the itinerary slightly, and sell a tour they will be a fellow “customer” on.
Either way, your focus is on their existing audience, so it is best to let them take the creative reigns to best align the tour or content to their followers.
For local based tour companies, who may allow people to book a tour with only a few hours or days notice, it can be important to boost your awareness across local businesses. This might include sharing business cards or posters with local hotels, having flyers available at your local information centre, or collaborating with small businesses to offer combined experiences.
You might like to create a group for those planning to visit your city, so you can showcase your tours, but also give advice and host a space for people to share their own knowledge. This can become a more dedicated group if your city is one that is visited many times in someone’s life, since they’ll want to continue to share and get new tips for their next visit, instead of leaving once their trip is over.
If you offer a larger volume of tours, where people feel drawn to your style but can visit many places, the options on how you can foster an online community open up.
If your tours focus on a certain element of lifestyle, the online community can help them feel connected or accountable in between trips.
You may choose to run this on a tool like Mighty Networks, as it allows for a forum where people can post questions and interact with each other, as well as resources, courses and an events calendar.
Email marketing is a reliable form of marketing, that is especially useful if you offer multiple tours to different places, so people can stay subscribed after their first tour with you. This then allows you the space to share sneak peeks and announcements about new trips.
Flodesk has a great range of templates and the platform makes it super easy to set up. If you want your email marketing platform to serve as a type of client relationship management (CRM) tool you might like to check out Hubspot, or use Zapier to connect your chosen email platform with another tool.
So that people stay subscribed and start to grow more excitement for your tours, you should continue to share valuable content with them, behind the scenes, new tours, allow them to register interest before you release pricing, or let them know about sales or discounts. Compared to other businesses you might email your list less, either monthly or quarterly instead of weekly, since you may not have enough of value to send.
If your business focuses on conversation, community or the connection to local people, you might choose to host a podcast or be a guest elsewhere to share those stories. Your guests might be your guides or past customers. If you’d rather not have guests, you could host this yourself as the marketer or business owner, and tell the stories without other voices although it would be less conversational.
On the other hand, you may like to start a podcast around your niche instead of your trips, and essentially sponsor your own show on a topic that overlaps your trips. You can then interview people who have never been on your trips, but who have stories to tell on that subject. Occasionally you can mention how you try to foster some elements of the experience your guest has had on your tours.
This could include stories about motorbiking if you offer motorbiking tours, or focusing on female led stories and experiences for a tour company who hosts tours and retreats for female travellers.
Each tour company has it’s own vibe, brand, trips and style of travel that can attract the right audience. Travel is such a widely interesting topic so there is a niche to approach, but the content needs to be clearly tailored to them for them to be drawn to it. As you audit your content calendar and platforms, reflect on how you could better convey the feelings, experiences and outcomes of your tours to tell a more accurate and alluring story.
Disclaimer: This blog post is a small guide to some platforms this business type could use to expand their marketing. It is not a marketing plan or marketing strategy and is not tailored completely for your business. If you are looking for a marketing strategy, let’s chat.