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Marketing Mini Guide: Tour Company

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.

Your Website

For a tour company, you’re best to include the following on your website:

  • Share your story on your website, people like to know why this tour company is the way it is.
  • If you have a small team, showcase who they are. This helps people to feel more familiar, and to recognise the people as they show up for their tour and feel immediately more welcome. If you have a larger team, you might choose to send people a blurb of their guide after they confirm, or once you know who their guide will be.
  • Make sure people can access the entire itinerary of each tour, as well as photos, a description, reviews and the pricing. Ideally they should be able to book directly from your website and at least pay a deposit.
  • Make sure it’s easy for people to make contact with questions, either through a live chat, phone or email. It is best to offer two forms of contact just in case, since if they have a query on the day of their tour, only having an email to contact may not fill them with a lot of confidence.
  • Share photos on all pages that exemplify the type of experience they should have on the tour. If it’s all about the locations, showcase those. If it is more about travelling together, you might like to showcase photos of groups with the landscapes of their trip in the background, with a mix of locations or activities in a gallery. It’s about painting a picture, which might include video.
  • Create feedback forms that are accessible to all past customers so they have a way to give you constructive criticism without it being public. Sometimes people just want to share a small way you could improve without leaving it in a public place.
  • Create specific blogs about the types of travel you offer, or the locations your tours visit. If your company focuses on one city, share blogs that also showcase other activities, places to stay and where to eat, to help them plan the rest of their trip. This guidance can also help them to understand your knowledge of the area. For international tours, you may choose to share information about the weather, cultural differences and other handy tips for each season so people can prepare ahead of their trip. This preparation can help to build their excitement, and also to set expectations.
  • If safety may be a concern for adventure or other types of activities, clearly display all protocols put in place. You can also share downloads or online forms for any consent forms, so this doesn’t become an issue for refunds when people show up to go on the tour or slow down your start times.

For best search engine optimisation:

  • Make sure all possible descriptions of your trips are on your website by showing them on the page as well as in the meta title and description of each page
  • Avoid PDFs and hiding text in images as much as possible, it’s helpful to provide resources for download, but the content should also be on your website so that Google and other search engines can read it
  • Set up Google Search Console to submit your sitemap to speed up the process for ranking, this will then be re-crawled automatically
  • Create a listing on Google My Business and ask people at the end of every tour to leave reviews
  • You’ll have a lot of images, so be sure to compress them so they aren’t slowing down your site and add alt text to explain images for screen readers
  • You are best to design your pages so that the loading of some images and videos are delayed, so that they load only when the visitor is closer to viewing them or clicks a play button on a video embed

Social Media Content

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.

  • Post consistently and engage with all comments within a few days
  • Make the most of trending audios, since so much of your content can be based on visuals
  • Create videos that document each trip you offer. You don’t want to give away the full package, so don’t include addresses or the secrets you share with your customers, but you can show snippets of how the tour would go, with music to evoke a feeling.
  • Share the wider story of your trips, by sharing the details that best play into your own point of difference.
  • Interview your guests to gain shareable clips of what they thought about their trip or their favourite part.
  • Collaborate with your suppliers, partners and past customers who have a following.
  • Share people’s stories when they tag you, and repost their photos into your feeds.
  • Ask permission to use customers’ photos and videos in your own content.
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Social Media Advertising

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 Ads

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.

Influencer Marketing

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.

Collaborating & Networking

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.

Online Community

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

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.

Graphic of various people walking around as if travelling

Podcasting, speaking or guest podcasting

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.

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