With international travel at a standstill and the OTAs’ marketing budgets reduced to bare bones, this was a summer unlike any other for tour and attraction operators. And, to be brutally honest, it looks like these trends will continue for the next six months at a minimum for many destinations, making for a tough road ahead.
That doesn’t mean it’s time to just sit back and hope for the best. Transformational moments like this are actually the ideal time to invest — even if all you have to invest is your time and effort. While travelers wait out the pandemic at home, one of the biggest areas of opportunity we see for tour operators like you is to use this time to transform your channel mix by focusing on things that will make it easy, and delightful, for travelers to find and book your experiences directly.
But what does that mean, and how does one get started?
For our client Cape Byron Kayaks in Australia, that meant updating their site to clearly communicate with potential travelers, and then testing into efficient marketing efforts designed to drive local experience seekers to book directly. Those efforts helped Cape Byron Kayaks come out of this year’s winter holiday period with nearly as many bookings as last year, and more money in their pocket due to a major shift in their channel mix.
That was clearly the right path, and the right investment, for Cape Byron Kayaks; however we know these investments won’t be one-size-fits-all. Each of you has a unique product, a unique market, and unique challenges to overcome. The one thing you have in common: The time to transform your business between now and when travel returns at full speed.
In this guide, we hope to give you ideas on the things you can do now to prepare for the return of travel, both locally and internationally. We’re calling it your “Downtime To-Do Checklist.” It spans a breadth of opportunities, from revisiting your brand and mission statement to how you can attract local travelers through content, social media, and email.
We hope you find one or all of these useful. And, if you need a little help, we’re always here to lend a hand.
Thanks, and best of luck!
Your downtime to-do guide:
- Capture local bookings now: TourismSolved co-founder Simon van Wyk shares 4 insights for the tour operator who needs to shift focus right now from international travelers to your new customers — locals.
- Take this time to build your brand: Our Head of Brand Marketing, Michael Lattig, dissects what “brand” even means, and how you can develop a compelling brand story that positions you to capture more business once travel returns.
- Optimize your content for search engines (SEO): Amazing content is an evergreen asset that many operators overlook, despite its proven value in attracting potential customers. Content Strategy Advisor, Kate Cornell, offers easy ideas on how you can create and refresh content for your website to get Google’s attention, and drive free traffic to your site.
- Boost engagement on social media: More and more travelers are turning to social media for inspiration about what to do on vacation. Our social media coordinator, Anika Sands, takes you through some tried-and-true ways to raise awareness and gain followers on your social media channels such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
- Win the customer lifecycle: Did you know that the average traveler spends 42 days planning and booking their trip? That makes it critical to capture their interest early, then stay on their radar as they navigate from dreaming to booking. Our head of agency, Simon, helps you chart a path to winning their bookings here.
So how is your to-do list looking? Please reach out if you have questions, or would like to receive a digital fitness assessment to get started.