Recently I spoke about 10 online marketing challenges facing tour and activity providers that are using the internet to market themselves. These included finding the time to use social media, how to grow your email list and more.
Well now I’ve got some good news and some bad news. Here’s the bad news first – there are even more online marketing challenges. The good news? We’ve got some solutions. Read on while I divulge…
1. Getting noticed by influencers
Regardless of how many followers, page likes or subscribers you have, I’m pretty sure you’d like more. A bigger online audience means a bigger opportunity for more bookings. One way to reach that audience is by getting noticed by influencers, aka people who have lots of followers, page likes or subscribers. One way is to work with travel bloggers, another is to partner with DMOs, while another is to engage in Twitter travel chats.
2. Generating ideas for content
If you’re engaging in social media marketing, or content marketing as a whole, you’re going to need ideas. Lots of ideas. Generating them can be tough, but there are tried and tested ways. These include dissecting your website category by category, getting your customers to create the content for you (I’ve written about this not once, but twice, brainstorming and asking Google.
These are just four ways – read more about these along with another six here.
3. Getting involved in video marketing
While video marketing has been around for years, it’s only really getting utilised in the last two to three years. If you’re joining the party, you might need some resources, namely people, equipment and time. If you think you’ve got all of the above and it’s something you want to do more of in 2016 (and you should), you should invest in a good camera, make a plan and install some decent video software on to your computer.
Here are some more video tips I’ve written about.
4. Managing availability
While many of the above are more traditional marketing challenges, if you’re selling actual tours online you’re going to need to manage your availability online too. This is where Trekksoft comes in. Using the software you can manage your online, point-of-sale, phone and mobile bookings in one place. You can also keep your customers up-to-date with automated confirmation emails and much more.
5. Managing online agents
Keeping track of your availability online is one thing. Managing your own group of selling agents is another. Since we’re in the business of selling tours online, this is something else we also have covered. With our agent desk you can create and manage your own group of selling agents so your products are resold by other marketplaces, hotels and more.
6. Accepting online payments
If you want to be able to accept online payments from your customers you’re going to need a payment gateway. One way of doing this is by using our own gateway, while another is by using an external one. Our software integrates with Paypal, Stripe, First Data and other payment gateways.
7. Distributing 3rd party marketplaces
One way of reaching thousands of potential customers is by getting listed on a marketplace. The challenge here is actually making that marketplace. This is where Trekkmarket comes in. If you’re a tour or activity provider it allows marketplaces to access your live inventory, giving you greater distribution.
8. Collecting and publishing reviews
Thanks to smartphones everybody is a photographer and everybody is a publisher. Subsequently, everybody is a reviewer. Having reviews about your product is increasingly important as the days of turning to journalists for advice is almost gone. Trekksoft’s TripAdvisor integration allows you to jointly collect reviews, thus driving bookings.
Just like with any part of any business, to see if you’re achieving what you’re setting out to do, you need to measure your performance. This can be time consuming, but if you know what you’re looking for, it doesn’t have to be.
When it comes to Facebook Insights, you should be looking for consumers and consumptions. When it comes to Google Analytics, you’re looking for traffic and conversion. Finalise what you believe are the statistics you need to track and track them.
10. Managing online vouchers
If you ever plan on running any sort of sale online, you’re going to need a landing page that allows the bookings to go through or a discount code system in place. We’ve got the latter covered in one of our features.
Do you know of any other online marketing challenges and solutions? Comment and let us know.
Would you like to learn more about TrekkSoft? It was designed for tour and activity operators, like you, in mind.
Written by Colm Hanratty
Colm is Founder and Managing Director of digital marketing agency Sixtwo Digital. After running Hostelworld.com’s content and social media for almost 11 years he felt it was time to branch out on his own, using all his experience to educate others in the travel space.