There are many boating and yachting companies out there offering incredible tours and activities. To truly set yourself apart, you need an effective marketing strategy that is well thought out, has practical and actionable steps, reaches your target audience and ultimately gets you more bookings.
Here are 9 marketing strategies to get you started.
1. Get online, build a website
One of the simplest things you can do to kick start your marketing strategy is to have a website to promote your boat rentals and tours. It should be where you direct all your potential customers to, a place on the web where they are able to find more information about your company, your products and everything else that might be of information.
It should also be equipped with a booking and rental system so that customers who are interested in your offerings can easily place a reservation.
2. Get on social media
Use social media to your advantage. It is the perfect platform for you to showcase the experience you wish to deliver and the team that drives it all. A company who does this well is Catamaran Cruises Mauritius. Check out their Facebook page here.
It is also a great place to talk to your customers in a more personal way. It allows your company to show off its identity and give your customers a preview of the experience they are likely to get should they decide to make a booking with you.
3. Use the right keywords
By now, most of us are well aware that search engines have a great influence over customer decisions. But if you need evidence, here it is: 4 in 5 people who are looking for a boat tour or yacht rental are likely to turn to Google first. Therefore, optimising text on your online platforms, including your website, social media and TripAdvisor accounts is important.
This means that you should include your product and location in your titles, profile and activity descriptions, and even your online ad copy.
Read this article to learn more about search engine optimisation.
4. Tell customers what makes you unique
Just like every other business, you are likely to come up against competitors. What can you do to give yourself a competitive advantage?
Take a good look at your business model and think about the strengths of your company and the potential opportunities you have. If you find your strengths aligning with your opportunities, you are likely to find your competitive advantage there.
Download our strategy worksheet designed for tour & activity operators:
5. Brush up your writing skills
If there's one skill you absolutely need to execute steps 1 to 4 well, it is your ability to write. From the description of your company to the itinerary of your tours, it is your writing that will help get your customers to understand what your tours are all about.
Related reading: How to write a tour description that sells
Your writing should reflect the tone of your tours, the experience you wish to cultivate and your brand's identity.
Why not download our comprehensive (and free) writing guide to help you brush up your writing skills?
6. Use pictures to entice customers
Apart from text, you can also use pictures to show off your tours. Visual content makes up 63% of social media, which means sharing images has become part of our online culture. What more, studies have also shown that the brain processes images faster than words, making images a much more efficient way of communicating with your audience. And the best reason to share images on social media is this - that it increases the likelihood of your content being viewed by 94%. The only caveat here is that your pictures need to be clear and of high quality.
We have written extensively about visual marketing and created a photography guide to help you get started:
7. Send the right message across all communication platforms
One of the key takeaways from three years of marketing studies is consistency, that is sending a consistent message to your customers at every touch point. You need to communicate your brand and your products consistently every time your customer interacts with you, may that be on your website, through social media, a phone call, an email or when you pick them up at 8am on the day of their tour.
This is definitely easier said than done. However, a key to succeeding in this area is to ensure that your staff and guides understand the culture of the company and the importance of excellent customer service.
8. Focus on the experience itself
Don't let your customers down by providing them with anything less than promised. Instead, go above and beyond what was promised. Just like the earlier point, this too is easier said than done.
To execute this strategy well, first and foremost, you need to hire the right people. People who are knowledgeable, who prioritise customer service and who understand your vision. The people you hire will become the building blocks of your company's culture, which will sooner or later, impact your business.
Other ways to ensure that your team prioritises customer experience would be to incentivise them. People are more likely to repeat a behaviour when they are positively reinforced to do so. You could run a competition in the office where the person with the most mentions in TripAdvisor reviews is given a prize, or simply telling someone they did a good job if you your staff going the extra mile to help a customer.
9. Don't forget to get your customers to leave you a review
Remember how I mentioned that people are more likely to search about a specific product or service before purchasing it, or in this case making a reservation? They are searching for testimonials from previous customers because it is viewed as a more trustworthy and reliable opinion. It is also a form of word of mouth, which happens to be one of the most effective ways of marketing.
Related reading: 5 simple ways to get more customer reviews for your business
Once the tour or activity is over, don't forget to ask customers to leave a review for your company. It doesn't take a lot of effort but it does make a world of difference for your business.
Read up on more marketing tips for your tour & activity business: