With the high season a few months away, what are you doing to maximise bookings this season? One way you can drive bookings is to run a marketing campaign. Find new customers and get in touch with old ones to let them know what tours and activities you'll be running this season.
To plan your next marketing campaign, answer these seven questions.
1. What do you want this marketing campaign to achieve?
I find it easier to create a plan when I know I have an objective to achieve. And I'm sure I'm not the only one.
So, what are your business goals for the upcoming season? How many bookings would you like to secure? What your target average transaction value per booking?
Have a good think about your goals for this campaign before anything else.
2. Who do you want to attract to your business?
Who is your target market for this campaign? Who are you trying to reach out to?
Having a clear idea of who you want to speak to will help you craft a marketing campaign that is relevant and appealing to your target audience.
Who do you want to show around your city? Who do you want to take on a scuba diving excursion? Who do you want to take on a mountain biking trip? Be specific about the demographic you want to reach and think about their lifestyles and interest.
Use this understanding to guide the way you create your marketing content, choose your marketing channels and create attractive offers.
Put your customer at the center of your marketing campaign.
3. What do you want them to book?
What tours or activities do you provide that your target audience would enjoy? Pick 2 - 3 trips that would best suit their demands and create irresistible offers around that.
You can create discount codes for specific customer segments or send vouchers to customers who have already made a booking to encourage them to book another trip with you. Alternatively, you can also create valuable packages that bundle up all your exciting tours and allow customers to pick and choose dates and times that best suit their travel plans.
Whatever you come up with, make sure to feature it in your marketing campaigns to drive bookings.
4. When are you planning to launch your marketing campaign? And for how long?
Timing is crucial for any marketing campaign.
If you're planning a campaign to encourage more bookings for the next season which is, for example, 3 months away, you should start planning your campaign now. Give yourself as much time as possible to plan your campaign, execute it and make changes along thew way.
Remember that it takes time for your customers to do their research and narrow down their options, before finally making a booking with a tour company of their choice.
You can also time your marketing campaigns to coincide with a special event, a seasonal holiday or a Hallmark holiday like Mother's Day or Valentine's Day.
Whenever you plan to launch your campaign, remember to give yourself enough time to plan and research your campaign before launch.
5. What’s your marketing message?
"Every marketing campaign should reinforce your brand’s overarching mission, strategy and positioning story. At a more tactical level, all campaign elements and communication outputs must be consistent with your brand, including its voice, tone, look and feel." - Percolate
To translate: What is the core message of your business and how does campaign strengthen this message?
Therefore, your campaign's message should cover the following elements:
- Your business' core message
- Your brand
- Your offer
- Your call-to-action
6. How will you market to your target audience?
What channels do you plan to use in your marketing campaign? With your target audience in mind, where are they most likely to come across your marketing campaign?
Pick no more than 5 channels to focus on.
In the list below, I've linked the most relevant resources to each marketing channel for you to find out more.
- Facebook Ads
- Instagram Advertising
- Google AdWords
- Online travel agents and marketplaces (e.g. Musement, Viator, Expedia, Get Your Guide)
- Your own website and blog
- Media sites (e.g. travel blogs, local news sites)
- In-destination with fliers, brochures and walk-ins
- Email marketing
When you've decided what channels you'd like to use, come up with a list of content that would suit these platforms. Now, who can create this content?
7. How will you execute this plan?
Now that you've got the details of the campaign down, how do you plan to execute it? Do you have the resources (i.e. time, money and knowledge) to carry it out?
If you work on your own, what tools can you use to help you out? If you work in a team, who can you assign this task to? Who is best fit for this job?
Do your research to come up with rough estimates for this marketing campaign. Consider the number of hours this campaign will take up, your marketing budget (for both online and offline advertising) and the human resources that this will require.
Remember to give yourself ample time to plan and execute your marketing plan. Once you've launched your campaign, keep an eye on its performance and don't be afraid to experiment with different content to see what draws the most engagement and converts curious browsers into paid bookings.
Lastly, when your campaign is done, don't forget to measure your performance. Did you meet your objectives? Why or why not?