One of the main obstacles operators need to overcome to create a sustainable tour business is to keep bookings coming in all year long. With a more predictable and stable source of income, companies can plan for long-term growth.
Here are a few ways you can market your tours and activities in the low season.
1. Target a different customer segment
I recently wrote about segmenting your customer base to help you find a more cost-efficient way to acquire these customers and maximise spend from each customer.
When the low season comes, demand from typical travel segments fall. But if you look around you, who's left? You have the odd backpacker on a year-long trip, a couple of digital nomads (they're growing in number), young couples with no children and of course, your local community.
These are just a few customer segments I can think of and I'm sure there are plenty more. Pick one or two to focus on during the low season, build out a unique offer for them and start targeting them in your marketing and sales campaigns.
2. Sell gift cards
Another great way to get revenue coming in is by leveraging on upcoming holidays and birthdays. You could promote gift cards on your website or in your holiday campaigns.
With TrekkSoft, you can set this up easily.
To start, go to Products > Shop Item > Add Shop Item. Then, select Gift Certificate. Here, you can fill out the details of the Gift Certificate such as the name and the description.
You can also setup your Gift Certificate such that it only works for specific activities, add-ons or shop items. In this case, the gift certificate needs to valued at the same price as the activity. If this activity has multiple price categories, you'll have to create a gift certificate for each category.
Alternatively, you can set it up based on value such as €20, €50, or €100.
For more instructions on how to add this to your website, visit our support article here.
3. Get creative with partnerships
The low season is also a great time to experiment with partnerships to create new experiences and packages.
Think about the other tour operators in your region who believe in the same ethos and values as you do, how complimentary their products can be with yours and how you can leverage on both your networks to bring in new bookings.
You could also consider partnering with businesses outside the tours and activities such as restaurants, wineries, ceramics studios or even a comedy club, to create unique experiences that continue to attract bookings.
4. Leverage on local events
Local and regional events offer a huge opportunity for tour operators to market and upsell their services in unique ways.
Over Christmas, European tour operator create Christmas market tours for travellers wanting to experience a bit of Christmas magic. In Barcelona, our team recently celebrated La Mercè, a festival held in honour of Mare de Deu de la Mercè, the Patron Saint of Barcelona. For 5 days the city was lit up and energetic, a great opportunity to create a unique walking tour exploring the different squares.
You could also setup a stall or stand at a popular local market or a relevant event to promote your services and take bookings on the spot. Some of our customers use our mobile app to take bookings and payments on the spot too.
5. Use 3rd party sales channels
When it comes to working with online travel agents (OTAs), operators are advised to use them to reach customer segments you normally can't reach on your own.
In the low season, when foot traffic is slow and there aren't as many people online searching for tours to book, working with mainstream or niche OTAs can give you the boost you need to expand your reach.
6. Build up a pipeline for next season
As an operator, you've probably gotten multiple enquiries about your tours leading up to the high season. But what about the potential customers who fell through the cracks or the ones who stopped responding? What about those who recently subscribed to your mailing list but have never bought a tour?
All these leads represent a future booking and sale so take the quieter months to reach out to your contact list.
Watch our webinar to learn how to generate demand, segment customers and drive revenue for your tour company.