Black Friday for tour operators. Leverage the holiday without cutting margins.


3 Nov 2020     |    Blake Ng

Black Friday is for tour operators. In a year where part of almost everyone’s lives has moved online, whether it’s meetings, visits or shopping, more people are booking online now than ever. Black Friday is the perfect opportunity to capitalize on those digital sales and new customers, as for some reason, on this particular day, people are more likely to buy things. But what’s Black Friday?

 

Black Friday is the classic holiday where everyone forgets their morals, pushes things over and screams at the top of their lungs, all for dirt cheap electronics. Obviously we can’t be out in the crowds this year for the usual rush to grab everything in the store, so people will be rushing online to catch the best deals and offers they can find.

The great thing about Black Friday is that people believe they are getting the best deal possible, even if that may not be true. That’s what pushes people to spend more on Black Friday. As a tour operator, you need to jump on board, especially considering the fact that many people now gift experiences rather than physical gifts. When we’re this close to Christmas, it’s a no-brainer! And when you only sell your tours & activities online, you don’t have to worry about the crowds!

So how do you go about leveraging Black Friday for tour operators? The first thing you need is an offering, remember, people, are expecting something good. 

Offer something:

The classic way to do it is to offer great discounts. It works, but it cuts into your margins. So here are some alternatives:

A deal every hour

Showcase a special deal at every hour of the day. This keeps customers coming back to your site throughout the day. It also pressures them into buying the offer, as they only have an hour to decide. Furthermore, people almost never just buy one thing. By only offering one product at a time, you ensure you don’t cut too deeply into your margins while still allowing people to consider your full range of tours and activities. 

Free Upgrade

Don’t compete with everybody else. When everyone is offering discounts, it becomes a numbers game, customers become more sensitive to comparing discounts. So instead, offer a free service or an upgrade, it’s more difficult to assess the value of an upgrade compared to a discount. This immediately sets you apart from your competitors and again, prevents you from cutting too deeply into your margins. 

Extend the sale

I know it’s Black Friday, but there’s no harm in extending it. Your discount doesn’t need to be as great as that of your competitors. Let them sell out on Friday, there’ll still be people who missed out on the Friday sales, they’ll still be in the mood for a good deal on the weekend, and you’ll be there with an awesome promotion. 

Tell people about the offer:

Once you’ve got your promotions sorted, it’s all about getting the word out there. Just like preparing potatoes, there are countless ways to do this. Here are some of our recommendations. 

Email newsletter

This one is an obvious choice. If you’ve got a weekly newsletter or a list of contacts who have subscribed to your mailing list. Newsletters are great mainly because they’re free, but also because they’re highly effective. In fact, according to a recent survey by Adobe, email is the number 1 preferred means of communication from a brand. 

Social media

black friday for tour operators

Social media is great because it’s accessible to everyone. If you’ve already built up a following on your social media profiles, great, just post your promotions on there and you’re good to go. However, the great thing is that even if you don’t have a big following, you can opt for a paid push. On sites like Facebook and Instagram, you can pay to have your promotions seen by thousands of people. You can even target specific characteristics and demographics if you know the people who are likely to buy your tours and activities. 

Please note: Paid social media targeting tends to be interest-based. So, if you’re targeting let’s say ‘young families’ you’ll be competing for advertising bids from the likes of Amazon, ASOS, Walmart, Booking.com etc. That will mean your cost per sale could go up during major retail sales events due to increased competition. 

What’s the paid media solution for operators during Black Friday sales? Be creative with your paid search advertising. Search engine marketing doesn’t have the same sort of cross-over in terms of interests as you see in social media. Instead of targeting ‘young families’ like you might in social, in search you might bid on terms like ‘black friday deals for young families’ that have less competition and more intent by the searcher.

Other ways you might be able to capture your perfect audience in paid search during this time might look like this. If you own a kayak rental tour business you might just have your ‘Black Friday’ ad creative target keyword terms like ‘black friday kayak deals’,’black friday kayak offers near me’ or ‘black friday kayak offers {add your destination, region or country}’ .

These tactics could help you manage your budget best so you don’t reduce your current ROI from your media spend by competing with large retailers and their big budgets.

Partner with coupon sites

black friday for tour operators

Partner with coupon sites like Groupon. They’ve constantly got customers crawling through their sites looking for great deals. You might have to pay a commission, but it’s a good way to instantly become visible to a much larger audience.

Collaborate with online travel agents

Black Friday for tour operators

Run your promotions with sites like GetYourGuide & Booking.com. Again, these organizations instantly expose your business to millions of people all over the world. You might lose some margins when you pay commissions but this also gives you the opportunity to add customers into your mailing lists. You can then continue to upsell or resell your tours and activities to them directly, without paying the commissions. If you’re having trouble finding suitable online travel agents to work with, connect to our marketplace. We’ve got thousands of travel agents ready to help you grow your bookings. 

 

Finally, remember to optimize your website. You’re likely to get a lot more traffic to your site on Black Friday. You need to ensure your website will be able to handle that traffic without crashing. And remember, Black Friday is no longer just for retailers. Black Friday is for tour operators. 

If you enjoyed this article – Black Friday for tour operators. Leverage the holiday without cutting margins. – then follow the Rezdy blog. There are a lot of marketing tools and resources designed with businesses like yours in mind.

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