3 MIN READ Early Bird Discounts: An Opportunity for Tour Operators During COVID-19


7 Apr 2020     |    Ricki Hudson

It might be hard to think of the world after COVID-19 with the sheer volume of news coming through on the pandemic. However, we’ve been told time and time again that the recovery will come to tourism. And when it comes, it will come fast.

We’re already seeing green shoots. Hotel rooms booked in China are on the rebound from the deep lows of February. Cruise lines are reporting strong forward bookings for 2021 already. 

So, how can your tour or activity business keep an eye on the future so you’re prepared to welcome new customers after the lockdown measures soften?

It’s Time to Consider Early Bird Discounts

Stay productive. While you might not be seeing travellers at the moment, use this downtime to prepare your sessions for future months. Start looking at the next shoulder season. Build your sessions out, and apply an early bird promotional code.

There is a notable decline in reseller activity at the moment. Take advantage of this and start driving direct bookings through an early bird discount for future sessions. 

Why Create an Early Bird Discount?

People are spending more time online than ever before. And, people are looking forward to getting out of their lockdown. Now’s the time to capture that interest and turn it into bookings.

This is an opportunity to take cash flow during the travel restrictions, and operationally prepare your business to take those bookings at a future date.

You might find that your sessions fill during this period. Your tour or activity business can look forward to increasing capacity when the rebound really hits. Short term cash flow relief, and strong forward bookings into the recovery period could combine to create a really strong season you may not have been able to otherwise.

How Could You Promote Your Early Bird Discount?

Email marketing.

Your contact database is the best place to start. Send your early bird discount for your tour or activity to your past guests and subscribers. Strong email offers are frequently forwarded between friends and family. You will gain both new bookings and new subscribers. Both critical during the business survival phase of the pandemic.

Paid online advertising.

Advertising prices are declining as larger businesses that target your terms or audiences on advertising platforms like Google Ads and Facebook. You might be able to find discrete audience groups where advertising is significantly cheaper than it used to be. Take advantage of grants offered by these two platforms. Google is offering Ad credits for small and medium businesses. Facebook has released US$100 million in small business grants. 

Local area marketing.

Think local. All the data suggests that in times like these, tourism recovery will start local. Talk to your local business networks and help them help you get your offer out. You may even consider a specific early bird discount for friends and family in your destination. 

SEO (Search Engine Optimisation).

Make sure you consider your keyword terms when building out pages associated with your business and early bird discounts. Perhaps you may want to consider a specific landing page that’s optimised to this end for such a campaign. Read our SEO Masterclass article for a refresh.

Cancellations and Refund Policies

Before you get started, check in on your cancellation and refund policies. You might want to have a specific policy for an early bird promotion for your tour or activity. This could include no refunds if the guest cancels but your business can operate. Specific rules for people overseas who could still be in lockdown and so on.

Remember to be empathetic when writing a new cancellation policy for this type of promotion. And you will need to be flexible in the case of lockdown measures that may be in place in other markets besides your own.

How Do You Create a Promo Code in Rezdy?

Promo codes are available on all Rezdy Booking Software plans. They’re easy to set up. Simply follow the promo set up guide for existing customers. If you’re considering Rezdy, you can access promo codes during your 21 Day Free Trial.

If you’re looking for additional ways to sure up cash flow during COVID-19, you may like the article  ‘Ideas for Monetizing Tours’.

Written By – Ricki Hudson – Marketing Manager – Partnerships & Acquisition, Rezdy

Ricki has worked at Rezdy since 2018. Ricki has nearly 15 years of marketing experience, predominantly in the tourism sector. Ricki is passionate about helping the sector grow through strong eco-systems and networks to the betterment of the industry.

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Early Bird Discounts: An Opportunity for Tour Operators During COVID-19

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It might be hard to think of the world after COVID-19 with the sheer volume of news coming through on the pandemic. However, we’ve been told time and time again that the recovery will come to tourism. And when it comes, it will come fast.

We’re already seeing green shoots. Hotel rooms booked in China are on the rebound from the deep lows of February. Cruise lines are reporting strong forward bookings for 2021 already. 

So, how can your tour or activity business keep an eye on the future so you’re prepared to welcome new customers after the lockdown measures soften?

It’s Time to Consider Early Bird Discounts

Stay productive. While you might not be seeing travellers at the moment, use this downtime to prepare your sessions for future months. Start looking at the next shoulder season. Build your sessions out, and apply an early bird promotional code.

There is a notable decline in reseller activity at the moment. Take advantage of this and start driving direct bookings through an early bird discount for future sessions. 

Why Create an Early Bird Discount?

People are spending more time online than ever before. And, people are looking forward to getting out of their lockdown. Now’s the time to capture that interest and turn it into bookings.

This is an opportunity to take cash flow during the travel restrictions, and operationally prepare your business to take those bookings at a future date.

You might find that your sessions fill during this period. Your tour or activity business can look forward to increasing capacity when the rebound really hits. Short term cash flow relief, and strong forward bookings into the recovery period could combine to create a really strong season you may not have been able to otherwise.

How Could You Promote Your Early Bird Discount?

Email marketing.

Your contact database is the best place to start. Send your early bird discount for your tour or activity to your past guests and subscribers. Strong email offers are frequently forwarded between friends and family. You will gain both new bookings and new subscribers. Both critical during the business survival phase of the pandemic.

Paid online advertising.

Advertising prices are declining as larger businesses that target your terms or audiences on advertising platforms like Google Ads and Facebook. You might be able to find discrete audience groups where advertising is significantly cheaper than it used to be. Take advantage of grants offered by these two platforms. Google is offering Ad credits for small and medium businesses. Facebook has released US$100 million in small business grants. 

Local area marketing.

Think local. All the data suggests that in times like these, tourism recovery will start local. Talk to your local business networks and help them help you get your offer out. You may even consider a specific early bird discount for friends and family in your destination. 

SEO (Search Engine Optimisation).

Make sure you consider your keyword terms when building out pages associated with your business and early bird discounts. Perhaps you may want to consider a specific landing page that’s optimised to this end for such a campaign. Read our SEO Masterclass article for a refresh.

Cancellations and Refund Policies

Before you get started, check in on your cancellation and refund policies. You might want to have a specific policy for an early bird promotion for your tour or activity. This could include no refunds if the guest cancels but your business can operate. Specific rules for people overseas who could still be in lockdown and so on.

Remember to be empathetic when writing a new cancellation policy for this type of promotion. And you will need to be flexible in the case of lockdown measures that may be in place in other markets besides your own.

How Do You Create a Promo Code in Rezdy?

Promo codes are available on all Rezdy Booking Software plans. They’re easy to set up. Simply follow the promo set up guide for existing customers. If you’re considering Rezdy, you can access promo codes during your 21 Day Free Trial.

If you’re looking for additional ways to sure up cash flow during COVID-19, you may like the article  ‘Ideas for Monetizing Tours’.

Written By – Ricki Hudson – Marketing Manager – Partnerships & Acquisition, Rezdy

Ricki has worked at Rezdy since 2018. Ricki has nearly 15 years of marketing experience, predominantly in the tourism sector. Ricki is passionate about helping the sector grow through strong eco-systems and networks to the betterment of the industry.