Top 6 Channels Tour Operators Should Use to Generate Awareness

1 Mar 2013     |    Taz Bareham

The key to success in the tourism industry is generating awareness about your product and your brand. While you can purchase ads and start a social media marketing campaign, this is an industry that still heavily relies on word of mouth. The more awareness you raise about your company and the tours and activities you offer, the more bookings you will receive.

The following channels are the 6 most popular ways to market your company and get the word out there about everything you have to offer:

1. Websites and social media

Your own website provides you an avenue to showcase photographs, videos, tour descriptions and prices to your clients. At the same time, you can provide an online booking system so that your future customers can quickly and easily book a tour with you.

In addition to a website, you can add social media profiles to your online presence. These profiles allow you to provide daily reminders to your customers who follow you about specials and new activities. You also can add photographs and videos on your social media sites.

Keep in mind that it can be difficult to launch a social media campaign if you are a relatively new business. As your business grows, you will find your customers will want to connect with you via Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites, allowing your social media presence to grow simultaneously.

2. Visitor Information Centres (VICs)

Most tourist cities will have visitor information centres scattered throughout the town. A large town will have visitor information centres on nearly every corner, where as smaller communities might have one information centre.

You can drop off flyers and brochures to these centres, and provide your phone number with information centre workers so that interested people who stop by can set up a reservation with your company.

3. Government Tourism Sites

Local governments and tourism organisations often operate their own websites, where they promote local tourism agencies in the area. You can often obtain a listing on websites such as these, and in addition you can buy ad space to promote your company and the services you offer.

4. Review Sites

Popular review sites, such as TripAdvisor, allow you to put a bit of information about your tours and activities on their site. You can describe your services, prices and add your own photographs.

However, the site is geared more toward the user, as users can add reviews, their own photographs and provide referrals for your business. By providing good customer service, you will see that customers will provide positive reviews and your site will quickly grow in the rankings on the review site.

The advent of social media and consumer promotion on the Internet has allowed people to provide the same referral they would give to a friend to a much larger audience. Travelers have come to trust sites such as TripAdvisor because they can get honest reviews from people who have utilised these same companies on their own previous vacations.

5. Voucher Sites

Some travelers will have received gift vouchers for tours and activities, or have bought a coupon from a daily deal site. They will redeem their vouchers and coupons when they arrive at their destination. You can always partner with these sites so that your tour is listed.

6. Concierge Services

Most local hotels, bed and breakfasts, inns and motels will provide concierge services for their guests. Make sure that local concierge desks have your brochures and flyers available for people who might be interested in the tours and activities that you offer. You may even want to provide the concierge desk workers with a tour experience with your company so they can provide a first-hand recommendation for your guests.

Which channels should you invest in most?

You should figure out which channel works best for your business by…

  • Dipping your feet in each channel
  • Calculating the percentage of bookings it generates you (every quarter)

After a year, you should have a good idea of what is and isn’t working.

A recent survey we performed found that the best ways for Australian tour operators to generate awareness about their businesses is through their own websites, social media and review sites.

The Australian survey produced interesting results that will help all tour and activity operators better market their own businesses and put their marketing dollars to good use.

To find out more information about our findings and read the full report, download it here.

You can also get your hands on our free ebook to keep learning about distributing your tourism products:

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