A good marketing plan for tour operators includes multiple channels and platforms—regardless of whether you’re an established tour company or a new operator selling a unique local activity. Here are some tips to stay one step ahead of the competition.

Follow the Leader

A good marketing plan for tour operators doesn’t always revolve around what you can do, in a proactive sense. But instead, analyze what your competitors are doing, and react! You can improve your popularity ranking on Viator by studying what other top-ranked suppliers are doing. Follow them closely and pay attention to how they serve their customers and manage their brand reputation. Read through their products and see what intriguing titles they use. How thorough and detailed are their tour descriptions? What sort of photos do they use? And maybe most important, how are they responding to their reviews?

Don’t forget to also be on the lookout for how the leading tour operators give their guides the tools to succeed. Whether you’re an individual host or a tour company, it’s important to stay up-to-date on best practices for tour guides to provide a memorable experience to travelers.

Use Social Media

When it comes to marketing tools for operators, social media is king. Here’s how to maximize it:

  1. Create business pages on Instagram, Facebook, and/or Twitter, and update them regularly with a photo or two.
  2. Use your personal social media pages to promote your Experience and generate traffic directly to your business.
  3. Ask friends and family to spread the word about your Experience by sharing your content.
  4. Use scheduling tools to automate your posting and reduce time spent on administrative tasks.
  5. Consider investing in paid advertising to showcase your Experience and entice potential customers.

Partner with Other Channels

It can be a challenge to offer a unique, authentic, local experience to your guests while also trying to attract a wide variety of customers (both local residents and visitors). Beyond Viator, you’ll want to partner with a diverse range of agents to grow your distribution network. Here are some ways to do so:

  1. Collaborate with complementary businesses, such as local restaurants that are popular with travelers. Consider offering a combination meal-and-Experience package that offers value at a discount, or ask the restaurant to promote your Experience in exchange for a commission on each booking they help you get. This could help you gain access to travelers who don’t know about your product, or may even not have been planning to do a tour or activity during their visit.
  2. Ask hotel concierges to help promote your Experience to their guests. Concierge recommendations are often greatly valued!
  3. Allow visitor information centers, which provide travelers with information on things to do in the area, to resell your Experience for a commission, or simply ask them to promote your Experience directly to guests.
  4. Network at trade shows.
  5. Work with destination marketing organizations (DMOs).

1. How to Become a Tour Guide

2. Understanding Your Audience

3. Get Compliant

4. Setting Up Your Account

5. Sell Online to Travelers

6. Marketing Plan

7. Get Bookings & Reviews

About the Author: Dave Armenti

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