Boost Your Tourism Business On Peak Travel Days
- Digital Marketing, Experience Marketing, Tourism Marketing Blog
- Digital Tourism Marketing, Marketing For Experiences Insights & Articles, Marketing Tactics, Peak Season
- April 9, 2019
In the tourism industry, everyone knows that you need to prepare for big travel weekends. Whether you’re a ski lodge in Denver looking forward to the first snow, or a hotel in Pensacola that picks up during spring break, making the most of your busiest days is critical.
We’re all spread thin in those last two weeks leading up to important weekends – so start planning now! We’ve prepared a cheat sheet to help you maximize bookings on your busiest weekends. Here are a few of the steps you should always take before, during, and after your peak season in order to bring in even more travelers – and see them again next year.
Before Your Busy Season:
Plan promotions ahead of time.
Get out a calendar and plan your promotions at least 6 months out. Identify any challenges or extra steps (like purchasing special inventory). Then share reminders with key managers so you’re all on the same page. Your goal is to eliminate logistical issues and focus on getting the message out to customers.
Next, sort out the fine details of every promotion at least two months out, so you can communicate them to Sales and Customer Service. Every customer-facing person in your company should feel confident answering questions, even for online-only sales. If your team isn’t empowered to help customers quickly book their reservation, then even the best ad campaigns are futile.
Update your ad campaigns.
If you’re running PPC campaigns, you may want to adjust the keywords you’re bidding on. Consider season-specific search terms that potential travelers might use (like “July 4th Florida Activities”). Set up an ad group for those terms, and create new ads that are specific to that holiday or event.
This is an easy way to stay ahead of your competitors. Fewer people bid on season-specific keywords, which means you pay less for valuable clicks. You can also plan for holiday specific social media ads, cross promotions with other tourism entities (hotel overflow to restaurants, anyone?), an even on-site activations.
During Your Busy Season:
Know when to pause your digital ads.
During peak travel seasons, you may run into a marketer’s favorite problem: getting booked to capacity. And you know how this works – it’s bound to happen on a Saturday when you’re not sitting in front of a computer. Paid clicks are flying like mad, driving new customers into a booking calendar that’s showing no available dates.
Before that day comes, decide on a key indicator that will trigger you to decrease or pause your marketing spend (such as reaching 90% of your booking capacity). Set up those alerts well in advance. This allows you to quickly update your campaigns on the fly, rather than finding out too late that your business had to turn away customers.
Monitor social feeds and review sites on weekends.
More people means more Google reviews and Facebook messages. And if the phone is ringing off the hook, you probably won’t have many people volunteering to log in to TripAdvisor and answer questions.
On your busiest weekends, make sure someone on your team is assigned to respond to messages and reviews. While you should always have a response plan in place, it becomes even more necessary when you have a ton of feedback coming in all at once.
After Your Busy Season:
Pause seasonal ad groups.
Put any season-specific keywords on pause for next year. Pull a report to see how successful your campaigns were, and compile your notes while everything is fresh in your mind.
Then set a reminder for next year. (After all, can one ever be too prepared? We think not.)
Say hello to your new customers.
You now have a slew of new visitors who just got home from their trip. They’re reminiscing about their favorite activities and meals, scrolling through photos and deciding which ones are Insta-worthy. Now is the perfect opportunity for an email campaign: invite them back with a special offer and link to your review pages.
Be sure to engage with all those new faces on your company’s social feeds and travel sites. If this was their first experience with your brand, they’ll be pleasantly surprised when you share their Instagram shot or thank them for the 5 stars.
Get creative with your next campaign.
Compared to the momentum of your peak days, the weeks following a high-sales weekend will seem sluggish. So be prepared with fresh, new marketing campaigns at the ready. You know your CEO is going to be looking for ways to keep those sales up – so this is a great time to get creative and test a new strategy.