2020 & 2021 have been rollercoaster years for tourism. Just when things start looking up, another surge begins. Frustrating tour operators and travelers alike, there’s nothing worse than having to put a trip on hold. But when your heart is in travel, holding on and riding out the storm often feels like the best course of action. If you’re taking a “keep on trucking” attitude, or perhaps you’re entering your slow season, there are ways to keep the relationship going with prospective travelers.
The last thing you want to do is go radio silent on social and in your marketing when the season slows. Now is actually a great time to build up anticipation for your tour! Anticipation is a strong and powerful emotion, particularly when it comes to travel. If you can use it to your advantage, it will make it easier for prospective guests to say “Book it!” when the time comes.
Here are a few ways to go about this.
While posting on social media regularly is very important for maintaining awareness and top-of-mind, long form content can be incredibly valuable for deepening your emotional connection with potential visitors. Long-form content usually take form in articles, particularly guides, tutorials, lists, etc.
The best way to think about it is something you might read in a magazine. Remember flipping through a glossy print? What sorts of content captured your attention? Start thinking about what sort of magazine content you would create if your tour had its own magazine.
Guides to the local destination, lists of your favorite must-visit restaurants, tutorials on how to engage with the culture at home, stories about people making an impact in your destination… these are all examples of long-form content that travelers find incredibly helpful.
You can host this content on your website and promote it on social media sites and to your email newsletter. This helps create brand awareness, trust, and can even boost your SEO! The more you can give people a reason to visit your website, the better.
If you like the idea of presenting your content magazine-style, Canva has some great templates you can work with (as pictured below).
When the world was in lockdown, online experiences became the norm. But just because we’re roaming out and about now doesn’t mean you should stop! In fact, you should have plenty of inspiration now for what a proper online experience should entail.
Online experiences can range from online tutorials and workshops to ‘challenges’ where your followers are encouraged to do certain things out on their own. AirBnB has an entire section of their website now dedicated to online experiences.
Not only is this a great way to keep people connected to your activity during a slow season, you can also charge for your offering if it’s compelling enough.
If you scroll through AirBnB’s list, you’ll see everything from cooking classes to escape rooms and scavenger hunts. Trivia night, learning about sake culture with a Japanese sommelier, a healing concert with a cellist… people are really getting creative!
The more you set the stage and create a cultural vibe around your online experience, the better you can transport people. Take your online experience as seriously as you would your offline, as you’re giving people a taste of what it’s like to be with you. If you can wow them during the tour, there’s a greater likelihood that they will want to actually visit you when they’re ready to travel.
Whether you decide to go with a signature online experience that you repeat often, or you create a calendar of experiences that give people a behind-the-scenes look into your destination, you can’t go wrong as long as you infuse it with your personality.
If being on camera isn’t your thing, then challenges are worth exploring. Challenges have always been a part of the social media culture, but with TikTok they have recently exploded. Challenges are things people can do on their own but it has a way of bringing people together. From dancing & creative expression to health challenges (like the simple green smoothie challenge) there are endless ways to engage your followers without a formal sit-down online experience.
Challenges are great because you can make them go for a month-long period and turn them into an annual thing. It gives your followers something to look forward to year after year! So what are some ways you can challenge your followers right now?
Are you feeling inspired? Carve out some time this week to plan your off-season engagement strategy for your tour! Whether you choose to create long form content, host an online experience or challenge, or maybe both… you will be building a strong reputation for your offerings in the future.