Increase Your Advanced Online Bookings Through Digital Marketing

Increase Your Advanced Online Bookings Through Digital Marketing

Posted on November 23, 2016 Mary Merritt

So you’ve started an adventure tourism company of some kind. Fishing charters, whale watching tours, sunset cruises, snorkeling trips, scuba, surf tours, ski expeditions…the list goes on and on. Most of the adventure tourism companies we’ve run into are small operations run by really passionate people. In many cases, they truly rely on local, traditional marketing tactics such as handing out flyers at events, setting brochures around at local hotels and resorts, placing coasters at the bar down the street…you get the idea. In addition to that, many of these companies will set up strategic alliances with local concierges to get the most guest recommendations. All of these tactics are awesome, and should not be stopped – but why not do MORE?

The Vacation Researcher

When it comes to vacationing, there are researchers and planners…and then there are the folks that stay away from creating any kind of agenda. The planners are the people who will book their flights months in advance, along with booking rooms at resorts and potentially even planning all of the trip’s activities. We call these folks “Vacation Researchers” – and it’s our job to capture their attention at the right time. By engaging in various search-related digital marketing tactics, you can increase your company’s advanced online bookings immensely. Let’s pretend that I am planning a trip to Hawaii in 6 months, and I want to surf while I am there. I will likely start searching: “Surf touring companies in Hilo, Hawaii.” If your website doesn’t show up for a simple search like that, then you are going to miss the advanced booking opportunity. Of course that’s not the entire story…

Exposure when it’s important.

The first thing you need is EXPOSURE. Even if you have the best service in the world and tons of referrals, you’re still missing out on booking opportunities to smooth your entire year out, even in the slow seasons. Through paid search (Google and Bing), paid social (Facebook and TripAdvisor), onsite search engine optimization, content marketing, and more – you can get the exposure you need right when it’s important. If someone is researching their trip 6 months out (which believe us, this happens), you need to be in front of them. Of course, this is only true if you want to increase your company’s revenue and grow the business. If you are intrinsically happy with how your company is performing, good for you!

A brand that inspires people.

All of the exposure in the world won’t help you if your brand is flat. Let’s for a moment acknowledge that people aren’t purchasing your services. They are purchasing YOU, and a desired RESULT. The result is that they have photos and memories that will last a lifetime. They are purchasing YOU because they are not only inspired by your brand, but because they want to have some fun with you. Your brand should scream: “GOOD TIMES! GET YOUR GOOD TIMES HERE!” A smooth visual brand language goes a long way, along with the kind of messaging that truly provokes a user to book online or call a representative with questions. In addition to those items, having great reviews, beautiful photography, engaging videos, and valuable content that is loaded with local insider knowledge will help you achieve your business goals. Plus, incentivizing the vacation researcher with an early booking discount is guaranteed to get their attention.

Create guests for life.

Once you have won the honor of serving a brand new customer, you can use email marketing and social media to keep them engaged and part of your community. You can run contests and ask them to tell their story. You can up-sell them on new adventure packages that you are offering. You can ask them to answer survey questions so you can improve the customer experience. Once you get that new customer, they are yours for life if you keep them engaged with awesome content and community building tactics. Of course, as always, the value has to be authentic and REAL. People can smell a phony from miles away this day and age.

Have fun increasing your online bookings!