Do you find that your groups aren’t filling as quickly as they used to? Are you interested in adding younger clientele to your groups?
What if you could combine your battle-worn sales and marketing strategies with some extra (social!) pizzazz? Trying new tactics can be tricky at first, so let’s explore some ways to gradually add social into your traditional marketing tool box.
Let’s get social
When you attend Travel Exchange or Contact as a buyer, you meet with suppliers and DMOs and connect on the trade show floor. It’s awesome to shake hands and put faces to names, and it’s an invaluable way to do business. Adding a social component extends your success from the trade show floor to your office.
- Connect socially with people that you meet by reaching out to them later on each of the social sites that you frequent.
- Sending an invitation and short note is easy to do as you’re waiting for your flight connections at the airport.
- To follow up with a personal video, check out Loom (useloom.com) to send your videos via email or a social post.
Expand your marketing
We have a plethora of traditional marketing tools: brochures, flyers, consumer travel shows, in-house marketing events, in-person sales calls and email marketing. These initiatives can be reinvented with the addition of social marketing options.
Expanding your social reach to gain traction with a wider audience is where social marketing shines. In the marketing phase of group tour planning, a savvy social marketer will incent potential clients to provide their contact information by giving away some type of lead magnet.
- This can be a downloadable freebie, e.g., a packing guide, destination guide, etc., or a small marketing item (luggage tag, document wallet or other tchotchke). This will not only grow your email list, but it will also give you an opportunity to create a social ad audience of warm leads.
- Find more lead magnet tips here: bit.ly/2OY7sJW
- Once these prospects have opted in to receive your lead magnet, you can add them to a custom ad audience and target future social ads to them. Here’s how: bit.ly/2nxjeyN
Now that you have reached out and landed a list of prospective clients, you can deploy additional social strategies to market a tour:
- Create an ad sequence that started with giving away your lead magnet and continues by drawing people further into your marketing and sales funnel.
- Remember to create Stories on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. On a mobile device, stories appear differently than a regular feed.
- Create Moments on Twitter to serve as a roundup of your tweets about the destination.
- Build Playlists on YouTube for each new tour you offer or destination you serve. You can share or embed your entire Playlist to give your viewers a complete lineup of relevant content.
- Write blog posts highlighting the destinations you’ll visit. This is more of an opportunity to inspire and enlighten than it is to sell. Remember to share your blogs socially.
- Create a podcast series extolling the features and benefits both of the destination and of traveling as part of your group.
- Expand your reach by joining online groups that are related to your destination or theme. For example, if you’re doing a history tour of the American West, check out Facebook groups such as Old West History Forum and Old West Mining Days and History. After joining relevant Facebook groups, start conversations before you begin marketing to the group.
Amplifying your marketing efforts by adding a social component will help you reach new people where they hang out socially, while providing information and edutainment. Embrace these key tactics to optimize your marketing efforts.
You can fill your group tours faster—and with the right people easier—when you combine old school and new school marketing opportunities.
Catherine Heeg, an international speaker and trainer, focuses on social media marketing strategies for the tourism and hospitality industry. Connect with her socially and at cmsspeaking.com.
Top photo ©everythingpossible/Adobe Stock