Tour Operator Insight: How to Harness the Power of Video Advertising in 3 Steps

This video forms part of our Get More Bookings® Show series where we interview clients and travel professionals from our Facebook community for travel industry pros to uncover tips on what’s working for them in business. Click here to be part of the group.

“Advertising where you can see the return immediately gives you so much confidence that we’re doing the right thing, so we’ll be continuing with 10x Tourism” – Amy Rankin, Vagabond Tours

The Problem

“Branding and video is really vital for us in terms of building that rapport”

Inspired by the African overland safari tours that Rob and Amy Rankin had experienced during their joint travels, the couple wanted to recreate that feeling of immersive, adventurous trips for travellers back home on the Emerald Isle of Ireland. And so, in 2002 Vagabond Tours was born, providing fun-packed adventures for small group tours predominantly from North America seeking to discover the very best experiences in Ireland.

Since the early days, the business has steadily grown each year and welcomed many changes along the way, including having attained Sustainable Travel Ireland, Ireland’s ecotourism accreditation body, in 2019.

Just like the rest of the tourism industry worldwide, Vagabond was also crippled by the pandemic in 2020. However, that didn’t deter Amy from the bigger picture for Vagabond. 

Amy identified that when they did get leads pre-2020, they lacked a system to track the conversations and create follow-up tasks to unanswered emails. As a whole, Amy realised the business needed a clear customer overview of the leads they were capturing. To accompany this, Vagabond also needed a steady flow of leads using Facebook and Google Ads.

Just a glance at Vagabond’s home page tells you all you need to know about the strong sense of branding Amy, Rob, and their team has for the company. There is nothing more important than building upon those emotional connections with potential guests from the offset, which is what video advertising, when done right can achieve.

Vagabond homepage

“We’ve always really felt that standing out from the crowd was important and building that initial emotional connection with guests”

Intent on maintaining a brand presence, and fine-tuning her team’s sales process, Vagabond partnered with 10x Tourism just before Christmas 2021. Their main focus was to get the ball rolling again, generating a “simmering pot” of high-quality leads through video advertising. These leads could (and were) then nurtured using the Get More Bookings® system, ready for when restrictions eased and Ireland could welcome back an abundance of tourists.

“Everyones in the same boat, companies haven’t had revenue, but to keep a level of brand awareness out there is so important and really will pay off in the end”

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The 3 Step Solution

Busting the Off-Season Myth

“The demand is there, so we should all be advertising”

To many in the tourism racket, this traditionally low peak season (especially in Ireland) will have seemed an odd time to choose to advertise – a concern emphasised even more by the full lockdowns happening worldwide at the time in December 2020. Naturally, there was hesitancy to jump into a full-throttle video advertising campaign during the height of a chaotic time for tourism, however, 10x Tourism’s Project Kickstart as part of the Get More Bookings® system offered the perfect solution. In Vagabond’s case advertising through the medium of the video had immediate and amazing results.

“It was totally the right decision and to continue in wave 3 of the pandemic, we’ve been advertising all through this wave and got some really good leads”

Advertising harder whilst the market was unsaturated with tourism business campaigns was a very wise move for Vagabond, who wanted to stand out from the crowd.  Amy speaks to the value of creating a consistent “simmering pot” of leads, ready to take their adventure through their newly optimized sales funnel to becoming a booked guest.

Of course, this process can’t be achieved without narrowing the net.  10x Tourism works on the 3% rule, meaning 97% of site visitors aren’t looking to buy. This makes for expensive and empty traffic. Instead of generating thousands of these low-quality leads, the Get More Bookings® sales system targets the 3% looking to buy.

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2. The Power of Video Advertising With Measurable Results

“The key difference and the game-changer for us were how measurable this was, never before could we see leads coming in off the back of an ad before. Having this intake survey attached to the video and immediately seeing results, there are no questions, you get a lead and that’s the result, it’s reassuring.”

At one time having a TV video campaign was considered the pinnacle of advertising for a company, accompanied by huge budgets for even bigger productions. Images of iconic 1950’s travel resort commercials such as Palm Springs come to mind. But, unless you’ve been living under a rock you’ll have noticed that all that has changed thanks to the phenomena of social media. You can create and build upon a strong brand presence with as little as a smartphone, and very minimal editing.

Vagabond are no stranger to video content, utilising their social media platforms such as Instagram Reels, Facebook and Youtube to drive organic traffic to their site. When their team is on the road, they also often record video snippets of their guests’ trips, as well as on occasion paying professional videographers to record footage that will then be pushed via their website and social media pages.

Many tourism businesses already have a ton of video content in the form of short snippet videos but don’t know how to utilise it for a successful video campaign. Enters the “Guerilla Video Campaign” marketing trend providing audiences with an immersive point-of-view production that enables them to feel they’re on the journey with you. These kinds of videos also aid in gaining trust from your audience, establishing an authentic and informative connection because the footage doesn’t include heavy editing or actors.  In fact, one of 10x Tourism’s most successful campaigns used this type of POV footage, for UK-based cycling tour operator Viva Velo.

the power of video

The 10x Tourism method is to, first and foremost, focus on your ideal target demographic. For Vagabond this was achieved through our Discovery exercise, where Amy told our Get More Bookings Specialists the exact buyer persona she wanted to attract into the proven Get More Bookings sales funnel.

Always eager to test new waters, the ads technicians at 10x Tourism tried targeting a new market for Vagabond, Northern Europe – with surprising results. For the first time, Vagabond had received inquiries from the UK, an untapped market for the tourism business based in Ireland.

Vagabond’s video advertising campaign also targeted the bread and butter of their bookings in previous years, North America. Ironically, understanding Vagabond’s target market and narrowing the net allowed for more creative ways to approach region-focused ad targeting.

Why should you attach a conversational inquiry form to your video campaign?

 

With a conversational inquiry approach – delivered through a form attached to their video campaign – Vagabond was able to capture leads effectively and give their audience a better experience than just filling out a ‘traditional’ contact form.

Here’s why your tourism business will benefit from a conversational inquiry form too:

 

  • More personal and engaging than flat contact forms – they ask one question at a time like a real conversation, rather than presenting an off-putting list of tasks to your potential customer
  • Less reliant on you and your team to have to ‘strike while the iron’s hot’ by responding immediately
  • More targeted to your specific tours – making it easier for your visitor to picture themselves enjoying what YOU have to offer
  • Focused on capturing actionable information (like their preferred type of tour, their budget, and of course their contact details)

Collecting this valuable information about your potential future client allows you to choose which specific automated email response they receive after. If they said they were interested in a particular tour, your automated response can mention it to increase the likelihood of conversion.

Want to build your own for free? Click here.

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3. Actually, 6 is a Magic Number

“We put value on every single lead, and work it as hard as possible, on the back of your advice, we’re working that lead up to 6 times so that communication is happening. We’re not calling it a lost lead until that connection is made after 6 times.”

What really helped Amy and her team was to review their pre-pandemic sales process and alter it to adapt to the new post-2021 environment. The Get More Bookings® Sales Funnel showed the Vagabond team how to pre-qualify and nurture leads without it seeming like a sales-focused push.

During setup the Get More Bookings® sales funnel integrated smoothly with Vagabond’s current website, marketing tools, and databases/CRMs. The system wasn’t meant to replace systems and processes that were already working well for Amy, just to augment them. Vagabond were also provided with top-quality training and support from a dedicated account manager.

Throughout our partnership with Vagabond, regular performance reviews and analysis reports were scheduled to enable Amy and her team to easily track bookings, sales, and growth.

Post-2020, getting more bookings has become more of a hustle for Vagabond, compared to pre-2020. A larger focus on engagement and relationship building is now needed to build confidence amongst travellers.

Before dismissing a lead as uninterested, the Vagabond sales team ensured they implemented a process that attempted to engage at least 6 times on our recommendation. This increased concentration on engagement resulted in multiple bookings and smiles all around at Vagabond HQ.

Whether you’re a natural at sales or not, many people within sales are concerned about ‘annoying’ the lead and putting them off. This mindset is a facade, these people reached out to your tourism business for a reason, and it’s your job to find out why. Of course, there are techniques to soften the approach, but 6 times to attempt engagement is the magic number if you want to convert those leads to get more bookings.

Another element of the sales process that worked in Vagabond’s favour was to implement a flexible booking policy to encourage trust from potential guests. Using the 10x Tourism free Flexible Covid-Proof Booking policy template, will ease anxieties around booking and increase traveller confidence.

“Our main aim of the game is to keep up engagement with those customers, keep them warm and simmering, and believe in time that a good percentage of them will convert”

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The Results: Generating a Consistent Pipeline of 800 Leads

“We started working with you guys just before Christmas, and since then we have had 800 leads come in via the 10x advertising campaign, which is phenomenal”

The combined efforts of implementing the above 3-step plan resulted in immediate and measurable results for Vagabond. Within just 2 months during the peak of worldwide lockdowns, and travel restrictions Vagabond were still able to generate 800 leads through the power of video advertising. Interestingly most leads still came from North America, with 60% planning to travel in 2022.

This demonstrates that the demand has always been there, therefore, the main goal is to keep those people engaged and warm until they’re ready to book. People relate to people, and will always prefer to book with a business they have an emotional connection with – even if they can’t right now.

With the help of 10x Tourism’s stellar lead generation process, and meticulous ads targeting to find those bookers, not lookers, Vagabond was able to secure 2022 bookings from new soon-to-be guests to add to their deferred bookings from the previous year.

“We’ve already got some really good bookings for 2022, not just deferred bookings but new bookings too”

Perhaps an aspect more valuable than these monetary results and something often overlooked, was the impact these positive results had on Vagabond’s team morale during a particularly tough season. Seeing a consistent pipeline of high-quality leads flowing in gave the sales team such a confidence boost, and thus the encouragement to engage in a meaningful way. When your sales team is excited and motivated, it can only help to garner positive results.

It’s been a real eye-opener, it clearly works and gave the team such a boost

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Want to see how we can take the stress out of generating high-quality leads for your travel business?

Click below to schedule your FREE Strategy Session with us at 10x Tourism, and we’ll walk you through how you can apply our proven process.

“We’re very happy I have to say, it’s been great”

Amy Rankin

Vagabond Tours

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