Tour Operator Insight: Adventure Travel Companies in a Post-COVID World
This video forms part of our fortnightly Get More Bookings® Show where we interview clients and travel professionals from our Facebook group to uncover tips on what’s working for them in business. Click here to be part of the community.
“This is a very good investment considering that nobody else is investing their time into developing the tool-set they need to have, in order to sell their business”
Raza Akhtar, owner of newly-launched adventure tour operator The Wander Adventures creates authentic travel experiences throughout Pakistan. Raza makes it his vocation to curate exceptional once-in-a-lifetime itineraries combining nature, culture, and history in unique destinations.
For the past 10 years, Raza had predominantly focused on Pakistans’ domestic market – and thrived. However, The Wander Adventures aimed to attract a new international clientele, focusing on potential customers who have yet to discover the often-underrated Pakistan as an adventure travel destination.
The main challenge The Wander Adventures faced was learning how to build a future-proof marketing strategy. One that would allow Raza to pivot and identify prosperous target markets, quickly during a world pandemic.
An ambitious feat during the COVID pandemic. But, possible with help from 10x Tourism’s 6-week online Tour Operator Accelerator™ program. This results-driven sales system enables tour operators like Raza to accelerate growth during a time of adversity.
Raza found 10x Tourism through a collaborative webinar Co-Founder Max Hardy participated in, with Adventure Travel and Trade Association (ATTA). Having resonated with our insights, he then took the next step to set up a strategy session call with one of 10x Tourism’s Get More Bookings® specialists. With little hesitation, Raza left the call with full confidence that our Tour Operator Accelerator™ program was the right move for him.
“I would not have been able to do this all on my own, you saved me a lot of time, and was very focused”
The Solution: Pivoting From One Cultural Cluster to Another
“Because of COVID, there hasn’t been the same time pressure, giving more time to prepare… If I took the optimist hat, I had a lot of time to get this right”
Although the COVID pandemic has been an uphill challenge, Raza chooses an optimistic approach. Using the extra time on-hand to his advantage, preparing meticulously. The 6-week online Tour Operator Accelerator™ program enabled Raza to execute a finely-tuned launch campaign with our tried-and-tested sales system.
With the pandemic in mind, the initial strategy was to focus on targeting leads familiar with Pakistan as an adventure travel destination. Particularly the UK and US markets.
As the climate of the pandemic changed, so the strategy evolved too. Seeing the situation in the US and UK decline, Raza pivoted his audience from one cultural cluster to another. Targeting new destinations offering direct flights to Pakistan, including but not limited to Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Middle East.
It was vital to get Raza exposure to the right international visitors. Targeting 100 visitors who matched The Wander Adventures’ ideal client profile, instead of paying for 1,000 visitors with no intention of ever buying.
Moving forward, adaptability is the name of the game when overcoming the obstacles of the pandemic. 10x Tourism encourages a just-in-time approach ensuring lead-generation prospers continuously. Our Get More Bookings® system is focused on empowering tour operators to build robust strategies able to tackle times of crisis.
What was vital to The Wander Adventures was to communicate Raza’s in-depth knowledge and expertise in Pakistan. Whilst Pakistan as an adventure travel destination has been popular with seasoned adventure travellers, it’s fairly underrated in terms of the wider tourism market.
The 6 part email course, created by 10x Tourism’s expert copywriting team, gave Raza the platform to educate his target audience. The focus of this educational course content addresses frequently asked questions and delves deeper into Pakistani cuisine and cultural opportunities, with the intent of establishing The Wander Adventures as a trusted source of authority.
“This actually worked out pretty good, because we were able to get a lot of engagement in that area.”
Do You Have a Flexible COVID Booking Policy Template?
A prominent part of Raza’s launch campaign has been the 10x Tourism Flexible COVID booking policy template. A flexible booking and cancellation policy that shifts booking terms and lowers the barrier for guests committing to travel plans.
It’s the question that every prospect wants to know from tour operators. Therefore, having an effective COVID policy builds confidence. Aside from the homepage, Raza says The Wander Adventures dedicated COVID booking policy page receives the highest amounts of click engagement. Further proving that this is a move all tour operators should be implementing.
The 10x Flexible COVID policy template is part of our free COVID training resources. It takes the form of a short movie teaching tour operators and travel businesses how to trade through the crisis and out the other side with a fill-in-the-blanks booking policy template.
“They always want to know that you have a policy…This is one of the most commonly clicked links [COVID Policy page]”
Measurable Results: Optimizing and Scaling Bookings
“It was immediate because you start tracking your metrics, and you’ve seen you are getting hits on Facebook, you’re getting your lead ads, and your engagement ads and your Google Ads are all giving you results. So you start seeing that immediately”
In Week 6 of the Tour Operator Accelerator™ program, Raza worked towards optimizing and scaling his bookings with the help of 10x Tourism’s experts via weekly group Q&A calls. A particular focus of this final week in the program is covering how to execute every aspect of the daily workflow when managing the Get More Bookings system.
A key module that Raza found invaluable was learning how to report on key performance indicators, how to ‘cut the fat’ from his ads, troubleshooting issues, and stabilizing the overall performance of his ads. Although Raza had some experience working with ads, it was not advanced. The last module on the Tour Operator Accelerator™ program – ‘Advanced strategies for scaling results’ really helped Raza level up his data management skills and take control of The Wander Adventures future.
“That gives you an opportunity to say I’ve created a system, does it work? Where is it not working? And how can I improve it?”
Using the Get More Bookings system, Raza could then utilise these tools to identify new opportunities. For example, targeting different source markets and tailoring content to suit different audiences. Once the fundamentals are understood there are no limits to splintering off content to target specific inquiries.
Going forward Raza is already looking at replicating the sales system he’s learned through 10x Tourism to market to Japan. He is in the process of creating a landing page translated into Japanese to promote Pakistan’s most renowned cherry blossom tours.
“What we are doing right now is we are taking the tours that can be marketed individually, and marketing that tour in almost the same way that we did the landing page”
By making these small changes Raza was able to keep a consistent pipeline of inquiries going throughout the pandemic. Attracting high-quality leads instead of just a stream of website visitors. Even with ads turned off during low-season periods, Raza was still generating organic engagement. Eventually converting into contacts also through The Wander Adventures call-to-action, signing up to the 6 part email course or intake survey.
“I started from 0, now I have over 250 contacts, so it has made a difference in this period”
Is our 6-week online Tour Operator Accelerator™ Program Right for You?
A core part of the 10x Tourism philosophy is ‘The 3% Rule’; meaning that initially, only 3% of visitors to a site are looking to buy. The most common mistake is to ‘sell’ at the first hurdle, meaning most tour operators lose out on 97% of leads. Our job is to help you engage, and nurture those leads, converting them into sales.
10x Tourism is a niche sales and marketing agency for tour operators. It’s tailored and customised to the travel industry. Not every tour operator is the same, so neither is our approach. The Get More Bookings system is crafted to be adaptable to any tourism niche, such as adventure travel in Raza’s case.
In the Tour Operator Accelerator™ program, we teach travel companies a strategy to give each website visitor a genuine reason to visit your site again… and again… and again, without feeling pressured into making a decision before they’re ready.
“My biggest hesitation was what if this is not what I want, I was open to taking the risk, It turned out it was actually the right thing to do”
Want to have meaningful conversations with prospective customers right away?
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.