Learn What’s Working From The Tour Operators With 2021 Bookings

Frida Kops   ● 6 min read
This article forms part of a weekly newsletter series that’s sent directly to travel industry professionals every Wednesday and biweekly on Fridays.
Want to be the first to receive it straight to your inbox? 

2020 is being quipped as the lost year of travel. But the question remains whether this will extend to Q1 of 2021.

This article curates data from various surveys that indicate 2021 will in fact be the year of travel. There are tour operators with 2021 bookings so things are looking positive.  

Here’s what we know:

 An increase in travel is on the agenda for Americans – According to a survey by GetYourGuide, US travellers intend to travel more for leisure in 2021 than in 2019 and 2020.

  Travellers are feeling confident in 2021 – Only 3% of travellers do not feel confident about travelling in 2021, compared to 39% of travellers who are feeling “very confident”.

  Leisure travel is expected for early 2021 – Domestic tourism will take the lead in 2021 (42%). However, Skyscanner.com has reported a 368% jump in searches for January 2021 international destinations. Building on this further, July 2021 searches have risen by 94%. This is very positive news.

If we listen to the above data, then the second important question for tour operators becomes this – who will be the resilient travellers in 2021?

This article identifies two types of resilient traveller. 


The Replacement Vacationer 

These are the people who had a travel experience cancelled this year and offered a credit voucher instead of a refund. If vouchers were only valid for 12 months, this means this segment of traveller will be looking to redeem their vouchers asap.


The Double-Downers

These are the people who would normally travel internationally over three times a year, but have instead, been forced to sit tight and patiently stay local during 2020. Their plans for 2021 are to “double down” spending more lavishly on ambitious multi-destination trips for longer durations. 

In order for tour operator businesses to benefit from this potential boom in new business, aligning with the needs of the resilient travellers is a good strategy. 

Covid-19 has created many travel complexities such as testing requirements, and inbound travel restrictions. Thus even the most competent of traveller may struggle to navigate these moving variables without the assistance of a travel expert. This is the perfect opportunity for tour operators to shine. 

Are you offering on-the-ground support to help travel lookers turn into travel bookers?

Want a sneak preview into The 10xpress curated email series that you could receive in your inbox every 2 weeks?


Here’s last week’s…

According to recent surveys and tour operator case studies, there are people willing to travel next year, even without a vaccine. I’ll explore how your tour operator business can get back on track by looking at the tour operators with 2021 bookings.

Let’s get started.

Travel marketing strategies on iPad

Here's this week's roundup:

Fuel Covid-19 Consumer Sentiment Study Volume 9: More People Are Traveling Than You Think

Source: Fuel

This is the 9th edition of Fuel’s COVID-19 Consumer Sentiment Study and this time, the insights have been largely positive. 

Compared to last month’s 8th edition, there’s been a 16% increase in the number of people who have travelled since the start of the pandemic, making it a total of 50% of respondents. 

If you’re looking to stand out amongst your competitors, invest in creating a free PDF download or email series that communicates to your customers which local attractions, restaurants, and cafés are open in the area. This level of customer service has been reported as being sub-par.

Collaboration Desperately Needed Between Travel Industry Players If a Recovery is Going To Be Effective

Source: PhocusWire

As soon as a country or state broadcasts that they are open for travellers, there has been a huge surge in enquiries to these destinations. However, the lack of coordination between airlines, destinations and countries is hampering any industry recovery. This article calls for “smart initiatives” that allow for travel businesses to be more adaptable so they can jump on opportunities, fast. Do you agree?

Image Courtesy of phocuswire.com

G Adventures Adds Four New Tours to its Travel with Confidence Plus Collection

Here’s a case study of how a tour operator is securing bookings for 2021. G Adventures have launched several initiatives since covid-19, such as Book your Bubble which I discussed in my article How Travel Companies Can Get Ahead in 2020/21.

Now it’s seeing success with its new Travel with Confidence Plus Collection. Compared to their standard tours, the big differences are: smaller group sizes, a 50% discount on single occupancy rooms and an increase in private transportation where travellers are assigned a seat for added social distancing inside the vehicles.

Could your tour operator business incorporate any of the above?

Here are my top-tip articles:

Is Instagram Reels Worth Pursuing? Pros and Cons for Marketers

If your tour operator business is active across a number of social platforms then new functions can sometimes feel like yet another task to learn and create. This article takes a look at the pros and cons of using Reels and compares it to Instagram Stories and IGTV.

To me, the one element that stands out the most is the ability to share your Reels. Unlike Stories, you can share your Reel to both your story and grid, plus viewers can share your Reels too. This allows your tour operator business to reach a much wider audience and even more new customers than before.

Have you started creating Reels?

Image Courtesy of Social Media Examiner

11 Proven Ways to Increase Dwell Time

Source: Neil Patel

Dwell time is the length of time a user spends on your landing page before they return to the search engine results page (SERP). This is different to Google Analytic’s “Time on Page”.

Out of the 11 strategies to increase your dwell time, I found these the most interesting: hook readers in with your introduction, match your keywords with search intent and enable comments on your blog so you can open it up to questions and discussion. People love to read and interact with comments, which will increase their dwell time. It’ll also give you great feedback.

The Latest Operator Brochures That Could Help Boost Your Business

Source: TTG Media

We once thought that brochures were a thing of the past, but 12 tour operators are proving that  physical or digital brochures have helped get their travel business back on track. They share what’s selling well and their selling tips.

Man holding up beach travels brochure

A statistic I found interesting:

78% of respondents are “likely” or “very likely” to travel in the next year. (Fuel)

A question for you:

How many, if any, bookings have you had for 2021? What destinations were these to?

Share your thoughts and comments on our Facebook and Linkedin page or drop me an email at [email protected] – I’d love to hear from you.

Did you enjoy reading the above?

The 10xpress is a biweekly series curated exclusively for travel companies like you

Every two weeks, I provide you with:

  • Reports, opinion, case studies and key findings that directly impact the tours and activities sector.
  • Educational articles to guide you through the changing world of online sales and marketing from industry leaders.
  • Tips and tools on how to improve your tour operator business, generate more sales and make your life easier.
Want The 10xpress delivered straight to your inbox?

Join our community of tour operators who are the first to receive this newsletter series every other Friday in their inbox.

You'll Also Like