Tour Operator Insight: How to Ensure Travellers Will Book With You For 2021
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.
“If you’re not doing it now, when is it going to be? Because you’ll have already have missed the boat”
Dyll Davies, founder of Viva Velo, organises bespoke cycling tours for individuals and for corporate team building anywhere across Europe.
From the onset, Viva Velo had grown organically through customer referrals and repeat bookings. 95% of their customers return and rebook with Viva Velo or recommend the travel company to someone else. A brilliant credit to their business!
Yet as fantastic as referrals are for the travel company, Dyll recognised that relying solely on repeat customers and referrals would make their plans for growth an extremely slow process.
They needed a system in place that could enable them to reach more of their target customers and produce quality leads that can be nurtured to convert to bookings.
When Dyll came across 10x Tourism, he was drawn to the company because our approach resonated with him – we believe that one of the key elements to consistently generating bookings is to become a trusted advisor and an educational source for customers. This couldn’t be more important whilst the world is experiencing a pandemic.
“The advice we’ve had [from 10x Tourism] about engaging and follow ups with clients I know will pay dividends.”
The Solution: Trading Through COVID
Dyll approached 10x Tourism to onboard as a done-for-you customer which included the set up, launch and 3-month running of the Get More Bookings® system, at the peak of COVID in July 2020.
When travel restrictions, lockdowns and uncertainty were at its peak, Dyll recognised that this was, in fact, the best time to learn and implement a new sales and marketing system so that Viva Velo could come out of 2020 in a stronger position.
Our advice to all travel companies throughout COVID has been simple: You can 100% get ahead of the competition right now, if…
- You set your business up to receive and manage incoming inquiries…today
- You are realistic and accept that people are only comfortable paying a flexible deposit until Q1 2021.
“Q4 2020 is about building a pipeline of business for 2021.”
Dyll took this advice, followed our step-by-step process to implement Viva Velo’s own tailored Get More Bookings system so that come September 2020, they were in a position to launch their marketing campaign – ahead of their competitors.
“When it got to September , it was probably as important to do it now than it would have ever been because I think you’ve got two options – you can either stick your head under the duvet or you can be creative and think about what this means for you. We have to play the long game.”
Building his strategy around an anticipated scenario that a vaccine will be available by
Q2 2021 and traveller sentiment will shift accordingly was the best and “only game in town.”
“Advertising and marketing should not be one of the things you should be cutting.”
Not only did Dyll feel confident in playing the long game but he also noticed that in terms of advertising, he was seeing the lowest cost per lead for acquiring that opportunity in years.
Should You Implement a Flexible Booking Policy?
As part of the industry wide effort to stimulate a travel recovery, 10x Tourism has been giving away a free fill-in-the-blanks flexible booking policy.
Dyll has used the booking policy template and adapted it to suit his business. He believes it is “an essential piece of the puzzle” in reassuring potential customers who are hesitant to book during COVID.
Dyll and his team found that by having a flexible booking policy prominent on the Viva Velo website, it puts things into perspective for their customers when they are weighing up the risks.
For a Viva Velo customer, the downside of booking in 2020 is losing a £25 admin fee, but the upside is that they can secure a trip for £100 – £200 less than if they waited to book in March 2021.
How to Get COVID-Proof Tour Operator Bookings
“We noticed it was producing results immediately…we were inundated.”
Dyll and his team found the launch of their Get More Bookings system in September 2020 generated so many leads that they were working around the clock! Not only that, but these leads were Viva Velo’s exact target audience.
“We’re getting inquiries from people who are groups of 8, 10, 12 who want a bespoke trip – which is exactly what Viva Velo does.”
Dyll credits his confidence in launching a campaign in the midst of a pandemic to the onboarding process and discussions he had with the 10x Tourism team.
The support we provide as part of a done-for-you service, as well as the Tour Operator Accelerator program goes beyond the logistics of how to put an advertising and marketing campaign together. Marketing in a fragile climate where there is much uncertainty requires a change in the tone of voice, messaging, and even in your call-to-actions.
“We had a great deal of trust in what [10x Tourism] were recommending and what we had put together…just having that input in itself is a comfort and an inspiration in tough times. Having you guys alongside with that support has got me out of bed instead of sticking my head under the duvet.”
Most importantly, Dyll recognised that if he didn’t take action now, when travel does resume, he’d already be 3 – 6 months behind.