Why Your Tourism Board is the Key to Recovery & Finding Ways to Incentivise Travel
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?
On Sunday, The World Travel & Tourism Council published a report titled: To Recovery & Beyond: The Future of Travel & Tourism in the Wake of COVID-19.
It looks at four interlinked trends and how they impact the travel industry during the pandemic.
These 4 trends are:
1️. Demand Evolution: Looks at how traveller behaviour and preferences have now changed. They seek familiarity and brands they trust. Extensive planning, outdoor activities and domestic holidays are what they want.
2️. Health & Hygiene: Will remain the no.1 priority.
3️. Innovation & Digitisation: COVID-19 has made it necessary for travel companies to adopt new technologies to improve their business in order to meet customers where they are and streamline the online experience.
4️. Sustainability: Social and environmental sustainability is at the forefront of people’s minds due to recent widespread unemployment, anti-racism movements and the suspension of flights that have positively impacted the environment.
The WTTC also provides in-depth policy recommendations for governments globally. Two recommendations that I found particularly useful for the tours and experiences sector are this:
Recommendation: Promote Tourism, Starting with Domestic & Regional
🎯 For governments, tourism boards, NTOs and RTOs to capitalise on the initial recovery, early marketing and promotional efforts should be directed to incentivise domestic and then regional travel. International travel should be last.
🎯 Inspiring locals to explore destinations close to home and support local businesses is key.
Recommendation: Ways to Incentivise Travel
🎯 To stimulate travel demand, governments and tourism boards should provide promotional incentives in order to kickstart domestic spending and then expand regionally and internationally as quickly as possible and where appropriate.
🎯 These incentives can be combined with direct marketing to encourage wary travellers to make a trip.
🎯 Examples include: subsidised holidays off from work, voucher subsidies for holidays or hotels, specialised COVID-19 insurance, guarantees for medical care whilst travelling, three-day weekend to incentivise long weekends away.
If governments, tourism boards and national tourist organisations take note of these policy recommendations then this will be a huge help to tour operators and the travel industry as a whole.
To read examples of ways to incentivise travel by governments who have implemented travel initiatives and to download the full report, click here.
In your opinion, what do you think should be the top priority for your government and tourism board?
Want a sneak preview into The 10xpress curated email series that you could receive in your inbox every two weeks?
Here’s last week’s…
The decision to travel depends not only on government restrictions but also a combination of trust, reassurance, connection and inspirational content. Without feeling these emotions, people have no incentive to travel. So how can tour operators incentivise travel?
Let’s get started.
Here's this week's roundup:
5 Ways Travel Brands Can Double Down on ‘Discovery’ to Re-Engage and Rebound
Skift has partnered with Facebook for this article to explore five ways that your tour operator business can re-engage your audience. This is especially important now that we’re seeing the gap close between the discovery and booking phase as many people are opting for shorter local trips first.
- Use authentic, reassuring messaging
- Positive, uplifting storytelling is what travellers are seeking right now. This can be done through a carousel of images, video, live webinar or text.
- The aim of this is to remind travellers that although the travel landscape has changed (tours, hotels, destinations aren’t the same as pre-pandemic), you are still ready and waiting for them when they decide to travel again.
- Assure customers that you are paying attention to their concerns by highlighting your safety and hygiene messages.
- Messages surrounding social responsibility and crisis relief are powerful to create brand loyalty and show you are humans behind the brand who care.
- Leverage creators and influencers
- If your audience puts a high level of trust in influencers, then partnering with an influencer who aligns with your brand values can be beneficial during these times. Especially if they can showcase your hygiene and safety measures.
- Look for local and regional ambassadors first to reflect the market recovery.
- Think about domestic, regional and global strategies
- It’s important to strategize your messaging according to regions or countries that have reopened and keep abreast of changes in travel restrictions. You want to avoid, at all costs, coming across as insensitive by promoting travel in a destination with high covid-19 infections.
- Curate through automation and machine learning
- Utilise Facebook Ads Manager by letting the algorithm predict which users are most likely to respond to your advert so that they discover your travel company at the right time and at the right price.
- Create customer delight with a seamless and frictionless purchasing experience
- Even though most people aren’t travelling internationally yet there’s still opportunity for your tour operator business to refocus your messaging so that it aligns with consumer sentiment. The objective ought to be on warming them up to the prospect of travelling so that when the time is right, they will book with you.
- Ways to do this – tell captivating stories, inspirational messages and reinforce your brand’s values.
Intrepid Launches New Family Retreats as Family Travel Booms
One way to incentivise travel is to adapt how you market your tours to reflect buyer behaviour.
For instance, Intrepid Travel have found that 25% of their most popular tours in the last 3 months have been family-themed. That’s an increase by 13% compared to last year.
For Intrepid, this indicated to them that after months of separation, families want to travel together in 2021. So in response to this, they adapted existing tours to make them more family-focused and to allow multiple household travel pods.
What trends are you seeing with your most popular tours or frequently asked questions?
Safari Operator Craig Beal on Worthwhile Hassles: Travel in the Time of Covid
Source: Travel Weekly
You can read about Beal’s eye-opening experience of travelling from the US to Kenya. It demonstrates the reality of international travel these days; the obstacles and uncertainty that travellers face.
This article highlights that if you want a meaningful way to incentivise travel, then you must be 100% transparent with your customers about the logistics of getting to your tour destination. Solid relationships and constant communication with ground operators in each destination are vital.
Here are my top-tip articles:
How Travel Marketers can Reboot and Find Their Audiences
With many people choosing not to travel at all, or some opting to staycation, it’s likely that your typical target audience has changed. This article provides 6 tips on how to determine who is ready to travel or intends to do so in 2021.
Hint: the way to do this is to segment your audience.
How to Cope with Tour Operator Burnout and Decision Fatigue
Shane Whaley, the host of the Tourpreneur podcast, shares with us the advice provided by his travel community when a tour operator asked how he could cope with burnout and decision fatigue.
One tip was to find a way to win once a week. A win can be something big or small. For example, beating a personal best on your cycling route, ticking something off your to-do list or testing a new method of presenting your arguments and it resonating with your audience.
The aim is to worry less about the stress and focus on the wins.
Is burnout and decision fatigue affecting you? How are you coping?
The Top Benefits of Marketing Automation
We love marketing automation here at 10x Tourism so if you haven’t already heard the benefits of it from us, then this recent article by Hubspot provides valid arguments that will spur you on to get started.
Even the most basic of marketing automation will allow your business to run more efficiently (and free up your time), as well as nurture your leads.
Do you use marketing automation? If so, in what form?
A question for you:
Would you like to be part of a community of like-minded tour operators who support each other with ideas to incentivise travel, amongst other things?
Yes? Then I’d love for you to join our Facebook community of travel industry pros
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.