With all the hype social media has been getting in the last few years, it’s easy to forget about the old workhorse in the tour marketing stable. That’s right: we’re talking about email campaigns.
According to a recent study, 82% of consumers open and read emails they receive from businesses. Another interesting (and slightly scary) statistic is that 84% of all email traffic is considered spam. So while there’s a good chance that travellers are keen to hear about your tour or activity, there’s also an equally good chance that your message is drowning in overflowing inboxes.
Luckily, there are a few things you can do to ensure that recipients actually read your emails. Here is an email marketing guide with Booking Boss’ top tips for email marketing for tour operators:
Get people’s permission to email them
Marketing guru Seth Godin defines permission marketing as “the privilege (not the right) of delivering anticipated, personal and relevant messages to people who actually want to get them”. Sadly, this concept is often ignored in email marketing. Businesses buy lists (often at exorbitant prices) and try to sell their product via unsolicited emails to consumers who have never heard from them before. This practice is not only ineffective, it’s also illegal.
Instead of relying on bought lists for your marketing activity, get people’s permission to send them marketing emails. There are countless ways how tour operators and activity providers can build their email marketing list, for instance:
At the checkout as part of your booking process
In your tour feedback form
By writing valuable blog content that potential customers can subscribe to
Remember: it’s better to have a small number of contacts on your mailing list that are excited to hear from you than a huge number of contacts who delete your message the moment it hits their inbox.
Deliver on your promise
Once you get people signing up to your mailing list you need to make sure you deliver on your promise. Let’s say you are running a skydiving company. On your opt-in form you make the promise that subscribers will receive a fortnightly newsletter with the latest pics and news around skydiving as well as monthly special deals.
Making this promise in writing means that you’ll have to deliver on it, even when things get busy and you might be struggling to find the time to write newsletter content. That’s why we recommend to start small with your email marketing efforts. It’s better to underpromise and overdeliver than the other way around.
Know when to pitch
Timing is everything in email marketing. In very general terms, there are two types of emails you can send to your contacts:
Emails that help you maintain the relationship (e.g. newsletters)
Emails that help you get more bookings (e.g. offers)
Finding the right balance between relationship management and sales messages is crucial for successful email campaigns. Special offers and 2-for-1 deals will definitely lose their appeal if you’re handing them out left, right and center. So make sure to get your dosage right!
Segment your data
As your mailing list grows you may want to become more targeted about the email messages you send to different types of contacts. Let’s say you run a tour company offering different experiences for singles and families. There’s not much point in sending emails about your latest party-all-night singles tour to a family of four, right?
Asking your contacts for more information as they opt in for your marketing communication will help you segment your emails and send more targeted messages that will boost your email marketing success rate.
There you have it. Now you know how to write better emails and run more successful email marketing campaigns.
Want to learn more about promoting and running your tour and activity business more effectively? Download our ebook ‘Make the most of the low season: a 7-step action plan for tour operators’.
Booking Boss is an online booking system for tour operators and attraction providers. Trusted by many in the tourism industry, Booking Boss is about getting you out of the spreadsheets and into the sun. We provide free education resources for operators like you, to make your business the best it can possibly be.