For many operators, marketing has been the least of their concerns over the past year. But as tourism reopens in fits and starts, depending on where you are, it’s time to get those clicks, leads and bookings rolling in again.
At Follow the Camino and One Foot Abroad, COO Sean Rice has been moving from trying to keep the brand top of mind to focusing on conversions. Here’s his top tips for operators planning on doing the same.
Sean Rice weighed in on hot topics for operators with Christine Peterson of smarTours at the Arival Multi-Day Tours Forum. Watch the discussion below
Don’t Spend Until Leads Begin to Convert
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As soon as organic leads begin to convert, restart your paid advertising. “We’re very much data driven,” Rice says. “I’m not spending until I see leads converting to bookings because we get a lot of organic leads as well. If they don’t convert to bookings, well then my belief is that the paid advertising will be almost irrelevant then.”
Engage And Re-Inspire Potential Customers
Over the past 18 months, brand awareness has been the main focus for most marketing campaigns. Knuckling down and converting as many of those who know the brand should be a priority.
Follow the Camino had started a series of videos and podcasts called Camino Talks. These were interviews with authors, hikers, and those who know Camino del Rey brilliantly. This kept people engaged, and the content is now being repurposed by the company’s digital lab for use in inspirational advertising.
Talk to Destination Tourism Boards
Another avenue is to get in touch with tourism boards to work on co-marketing activities. They can help find partners, influencers and bloggers that can help you produce inspirational content. “It’s all about tapping into new markets, or new audiences, that maybe wouldn’t have heard of us directly.”
Facebook is Great for Inspiration, Google is Better for Leads and Bookings
Instagram and Facebook are the easiest places to inspire people and drive traffic to your site, Rice says. However, pay-per-click (PPC) on Google is much better at generating leads and bookings. “Facebook is great for inspiration, and people that maybe haven’t even decided they want a holiday yet,” he says.
“PPC is very much for the people who know what they want and we’re just trying to grab them in.”
Despite that, Follow the Camino and One Foot Abroad had begun to direct more of their spend towards Facebook before the pandemic. Rice says: “We found Facebook very, very good in cost. The cost was a lot less and the results were quite good.”
Sean Rice took part in the discussion Hot Topics: Operators Weigh-In at The Multi-Day Tours & Experience Forum
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