It does not matter if you are a big tour operator or a small one – you are always going to face that one area of struggle at all times. You need to find travelers and retain them as well, and in this day and age, it is always easier said than done. For starters, you need to be able to stand out from the sea of service providers that are already working in this domain. Improving your online presence is one of the best ways to achieve this goal. Here are a few ways you can do it.
1. Be more visible online
The first thing that you need to do as a tour operator, if you wish to improve your online presence, is to ensure that travelers have no problem whatsoever in finding you online. Now, how do you do that? Simple, by improving your visibility! These days, there are websites such as Stride Travel, which are acting as the biggest marketplace for reviews and searches for tours that span several days. They have provided tour operators a strong way or two to get in touch with new travelers. On platforms such as Stride, you can have your own profile, reviews by third party travelers, and trip lists.
The model that Stride operates on is a lot like Kayak. It allows people to search for tour companies and then compare them by using options for filtering content.
2. Associate with influencers and bloggers
This idea may not exactly be to your liking but you would do well to consider the fact that an increasing number of independent travel bloggers these days are working with tour operators. These bloggers have a lot of devoted readers, something that would benefit you as well. Apart from that, they enjoy significant presence on social media as well.
At the same time, they would also be able to get across to a target audience as well. However, it also needs to be said in this case that before you make a decision regarding affiliating with a blogger or a social influencer as such, please do some research. For example, they may be focused on niche subjects that may not work for you.
3. Get reviews online
It is an open secret that online reviews are perhaps the most important factor in the business that you are in. This is even more applicable as far as creating an image for you in the online world is concerned.
Interested tourists will always look at what is being said about you in the online world before they take a decision regarding availing your services. If you allow your travelers the chance to share their points of view on tours – as well as their various aspects such as activities and guides – conducted by you, then it would help you in so many ways. It would help you improve your itineraries and provide better training to your employees as well.
4. Maintain a blog
If you wish to inform your existing and prospective clients about your business outlook in a more personalized way, then you could surely not go wrong with a travel blog. When you have a blog that you have created and operated yourselves it would provide you greater latitude in terms of expression. You would not have to resort to traveling jargon or other marketing terms common in your industry in order to get your point across. This is a place where you would be able to tell stories and also provide news regarding a future trip to be conducted by you.
This could very well prove to be inspirational for your prospective customers who may get a few new ideas to explore a destination.
5. Make sure that people do not have any trouble in booking your services
There are sites such as WeTravel that have made it easier for everyone in a group to get access to facilities such as trip profiles, information regarding schedules, and online payments. The best thing about this platform is that all these services are provided under a single roof. This, in turn, helps reduce the levels of confusion, spreadsheets, and many e-mails at the same time.
Consumers are frustrated the most by a booking process that does not work properly and always confuses them. This is where sites like WeTravel make it so easy for consumers with a payment platform where people can create a booking page and make the entire process a lot simpler than before.
As a tour operator, you need to have a clear idea regarding what your business goals are going to be in the short term as well as in the long term.
Even as you start the process of creating an online presence and then grow it, you should have a constant question in your mind. How is each effort going to be of use to you? Can it help you inch that closer to your business goal as such? It is always better to write down your goals so that you can refer to them as and when you want to. You should be absolutely sure that these endeavors are taking you ahead with respect to your business.
7. Create a robust platform
If you are starting out in this business, you would be immensely benefited with a solid platform, which can only come from a proper website. It is going to be the crux on which your online presence is going to be built. It is the hub, the center from which people are going to get all the necessary information about your business. It is from this location that people can learn about what you have to offer as a business, get in touch with you, and interact with you. For that though, your content needs to be engaging at the very least. There are a few things that work in cases such as these. For example, you need to provide a clear message regarding what your business does.
Sarah is a creative writer in www.holidayfactors.com, a leading online holiday marketplace in Dubai, UAE.