Not every customer wants to pay a premium for a tour or activity. Many are simply looking for the best bang for their buck. And at select times—either during the off season or slow weekdays—you're more than willing to offer discounts. To market these deals to those budget-conscious travelers, you may likely throw it up on a daily deal site. But that may not be the best idea.
Why not? Well, according to Boston University researchers, daily deal sites can lead to negative online reviews. In other words: Listing your offerings there can do more harm than good. So what's a tour and activity operator to do? That's "easy"—define and implement a marketing and advertising strategy that attracts budget-conscious travelers while maintaining a positive reputation among all customers. That will help you reach this lucrative market without compromising the value of your offerings or jeopardizing your brand.
Here are some of the most impactful ways to do just that:
Run Your Own Deals on Social Media
Make your social media accounts, such as Facebook and Twitter, the only source for securing a great deal or discount from your company. You can run limited-time-only offers, seasonal specials or discounts on packages throughout the month or season. Create a sense of urgency by emphasizing that these deals are only available for a short time. Create custom banner ads and posts promoting these special offerings. These can include such things as a photo with colorful text attached to it or something as simple as a "Sale" stock image with details about the offer.
Tip: You don't need to be a master of graphic design to create graphics for your social media channels. There are many free tools that can help you easily create all of your social media graphics. A few of our favorites are Canva, available both on desktop and mobile, and Landscape by Sprout Social.
And if your discounted offer depends on a promo code, make sure to share it. If you're looking for places to post them beyond your own social media accounts, check out this blog post on where to distribute promo codes.
Cater to Budget Seekers with Localized Blog Posts
If your company maintains a blog, publish a series of posts centered around topics of interest to budget travelers. Ideas on free and low-cost things to do in the area (including a brief mention of any specials and packages your company is offering), tips on saving on gear purchases and ideas for planning a budget vacation to your destination are a few ideas. These posts can be a great way to generate interest in your blog and you can drop the link on social media sites to further promote them.
By sharing valuable knowledge about your local area, the posts can pique the interest of a budget seeker without going to the extreme of drastically reducing your prices. These types of posts appeal to a wider audience and can position you as an authority on frugal activities or experiences—without positioning you as a cheap destination—as your readership grows.
Focus on Value over Price
Whether you offer upgrades on certain booking options, 2-for-1 ticket specials during certain times of the year or seasonal specials, make sure to emphasize the value of your offerings over their price. Focusing less on the what the customer is paying and more on the experience can send the message of a positive experience at a reasonable cost versus positioning your experience as a cheap way to have fun.
For example, a rainforest tour operator who offers package upgrades can focus on the value of adding a photo package or bringing a friend for a discount instead of promoting the actual price of each add-on.
The Bottom Line
When you want to target budget travelers for the off-season, use an approach that doesn't risk damaging your online reputation. Being strategic will make your offerings more attractive, whether to locals looking for something to do or travelers who need to pinch some pennies.